Dear Emma Grace,
Exactly one month ago I accidentally tripped you before the last time I put you down for a nap with your sister in my belly. You scraped the entire length of your shin and you sobbed the whole time I read to you before bed. I held it together long enough to wrap your leg, sing you a few extra songs, and pray. Once I left your room I sobbed. It wasn’t exactly the happy, sweet, feel good time I wanted to leave you with before I left for the hospital. I do look back on it fondly though, because you were so tired and in so much pain that you clung to me. You are a very independent toddler, and it was like I got a moment of you being my baby one last time. I am so thankful for that moment.
Life is completely different now. You were already a big sister that day, but now that means so much more. A month ago you could give ‘baby sissy’ a kiss on my belly and then drag me wherever you wanted without hesitation. Now that baby is out of my belly, and often keeps me from chasing after you at your whim. I know that’s hard for you sweet girl. I know that because it is hard for me too.
You are the most amazing big sister in the world. I am sure every mother thinks that. I am sure they are all right. I know that is actually not possible, and usually I am against that kind of attitude, but I make an exception here. You love your sister so much, even though you often get told you love her wrong. You want to hold her, but she cries because you aren’t quite strong enough. You want to hug her, but you get stopped because you lay your whole body over her face. I am sorry there are so many rules to loving, it feels unfair. Despite the many times a day you hear ‘no’ and ‘stop’ and ‘wait’, you continue to love. Clara loves you for that. She lights up when you lay down next to her and talk to her. She finds you in a room anytime you are talking. She is so blessed to have you.
I know that despite your smile and loving ways, you are struggling. I want you to know that I see you. I see the disappointment when I can’t sit on the floor and color because Clara has to eat AGAIN. I see your longing when I come into your room to get you up from your nap, and Clara is in the place you long to be, my arms. I see your frustration when we try to do an activity that gets cut short because Clara starts screaming. I see these things not just because you are quicker to break down, cling to me more than you have in a year, and ask me to put her down. I see these things because I feel them too my love. I hate that I can’t always hold you, play how you want to play and try a new adventure. We had so much fun doing those things for 2 1/2 years. I miss that time. I miss you too.
I want you to know that this time is short. Clara will grow quickly. I know because you did. Before we blink you and Clara will play together. You and Clara will be best friends then hate each other then be best friends again in a matter of 15 minutes. One day, you will probably want to hang out with her much more than you want to hang out with me. This time is hard for us both, but it will get better.
My sweet Emma Grace, I am so proud of you. You are so helpful. You listen so well. You have so much fun when we play, but you are so patient when we can’t. You aren’t perfect. You disobey, get bossy and throw tantrums. You have to go through skipping a meal, going to your room and having things taken away. Please know that I see all of the good first. Sometimes I am surprised by one of your poor reactions because I am so spoiled by how well you have been doing.
My big girl, I know you are trying to learn how to handle this change. So am I. We were so used to it being the two of us during the day. We had a good thing going, and I am learning how to make this new thing better. In the meantime, please be patient with me. When we pray before nap and bed we always pray that you will know how much I love you even when I fail you. We pray that you will know that Jesus loves you more than me, better than me, and perfectly. That is my prayer always. I cannot love you perfectly because I am far from perfect. I can love you fiercely every day. I can try to love you better tomorrow than I do today. I can trust that Jesus loves you in all my failure, and He will continue to grow my already giant love for you. I know that because today I love you more than I ever thought possible, and tomorrow I will be surprised that I can love you even more.
All my love,