Dear Littlest,

Or is it littlests?

You are in my mind every day,  even though I don't know you yet.  I don't know if you'll come from my womb or from another mother, whether you'll be born here in our Indiana home or in a far away place. But the fact that we haven't met doesn't mean you aren't out there, somewhere, waiting.

I'm waiting for you, too.

With great enthusiasm and hope, I'm waiting for you.

I'm waiting for Saturday morning breakfasts, for giant blanket forts, for trips to the library and camping with your papa. I'm waiting for science experiments and family traditions, and Christmas around the tree. For planting gardens together and learning about life.

And too, with some trepidation.

I wonder if your dad and I will become stronger together as our family grows, or if at the same time that I'm loving you, I will start to miss him as my time is divided.

I wonder if I will know when to step in and mother you, to grab the seat of your bike and save you from disaster, and when to let you pedal independently and even fall, so that you can learn not to be afraid of falling and even sometimes pain. So you can know the glory of accomplishment. Am I even tough enough to watch you struggle when you need to learn how to struggle, so that you can ultimately thrive?

I listen to people talk about the children they're expecting and how excited their families are and I realize with some sadness that our family is little and lean, here in Indiana. My parents aren't here to spend time with you. I don't have anyone close by that I can just call on the phone who will, with grandparental joy, come and get you when Daddy and I need an evening, or who you couldn't keep from birthday parties, not even if you tried. It feels a little shaky not to have my own mom and dad here, as I think about becoming a mother. Its hard to think about those first moments, seeing your face, and not being able to share that with my own mom. She would have just loved you so much. We are all the poorer for not having her here with us. But she left a vast inheritance of counsel and love and insight, and in this way I know we aren't totally without her.

And finally, I wonder if, by stepping through the door of motherhood, I'm closing the door on all of the other the things I still want to do with my own life. And if that is the case, if I'm selfless enough to forgo it all for the sake of another life. It's not like I haven't had plenty of time to do the things I care about, but when you're young, hours feel like years and time seems quite eternal, until suddenly it doesn't.

I tell you these things because someday you'll be on the verge of parenthood and hopefully all you'll remember is how loved and wanted you have always been by your daddy and me, because that is entirely the truth, stronger than any worry, more powerful than any fear. But there on the threshold of parenthood, when you experience similar concerns and questions inside of yourself, I want you to know that this is just part of it, and that you aren't alone in this. It doesn't diminish the love you will have for your children.

My mama and I in the woods of Tennessee

For a while I was very hard on myself for even having questions like this, because my mother loved me so thoroughly. She made me feel like the most desired company she could have. But after she went to Jesus, I found journals and letters of hers from before I was born, full of question marks and ellipses, just like the ones that rattle around in my own brain. That's how I know, little, that it's okay to have questions and that it's okay to move forward even though you don't have the answers. 

The answer comes after the courage to say yes, and not before.

In the meantime, you just have to have a little faith.

Like how we have faith that God is good and that He loves us without condition.

Sometimes I have questions about him and our relationship that are big, and occasionally even discouraging.

But my questions don't change the truth, which is that God is still good, whether I'm sure of it or not. So we cling to faith and hope and love, no matter what. With gladness, I can share that my experience has been that those things do not disappoint.

My experience is that going in whatever direction requires the most faith is to venture into territory of love more vast than you've known before.

And so I'm confident that, despite the trepidation that will sometimes press me, our family will be beautiful and strong and full of love. That we will build a rich tapestry of memory and connection, a heritage inside of which we will wrap ourselves, upon which we will break bread, and under which we will hide - a blanket of glory, woven by threads of faith hope and love.

My mother, your grandmother, wrote letters and notes to me, all time time. Some of them she left tucked in books or stuck to door jambs and some of them she wrote while I was just a baby and I didn't find them until after she was gone.

But I am glad for every word on every paper. Especially now. So I thought I'd start writing to you, today, before I've seen your face. Hopefully I'm as good a mother to you as she was to me, so someday these things bring you comfort and joy.

Just know, littlest, how much Papa and I love you, already, even now.

Your Mama's waiting heart