My Valentine's baby. My eldest princess turns 9 tommorrow. Is it possible? Can you believe it? I can't... It's so strange isn't it? Time... It's an elusive concept. It seems just yesterday I met a scared little 6 year old in Guatemala.She was a little mouse- scared of her own shadow- so skinny you could count each and every rib. Her hair was short and choppy, her teeth decayed, her skin sun damaged. Even so she was breath takingly beautiful. Her heart was even more beautiful. She had this inner strength that had kept her going through everything- it got her to us. She had an amazing sweetness that overwhelmed us and let us know she knew how to love. She had experienced pain that I have difficulty understanding even now though I try to feel it with her. She was scared to even speak to us. She would giggle uncontrollably because she was afraid to cry. She was precious and a little spastic. She was kind and clingy. She was nurturing and loving but wouldn't look into our eyes. She didn't know how to learn. She had never had a hot bath. She had never eaten in a restaurant. She had never gone shopping at a real store for new clothes. Eating every day was considered a luxury. We had to listen for her tummy to growl because she wouldn't dare to ask for food. She considered the ground a bed.
When she came home she was terrified. She loved us but was afraid to love us. She wanted to be perfect but wanted to leave us before we left her. This scared little one- and now...
Now at nine she is a completely different child- yet the same heart and strength. She is so tall and strong. She has become far more spririted and can border on sassy. ;0) She is funny and a little sarcastic. She is incredibly smart and only a little scared now. She has opinions and dreams. She sings her favorite songs loud and off key while she listens to her Ipod. She is an artist and has great fashion sense. She is incredibly grateful and gracious. She is sensitive and crazy helpful. She is hands down the most amazing big sister I have ever seen. I have fallen in love with her. Truly I have...
It happened slowly for me. From the moment I saw her picture I loved her. Yet the feeling has evolved and changed. At first it scared me that the feelings didn't overwhelm me the way I hoped they would. I felt like I should feel more. I felt mediocre and wondered if I had overestimated myself. The truth is I had. I am selfish and shallow. God was doing something so much bigger than I was capable of doing myself. I didn't even know about this kind of love... it was more profound than anything I had experienced...
In the beginning I admired Zoe deeply- found her to be so sweet. Soon I really liked her too. Before long I was used to her and became comfortable with her. Eventually we shared secrets and jokes. Finally sometimes we didn't even need to talk at all because I knew what she was thinking. Then it happened. I don't know when. It crept up on me.
While I write this I have tears in my eyes. I am so in love with this kid. The very thought of not having her in my life leaves me breathless. I don't just love her. I am not just committed to her. She is mine.... at my core. I am head over heals. I can't begin to picture this family without OUR Zoe. It would never be right. It would be like losing my arm or leg. I would never be the same.
How does that happen? How does a six year old with crazy hair step into your life and steal your heart away? It's God- it's a gift. It's not easy or simple. It's messy and complicated and sometimes confusing. It pushes you beyond what you can handle on your own. It forces you to give up who you are and become more than you ever thought you could be. Then one day you turn around and see that your life is a miracle. You can't claim it- it's clearly God's hand. All around you is something beautiful... something God created. Zoe has given me far more than I could ever hope to give her. She has changed who I am. I am better and stronger- my heart understands more because of what she has taught me.
I love you Zoe... with all my heart. Love isn't a strong enough word.
You are mine, my little Valentine.
Love, Your Mommy