On Thursday morning, July 28, 2005, I was 3 days past my due date. I was permanently walking in a wading pool also known as my ankles. I could’ve been confused with a certain large “house” in Ann Arbor. And I was in Dr. Schiebout’s office begging her to induce me.
She had pity on my pathetic self, and later that evening, we first laid eyes on your beautiful face. I had no idea what in the world I had gotten myself into. I remember catching your eye from your little crib beside my bed at the hospital, and feeling sorry for you that you were stuck with me as your mother. It was like an awkward introduction where no one really knows what to say or where to go from there. And I really didn’t. I felt very ill-equipped for the task of being a mom.
So my nightstand was tipping with the books I would consult when you made the littlest wimper or did something (everything!) I couldn’t interpret. I wrote down how many wet and dirty diapers you had per day like I was an accountant balancing the books. Ammy was staying with us to help and it was all hands on deck for even the simplest task.
Seven years! Wow. I remember not wanting to put you down in your crib at night because I knew in the morning you’d be bigger than you were the night before. And now you are so tall you almost come to my shoulders. You’re not only getting bigger physically but you’re also continuing to grow in your maturity. I think I almost burst into tears on the spot this week when I heard you tell Ruby, “I used to like playing princess but I just don’t anymore.” Where is the time going?!
This past year our relationship took a bit of a twist as I also became your First Grade Teacher. You were an eager learner and a diligent listener. I admire those qualities in you. It’s rare you meet a topic about which you don’t want to know more. For the most part, it is as rewarding being your teacher as it is being your mom. I love the little notes you leave me on the back of your tests, “I love you, Ma!” and “I hate Math!” And the note you taped above my desk, “You’re the best reading teacher ever.” It’s a joy hearing you say, “I get it! I get it so much!”, when I’m explaining a concept to you.
I mentioned here one of the biggest thrills of the year has been watching you devour books. It all came together for you this year, and you would think you had popped an extra appendage from your body since a book is so frequently in your hand! From Paddington to Pippi, to The Sign of the Beaver and The Secret Garden, you can’t get enough. You think so much about what you’re reading and I love hearing it come out as we go through our days. Like last week when we passed a combine doing its thing on the farm (a country girl I am not!) and you talked about Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh scurrying for safety. And the other night when you handed me the green pepper you just washed and exclaimed, “It’s a pig and pepper!”, referencing a chapter in Alice in Wonderland.
But, as a friend so aptly put it, “Most importantly we learn to read so we can read the Bible.” Several months ago you initiated reading through the Bible in 2-years and have done a pretty good job persevering in that endeavor. My love for Scripture is being renewed as I hear you learn and apply it to your life. “I started Luke last night and the story of Jesus just starts over again. I didn’t expect that!” So we had a good conversation about the purpose of the Synoptics, to which you replied, “I get it! I get it so much!” 🙂 Then another time, your humble realization, “I need to read Proverbs, Psalms, and Ecclesiastes and the [other] Wisdom Books because wisdom is what I need!” And, we love hearing our timid girl apply the Word to scary things. “I told myself tonight when I was riding my bike, that even if I wreck, I’m good, because to die is gain for me!”
Much to our delight, dying really is gain for you now after you made a profession of faith early last fall. Since then, I can’t help but think of our Stella, whose name means “star,” being one of the numerous stars Abraham saw when God gave him that bursting-with-hope promise long ago, recorded for us in Genesis 15:5: “[God] took [Abraham] outside and said, ‘Look up at the heavens and count the stars–if indeed you can count them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.'” As pastor and author Marty Machowski writes, “God had an even bigger family in mind when he said that Abraham would be the father of a multitude…God calls everyone who follows Jesus a [child] of Abraham (Galatians 3:7).”
As you know, Jesus, the bright Morning Star, has now given you, our star, a mission. He has called you to hold firmly to the word of life, so you can shine among this generation like a star in the sky. (Phil 2:15,16) So shine brightly for Jesus, Stella Grace! Don’t put that light under a bowl. Shine it out in the open for everyone to see and believe for themselves how great your Savior is! (Matthew 5:15, 16)
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