My daughter’s birthday is today. So this is for her. She has blessed my life so much. Her life hasn’t been easy but she shows that easy isn’t a requirement for goodness.
All of my children had a rough beginning. Two of them were given up at birth and their adopted mother died of cancer. That is hard.
And another kind of hard is thirty-nine years ago today I was in labor all night. She was born at 5:03 a.m. My daughter’s hard beginning was her father being in and out of her life from six months old, finally leaving when she was four.
I made sure she saw him every summer from 7 on, and don’t think I would do that again, but at least she knew him. So when I told her later, “It’s not you, it’s him,” she had some frame of reference to believe me. He was never good at being constant, and has left her with a huge daddy-sized hole in her heart. But she has done well to fill it with God, who heard my constant prayer and has done a lot of fathering with her.
Yes, she had a rough adolescence in places, she made her mistakes as we all do, but I tried to stay emotionally connected (even though I’m not good at that) and I did model a relationship with God. I am so grateful she caught it. So grateful she knew where true help comes from and went after it. Her first marriage wasn’t easy, but she tried hard. When it came apart she did her utmost to keep life as stable as she could for her three boys. She depended on God and He carried them–she saw many miracles of provision.
And you can see they caught God from her–a year later they were praying for six months that their friend and neighbor would become their dad and he did! It’s a great story, but it hasn’t been easy, blended families never are.
Our relationship hasn’t always been easy either, but as she said not long ago we definitely have a bond between us. I am so grateful for her love and what I have learned from her. She models a true walk with God. She consults Him continually, and she listens! No, she isn’t perfect, but as she says the pain and mistakes keep us real.
From the time I took her home from the hospital, I loved her in a way that I didn’t even know was possible. And for the first time I really “got” God’s love. She couldn’t do a thing and yet I loved her wildly. I had thought love and performance went together. I knew better, intellectually, but it was in my DNA. This is all fresh again because she just had a daughter this year who looked just like her mother when she was born. It was almost shocking!
Among the best gifts she has given me are her love, trust, and truth. Sometimes that last one hurts, as when she told me I wasn’t sweet. I had a visceral reaction. Her response to it, “Mom, you know you aren’t sweet. You are a lot of great things, but that isn’t one of them.” That one took me a few days, maybe weeks, to process. And there have been others since.
I value her friendship, clarity, honesty, ability, and her love. There isn’t a lot of sweetness between us, as she says I’m not good at fluff. I’ve never had much use for it. So I wanted to write this for her as a bit of fluff, because I don’t say things like this often, obviously not often enough. I thought I did, because it was more than I got. But I’m getting a picture of the kind of mother I really was. (As opposed to the sweet one I was in my head.) There is pain and salvation in truth.
I am grateful for you, Babe, so grateful for you. I pray the bond between us continues to grow with warmth and sweetness. I am so proud of the beautiful woman you have become–beautiful inside and out. And I still love you wildly.