The story of Olivia Hope

Monday, September 2, 2013

Dear Lewis

I have a tradition that each year I write my kids a letter on their birthday.  It's usually not something I share publicly and I mainly do it as a way to archive special milestones, achievements, physical developments, etc. I put the letters in envelopes and put them in their baby books.
My son turned 2 today and I'm feeling very sentimental thinking about what his little life means to us.
Here is my letter to him for his second birthday:

Dear Lewis,
Today you turned 2 years old!  TWO years, already!  I've been thinking over the past couple of days about how I felt two years ago when I was preparing for your birth!  I'm going to be completely honest with you, my precious son, and say that before I held you in my arms I didn't really want you to be a boy.  I hope you know, in your young age, that I love you with all of my heart and I wouldn't change your gender for ANYTHING!  You are the most amazing little boy and I can't believe how much I love you!  At times I honestly feel like my heart could explode!

The Lord gave you to us shortly after bringing us through our darkest time.  I had just given birth to your sister, Olivia, about 8 months before I became pregnant with you. ( I will continue to talk about her as you grow up and tell you all about your  big sister who lives in heaven.)  Olivia only lived for 6 days and, although we knew she would not live long, nothing could have prepared us to say goodbye to her.  I still feel great pain thinking about that moment.  I desperately wanted to become pregnant again and I even more desperately wanted my next baby to be a little girl.  I knew that no other child could replace Olivia but, in a way, I wanted to gain back what I had lost.  When I learned that I was going to have another baby I just knew that God would be gracious and give me the girl I longed for.  That would be a big step in easing some of the pain.

I had a normal 20 week ultrasound and I could not wait to find out (or, in my mind, CONFIRM) the sex of our baby.  Our ultrasound technician casually said "well, you switched up the recipe this time."  huh?...  "You switched the recipe, it's a boy!"  I acted happy.  I choked back emotion. I verbally convinced everyone that I was ok with this but the truth is that up until your birth I had no idea how I truly felt about it.  I knew that this was the best plan that the Lord had for us and that YOU would be His creation given specifically to us!  But I had no idea how I would begin to bond with you!  All of my visions of having a sweet little girl in my arms again vanished.  I tried to imagine a bouncing baby boy filling my void but it just wasn't the same.  I continued to trust that God knew what he was doing!

The night you were born the nurses were amazed at your size and all of your black hair!   After your first bath the nurse put your hair in a mo-hawk (it was super cute) and that, combined with your hefty size of 9 lbs. 15 oz. (yeah, lets just say 10 pounds!) outfitted you to be our "little bruiser"!  However, the moment they handed you to me all fear of how I would truly feel about you and bond with you went out the window!  You were the sweetest bundle of real JOY that I my grieving heart so desperately needed.  Obviously God knew more about His grace and what I needed then I did.

I heard many times before you were born that there is a special bond between a mother and her son, and boy were they right!  It's hard to put in to words what exactly that means but I'll do my best:  From August 31 2011 to this very day (August 31 2013) I have grown to love you more and more each day!  You are the sweetest little boy and you are genuinely happy almost all of the time!  You love your sister Gwen, and you imitate almost every move she makes.  You love your daddy and how he plays and rolls around on the floor with you.  You love me and I melt every time you cry for me, smile at me, run up and hug me, play peek-a-boo (or, in you words, "poop-a-boo"!) with me, snuggle with me on the couch during one of our lazy mornings, and "wink" at me to make me laugh (your "silly" eyes).  My heart bursts when you close your eyes and fold your hands for prayer at meal times and how you say "yes" "please" and "thank you".  When I look in to your precious face that I love to smother with kisses I see God's love for our family wrapped up in a kind and gentle, sweet and funny, kissable, squeezable little guy!

God knew what He was doing when He gave you to us.  I love you, son, with all of my heart.  I'm excited to watch you grow up but, at the same time, a little sad to know that you won't always be my baby that I can hold and rock at bedtime like we did tonight.  I try to imagine you as a grown man and I can't.  Or maybe it's that I really don't want to.  I get scared thinking of you and your sister Gwen and what you two might have to deal with when you are adults.  There are a lot of crazy things out there in the world and new challenges that your daddy and I are constantly  having to go through.  I can only imagine what it might be like by the time you are our age, but for now I'll stick to thoughts of holding you in my arms.

My prayer for you is that you continue to be happy, healthy, and keep shedding a little light everywhere you go.  I pray that your daddy and I will raise you to know about God's love, your sister Olivia, and the HOPE that we have of seeing her again.  I pray that you will grow up wanting to share this with everyone around you.  I pray that you will make a difference every where you go and that people will see Christ through you.
I love you my son.