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Dear Eisley

    Dear Eisley (nine months)

    Dear girl,

    You’ve reached that point where you’ve been out in the world longer than you were in the womb, and I am starting to see bits of your personality unfold.

    You are smart. You are already signing “more” and “all done” and I’m pretty sure I’ve actually heard you utter “MO(re)!” a few times out of desperation for me to hand you food in the midst of dinner chaos. Feeding a family of five is no easy feat, and I’m sorry for the times you’ve had to wait in your high chair for far too long.

    That leads me to number two.

    You are patient. I’ve heard baby number three can go one of two ways. Either they can be the loud, defiant, or energetic child who is completely different than the first two. Or they are the totally chill baby who is along for the ride. Thankfully, you seem to be in the second camp. You endure skipped naps and all-day adventures and a two and four year-old constantly climbing on you and yelling in your face with a great deal of baby composure. I think your calm demeanor will take you far in life.

    You are athletic. You learned to crawl just three weeks ago, and you are already pulling up on the bottom step and trying to stand on your own. You downward-dog all day long like our living room is some kind of fancy yoga studio. But your greatest feat is that you are starting to wrestle your sisters. They have spent the last nine months tackling you (with constant reprimands) but now you weigh over 20 pounds and can throw that weight around a little bit. If one of them lies on the ground near you, you’ll get a little infant smirk in your eye and flop yourself down on them while mom and dad watch and laugh. And speaking of laughing…

    You are funny. You’ve started a game where you try to grab Talitha’s pacifier out of her mouth and put it in your own. Any time you are able to snatch it, you instantly start giggling. You seem to know when things are comical in your surroundings, because you chuckle at all the right moments. I am excited for all the laughter you will bring to our house in the years to come.

    And, of course, you are still as sweet as can be. You continue to smile from morning to night and are at ease with anyone who wants to hold you. You take in the world happily and without fear.

    I think I could learn a few things from you…



    Eisley Avalon (Eight Months)

    Dear Eisley,

    I am writing this on Christmas Eve as you nap. You are slumbering peacefully in your bed, unaware that we have reached the culmination of the holiday season. You are eight months old and every day is a holiday to you. You will probably steal a bite of Jesus’ birthday cake tonight and crinkle wrapping paper with glee tomorrow morning. You don’t even care about presents, but you do love hanging out with your family.

    I have been savoring your baby days this Christmas season, as I consider how motherhood is full of the expectant type of waiting we celebrate during advent. It’s easy to wish away the baby days. They are difficult and tiring and, as parents, we know there are exciting days ahead as you develop. Someday you will walk and talk and feed yourself and graduate out of diapers. And as we reach all those milestones, your personality will slowly emerge too. We will discover if you are outgoing or shy, serious or silly, artsy, athletic, a bookworm, or any combination of those traits. And as you grow to know the Lord, hopefully we will see his gifts blossom in your heart as well. Will you be a teacher? A giver? One that shows mercy? One who fights for justice?

    But I don’t want to know the answers to all those questions quite yet. I want to enjoy you just as you are right now, confident that God has great things in store for your mind, heart, and body. I know the days of watching you laugh and dance and sing will come. Last week, our pastor reminded us that a good part of the Christian life is spent waiting. God’s people waited thousands of years for a Savior to arrive. Now we have waited thousands more years for his return. In our own lives, we constantly wait for healing, for restoration, for sanctification. So that must mean that waiting is holy. Waiting is trusting that God is at work, even when we can’t see it.

    That’s how I feel about you. The days pass by slowly – filled with naps and diapers, wiping down the high chair and sweeping the floor. You grow day by day – giggling, clapping, sitting, now crawling. I delight in knowing God is at work in you, and while I am expectant to see his handiwork, there is joy in waiting for it to unfold.

    Full of expectation and peace,




    Dear Eisley (six months)

    Dear Eisley,

    I missed writing you a letter last month. I’ve never missed a letter…

    Two other daughters got a letter every single month during their first year. You have four so far. I was right on pace. But now you are missing one. Whenever I create a book with these letters – if that ever happens – yours will only have 11 letters and for that, I’m sorry.

    It’s not that I forgot to write you a letter. I remembered multiple times over the past month… remember to write Eisley’s five month letter. The weeks are slipping by. She’ll be six months old soon. Write her letter ASAP.

    But it never happened.

    Today, I was tempted to write you two letters, just so the math would be right, but that seems a little disingenuous. Because this year is the kind of year where letters don’t get written. The kind of year where the house is too cramped and the future is uncertain. Where going back to work feels messy, and I don’t have time to blog or write letters or sort through the million pictures jamming up the memory on my phone. Where I feel a little bit anxious, a little bit tired, and not quite like myself.

    Someday I’ll look back on this year and simply see it as brief season of life – a hard season of good lessons learned in marriage and parenting and achieving dreams and shifting plans. I’ll always think, “The year Eisley was born was a really hard year.”

    But I want you to know the difficulty of this season has nothing to do with you. Of course, the sheer volume of three children has been an adjustment, but individually, you are a gem. I have a feeling this would have been a hard year, whether or not you were here with us. Even if we had waited another year to have a baby, I’m certain this season would still be difficult.

    But God knew about this season in advance, and He gave us you to be the bright spot in days that sometimes feel gray. You smiling. You laughing. You sleeping peacefully in your little pink sleep sack. You, with your fuzzy strawberry hair and your raspberry forehead. Your pudgy thighs and soft cheeks. The baby who tolerates her sisters’ antics and kicks the water in the bath tub with such vigor and glee. You.

    At the beginning of my pregnancy with you, I felt so nauseated and tired that for once in my life I started spending time relaxing… often curling up in bed with a book. Now you are here and the habit continues. Instead of reading, we curl up in bed together for your feedings. I escape the chores in the kitchen and the whining kids in the living room, and inhale your baby scent and kiss your forehead. With your sisters, I always saw breastfeeding as merely perfunctory, simply to provide the most healthy and affordable food for my child. But you have made me understand those tender paintings of mothers nursing their babies throughout the centuries. It took three children for me to see it as less of a burden and more of a bond.

    We didn’t decide your name until after you were born. The night before I went into labor with you, your dad and I went to dinner. We were discussing girl names and Eisley started rising to the top of our list. We had no idea you would be born just hours later. When you arrived, we settled on Eisley. It means cheerful. And that you are. My smiling, content baby. You are like a pleasant tune that drowns out chaos, sadness, anger, and frustration. Not only are you cheerful, but you bring good cheer to others. Most of all, to me.

    You are a gift, my child. This season might be a hard one. My patience is short. My margin is too thin. And you are missing a letter in your collection. But that doesn’t change the fact that you are my Eisley girl. You are the cheerful soul who brings so much love and light into my days.

    Love you forever,