It is Marilee’s third birthday today. We will celebrate with pink cupcakes and make-your-own-pizza night and gifts and singing.
A few weeks ago, we were telling her about the day she was born. It was in the midst of a very snowy winter, and we drove home in the midst of an ice storm with two feet of snow already piled up on the ground. We also drove home from the hospital two days after she arrived, on her dad’s birthday. “And so,” we told her, “you were your dad’s best birthday present!”
Her eyes grew very wide and she said, “Did I come home in a box?”
No, but she might as well have. We might as well wrap our kids up with tissue paper and ribbons and glittery paper every year as a tangible reminder that they are indeed gifts to us. Gifts in the sense that they are exciting and undeserved and eagerly anticipated. But also gifts in the sense that they are unpredictable, that we are humbled as we receive them, that we have not purchased or produced them.Marilee, with her big blue eyes and bouncy curls, with her insistence that she do it herself like a big kid, with her spontaneous statements of Mama love me, with her creative wardrobe choices of purple boots and striped tights and polka-dotted top, with her concern for anyone who is hurting, with her desire to wrestle and run and climb and bike, Marilee is a gift to us.
Early on in her life, I came across Psalm 71 and started to pray that these words would be true for her:
For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth.
From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.
I will ever praise you.
May we continue to receive her as a great gift, and may she know herself as a great gift, all her days.