Monday, July 30

A Love Letter To My {ONE} Year Old.

Tonight, on the eve of your first birthday, I am feeling quite emotional. I feel blessed as I recount the love that we felt the day you were born. I am reminiscing God's faithfulness to us. Over the last few weeks I have been writing you this letter, a letter I hope you will appreciate as you grow into a lady. Your birthday letter almost started to feel more like vows to me or a love letter of sorts. And that is exactly what it is. A love letter to you.

My Elliotte Rosalee,

From the moment that I locked eyes with you through my blurry, teary vision, I instantly fell deeply in love with you. My heart crumbles at the thought of holding your wrinkly new born body, kissing your perfect-tiny lips, taking my sweet time getting to soak you in (literally) and watch you draw close to me like you knew exactly who I was from the very moment that I brought your sweet soul right out from the water and into my arms-onto my chest and my tears fell onto your wet hair. Your birth is forever tattooed onto my heart. At that moment, I was in love. I have have relived your birth a thousand times this past year-just like it was only yesterday. Each time, my eyes wet with love soaked tears and joy in my heart that WE got what the Lord promised us both. 

Your birth will forever be the very event that I will look back on with certainty that God's hand was evident in this whole journey of bringing you into our lives. He did above and beyond what I could imagine. He proved to my ever wondering heart that he can be trusted-the good, the bad and the ugly, HE can be trusted. When I think back on your birthday I think of the moments that quickly drew me to my knees begging God to get me through each contraction so I could get to the prize-You. I think about the rain, how I prayed for rain the day I would go into labor because your Dad & I love rain so much, AND IT RAINED! What a sweet gift.

I think about your Daddy's peaceful spirit. He fully believed in me to birth you, he was never freaked out or afraid. He was a pillar of confidence and strength for me. I think about how he wept uncontrollably-unashamed while we prayed during your birth-before anyone ever showed up and it was just he and I working together alone. I remember us worshiping God in a way that felt so pure and raw. I remember my body shaking from the pain-the "pain" that has shaped the mommy I am today. That addicting pain that I look back on and am thankful for. During my challenges to learn how to get the hang of nursing you, I have often thought back to those beautiful labor pain and it has encouraged me to do things that matter to me-even if they aren't easy.

You have taught me that I am strong and capable. I thank you for that.

Your birth was also incredibly redemptive for me. It has etched out a certain path in my life that wouldn't otherwise be etched out if your brother had never been born-which makes your birth so so sweet to me. I would never be the mommy I am without the birth that your brother gave me, and the birth that you also gave me. I cherish them both. I can't thank God enough that he purposed both of you to be born as you were.

Elle, I vow to you many things-but of those things I vow to you my protection. My heart so desires to protect yours, I fear you will YOU WILL hate me as a teenager. I don't care though. Hate me! I will still protect your heart. Your fragile, delicate, hormonal, sensitive heart will be my job to look after and so I will. I may not be the most popular mother for not letting you keep your doors closed when boys are over or for checking your skirt hem when you leave the house, for not allowing you to go to certain parties where "certain boys" may or "may not" care if you drink "such and such" or want to "make out with your hot little self" behind such and such bush in what's his face's back yard etc etc. I CARE. Those boys are douche bags! I can attest to hanging around such douche bags! No, you won't be sneaking boys into your bedroom window (I'll figure out a way to out-smart your clever teenage thinking.....) hopefully. It's just not a cute look, so we're not going to take that route. Trust me on this one baby cakes. I've got your back.

Before you can ever get your hands on make up or tweezers, I will take you to get your bushy brows waxed. Let's face it, you don't know what you are doing, I didn't know what I was doing. I will teach you how to shave your legs before you get called "gorilla legs" by the boys in 4th grade.... It's ok, we're hairy. I get it. Don't worry your pretty face. We'll take care of those hairy legs!

I'm totes ok with you being the loser in middle school who doesn't yet have a cellular phone. You don't need one sweets. We can bedazzle you a super cute case for your phone when you're old enough for it. Like when you start driving and actually "need" one to call your dad to help you with flat tires are real emergencies.

While he's at it though, he'll teach you how to change a tire just like your poppa taught me to. Every woman needs to know how to change a tire! I once had to change a tire on a road trip in the middle of no where and It was nice to know how to do it rather than wait for someone to come 3 hours later. I promise we will teach you some tire changing skills.

I vow to you that we will fight over clothes. I know this fight first hand having fought over clothes with your fashionista g-ma. Lets just face it. I have cute clothes and shoes and I'm betting you will likely beg me to borrow them. So whatever, we will share clothes, BUT you better make sure they're dry cleaned and ironed properly when they're returned.

I vow that we WILL go on girls trips together. We WILL take trips to the beach and eat sushi together on the boardwalk and go to awesome thrift stores owned by fabulous gay men and we WILL go antique shopping and we will find pieces of furniture on the side of the road and paint them to look fantastic. We WILL soak up the sun and each other and we WILL bicker about how bad of a driver you *think* I am, and if you're ever in a bad situation, I won't judge you but will wait it through with you til the end and either way, we will figure it out together. I will not leave your side. You don't know everything even though you feel like you do, but neither do I and that is the beauty in this whole thing. (Sound familiar Mom?)

If you happen to run into the garage door while I teach you how to drive, I will vow to laugh it off and not make you feel like an ass hole for the fifteen hundred dollars you cost me (thanks mom!) Because it's part of learning and you are very cute, so it's ok.

My heart wants nothing more than to nourish this relationship with you and to stay true to raising you to be a lady.

This year has taught me OR "re-taught" me much about motherhood. I have learned the importance of  listening to you rather than to fulfill my own agenda. I have spent many nights molding to your needs rather than my own (hopes for sleep). I have let go of my vanity or my desire to be "politically correct." You have taught me to be strong. You have taught me that I am smart. You have taught me that I am capable of enduring the currents of difficulties, even as they splash over me-often times drowning me but never accomplishing the breath in my lungs. You have made me feel like such a "mommy" Elle. I'm serious. I have never felt like such a Mom than when I birthed you and endured this first year of life with you.

The moments that I thought, "Oh my GAWD! My nipples will surely fall off! I can't do this!" I immediately thought, "If I gave birth to you right in my living room, I WILL breastfeed you, whether I like it or not." Your birth have shaped me in a way that I never realized it could.

You have forever changed me. I will NEVER be the same.

Seeing you and your brother grow together has brought me so much joy. I love that he calls you, "Honey" and "Elle Bell". He is happiest when he gets to wake up to you. When I plop you down into your brothers bed in the morning while he's still asleep, right as you shriek and giggle- seeing his face wake up and smile is the best thing in the whole wide world. I've prayed that you will have a close relationship with Conrad like I have been blessed with having with both of my brothers (your uncles). Conrad said to me today, "Elle is such a beautiful baby Mom!" If you're crying in the car, he'll say, "It's ok. It's ok. We're almost there honey. I know. I know, Elle."

Your brother totally adores you. He might get pissed when you trample over and demolish his train tracks but he really actually loves you for it. He loves you with his whole heart. I know because he offers you his snacks and gives you hugs when you need them.

My hope is that you grow to truly know that you are loved and cherished. You are beautiful and perfect in the eyes of God. You need never seek another person's approval over whether you are pretty or smart because God already thinks you're the shit. You don't need to alter your body or be someone that you are not. You are unique. You are exactly as you were meant to be. God fashioned you into who you are, and you are enough. Be you. Love who you are. God has already mapped out a route for your life and knows the exact numbers of your pretty little nappy headed baby hairs. His love for you goes way beyond the love that I feel, which I secretly cannot even buy..... I pray that you are confident in yourself and that you are loved radically-violently-wholly-completely- all the days of the rest of your life, Elliotte. I believe that God has something great for you. That He will pursue you whether you like it or not until you come to know exactly how crazy He is for you. His love goes on forever and ever. You are my evidence of that thick-infectious-incredible-intoxicating love. To which, nothing can compare.

Happy birthday sweetheart. We will clink our glasses of champagne just as we did the day that you were born and enjoy a big slice of birthday cake under the covers of our warm-toasty bed just as we did just moments after you were welcomed into your home, into my arms. We treasure you.

My heart is yours, darling.

{A few of my favorite photos of you (sleeping on my face) and your brother-recently}

{Happy Birthday Lu-la}


  1. This is beautiful Chels! You are such a loving, caring mom!

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  3. OH MY GOSH I burst out laughing when I saw Conrad shoving the hose in Elle's eye. POOR little thing, oh she will be loved by her brother but she will be teased. Haha, but oh goodness, Chels, I adore this love letter. My heart was stolen and shaken up by this crazy love you have for her and all that God has been teaching you. I LOVE YOU and damn it I miss you. A lot.

  4. WE got what the Lord promised us both. <<< PS, this. This... I can't even put into words what this did to my heart.

  5. Happy Birthday Elle!!!
    Congrats Chelsea!!! Thank you so much for sharing this. I found your letter extremely encouraging and helps me as a finish out this remaining journey of pregnancy. Yay for happy, loving, good Mommies!!

  6. she is NOT one.
    can't believe it.
    why oh why do babies hafta grown up?
    this is so beautiful.
    she will treasure this all of her days.
    congrats on one year, momma!

  7. this was absolutely beautiful!