There has been a lot of discussion with our girls about what it will be like. It will be exciting. It will be loud. It will be different. It will be messy. It will not always feel the way it does at first. It might not always feel good. It might feel a little lonely and strange. Both girls pinkie promised me at lunch today that they would tell me or their daddy if they started feeling “outside the circle” or forgotten, instead of holding those feelings inside or hurting another because of them.
We talk about having patience with our new baby, empathy at how strange it will be for him for everything to be so new. We talk about touching him gently, loving him gently. We talk about having patience and grace for each other as we will all be enduring changes.
The house we’re still settling into is the second youngest we’ve lived in as a family. The first was around 150 years old, the second 130. This one, at 35, is a mere babe in comparison. One family occupied it for 32 of those years and took impeccable care of it. We laugh at some of the relics that clearly date back to the beginning, but there is nary a burn mark or slice on the original Formica in the kitchen. The trim throughout the entire house may be dark wood, but it’s nearly perfect, not scratched or dinged. In 35 years. The people who came before us were not impatient. They were not careless. They lived gently.
The truth is, we are not gentle people. Emerie went to bed in her favorite shirt tonight, a pink t-shirt with pink script from A Midsummer Night's Dream given her with love by my dad; “And though she be but little," it rightly states, "she is fierce.”
We are loud, and a little rough. We will hurt your feelings. We will be careless with our words. We will forget to be kind. We may not always remember to put each other first.
There may be moments we don’t focus on the beautiful blessing it is just to have you. We will not always embody the principles we so desperately cling to.
But we are working on it. We are trying. We are learning to apologize, to extend grace and forgiveness like breathing in and out. We will make a lot of mistakes. Life with us will be messy, and there will be times it all feels like a little too much.
We will not always be gentle. We will hug you too tight. I will beg you not to grow up. I will cry over you for reasons you and your sisters may never understand.
But you will always have a place with us; you will always belong. We will love you fiercely, and we will accept you without condition. Always.