My Stephanie, on the day we celebrate your birth

“So we all love a wild girl keeping a hold

On a dream she wants.”    ~Carl Sandberg

stephanie is february

Oh, Stephanie, Happy Birthday…I am thinking of the day you came and all the days you have changed our lives…

I was browsing through your baby book and 1st year calendar, neither of which I kept well at all, I am sad to say.  But I saw enough to stir intoxicating memories of really treasured times in the early 80s with a little girl who won my heart as I reached through the small opening in your “incubator” and you wrapped your tiny fingers around my pinky.

Everything about your impending birth, from the life-and-church filled, busy days leading up to your almost 6-week early arrival to the months that followed were just amazing light-filled, Technicolor, fun, happy, frazzled and most cherished days.

You were born to one big sister and some young, energetic, wildly-in-love parents who were over the moon about every single part of the pregnancy and expectancy of you. Our Thursday night birth classes were highly romantic date nights to us. We’d drive home in a buzz, planning and dreaming, the radio playing Chicago or Air Supply!

It’s odd to think that when you were born, boy or girl? was still a surprise! That, coupled with your early arrival {which was a real surprise}, left us pretty unprepared for what was happening.  We thought maybe we’d have a boy and name you after your dad, or maybe name you Christopher Michael, or Tristan (yes, “Tristan” was a name on the short list).

So when the administrator came to ask your name, we were a bit befuddled.  We hadn’t much time to choose and so your name came, heaven-sent, I think now.

So it was Stephanie (“crowned one,” “victorious crown,” “crowned in victory”). Stephanie May (for the merry-merry month in which you so delightfully arrived). And from that moment, we were a household of children, multiples of babies and little girls and dolls and stuffed animals and chatter {oh, the chatter} and heart-warming conversations. You started a party, you and your sister, that was so much fun we could barely call a halt. stephanie fall 13

But you were so tiny, your lungs undeveloped…

And when I was too stupid to even understand how very grave the situation surrounding your entry was, when I should have insisted on going to Indianapolis in the life-ambulance with you back in the days before they knew what damage might be caused by ripping a baby from her  mommy minutes after birth and saying, “Stay put,” I am so glad God gave you to me and kept you safe.

I am so grateful there was no distance ever in my heart from my tiny, tiny girl-baby, with me at Howard Community in Kokomo, you at James Whitcomb Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis. I promise you, Stephie, I got there as fast as I could. My heart was beating with yours, my love never once let you go. There was much we didn’t know back then, but I know God went with you and He held you until I could.

It was years before I realized, after reading preemie studies, that as much as my empty arms were missing you in those first hours and days, as much as my longing was breaking my heart, you had to be wondering where I’d gone, too – the sound of my heart and my blood pulsing nearby… I am so glad they understand these things better now.

But you were always passionately burned into my heart and soul. I fought my first bloody battle with the enemy for you. For this child I prayed… I hope your tiny little center-of-being somehow knew it was so.

It was all a whirlwind after that. God healed your lungs – poof – breath of life into them.  You thrived, you developed, you healed so quickly it surprised the medical teams. But no wonder there: you were anticipated, received, welcomed, adored, sung to, kissed, snuggled and loved, all 4 pounds, 8 ounces of the baby we brought home just 12 days after being told it would be “months.” steph and tris xo Like a movie scene going fast forward on the DVR, I remember a wisp of a baby girl in a yellow carrier/car seat (so dangerous by todays standards I can’t even find a picture of one on Google). I can see a very small baby girl whose eyes would search the room, taking in details, cheeks full and kissable. A little night owl she was, from her earliest days. Like her daddy.

Mixed up days and nights, tiny appetite, staying tiny, wearing doll dresses…

The baby girl “catches” up to growth statistics at one and becomes a toddler in a teal-blue Martha Miniature dress, and at once her humor is notable, her conversations with Sunday School teachers get replayed for the awwwww-factor.

She giggles and sings. Oh my goodness, the singing! She falls asleep with a song and wakes up in melody…

Her hair, like silk, grows thick and shiny, her rosy cheeks and pink lips the stuff Hollywood pays big money to obtain. Laughter and utter hilarity reign nightly in the yellow room of three sisters on Armstrong Street. She chases and teases her big sister. Soon she is leading younger siblings about, teaching them everything she knows (which is a lot).

And there is a gentleness behind her eyes, a knowing, something deep taking place in the middle of a big, noisy familia.

She goes to school and becomes a thoughtful friend, a bright student, a girl who cares for issues and the earth and animals and other’s hearts and feelings.  People comment, “Stephanie is special,” I swell inside. “Stephanie is a rainbow, a multi-faceted, colorful girl.” “Oh, look at her,” I often heard when sharing photographs, “she is just beautiful.”

Years speed by and she is smack-dab in the middle of silliness and mayhem, but also close and soft-hearted {mystically sweet}, a hand-holder.

Her hair gets curly at puberty, just like her mommie’s  did and her humor becomes sharper, her wit more keenly developed. And while traditional, public school methods (not to mention home school) could not capture her brightest shine or contain her unique genius, it also could not dull the quantum creativity, the kaleidoscope of sparkling treasure and color emanating from her brilliant, astute and observant mind.

Girl becomes beauty becomes alluring becomes woman becomes Tristan’s fascinating wife and then a mommy herself.

steph with gemma And even still, Stephanie {my second-born and much-beloved daughter}, so accomplished and courageous, so influential and efficacious, stands at the youthful brink, just hitting her stride, just beginning to be all and do all she will, all for which she was created and healed to be and do.

Because the breath of life is so wholly, fully strong in her, the healing so complete – she will create Gardens of Edens, and place brilliant stars in night skies and build cities of ideas with long-awaited answers to mysteries. She will and she has and she is, already.

Oh my goodness, Stephanie. You are an amazing spring of crystal clarity and rich depth mixed with unstoppable determination. I sensed from the time you were very small that you thought deeply and felt keenly and understood beyond your years. You’re surely one of the smartest, most intelligent people I have ever met.steph and kids

And so I bless you, I bless your life…

I recognize and publicly receive the full beauty of God’s work in you, in your heart and life and teaching and leading and creating and informing and helping people. You were formed perfectly with great purpose and I just concur with the God of the Universe that what He has seen and planned and prepared for you is good and far-reaching. I recognize His iconoclastic call on you (to change the landscape for the better), His stamp of extreme approval and His delight in you and I thank Him for trusting me to be your mommy, then your mom, then a woman who admires and loves you deeply.

Like anyone else who is ever near you for even the shortest time, I have learned so much from you, received your grace and forgiveness so many times and been the joyful recipient of your humor and creativity, your thoughtful gifts {you’ve been especially gifted to give good gifts} and wealth of insight and knowledge on the world in general. I am so grateful to get to be near these things.

And so I bless you back and pray that all you have given comes back to you by the armfuls. I pray that the result of you helping hundreds, if not thousands of people toward renewed health returns to you in supernatural vitality and God-given strength (May the same power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead quicken and strengthen your mortal body, just as it did when you were born). I pray increased love and joy in your heart, total peace and  all the wisdom you need, when you need it. I pray you’ll prosper and find success in every area you put your hand to and continued favor from the God who sees.

Of all the things I ever gotten to be part of, of all the days God planned for me, of all the people in the universe to get to know, getting to be your mommy and know you now are the best things I can think of, more than I ever would have hoped or dreamed.

I love you, honey. Happy Birthday.

 

2 thoughts on “My Stephanie, on the day we celebrate your birth

  1. Thank you SO much mom!!!! I actually read this ON my birthday, but forgot to come back and respond:)
    Thank you for always taking the time to write these birthday blogs – I love you!! <3

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