Let’s be real. Most days I’m totally winging it with you. (So is Daddy.) I have no idea what I’m doing, since I didn’t have siblings and never babysat for a human growing up. In fact, I actively avoided being around children.
While I may not know what I’m doing, I go full throttle with mama love for you. You and Daddy are the best things to ever happen to me. So cliche, I know, but it’s true. (Full disclosure: Texas, country music, and our boy Boss are also on the list of best things to happen to me.)
Since you were born, literally every new phase, I would say, “This is my favorite age,” but then the next 6 months passed and I said, “No, THIS is my favorite age.” I think it’s because it was just always so fun to see you do new things and take delight in new discoveries. And it’s AWESOME when you are proud of yourself, and very cool that now you get super excited when I say, “I am so proud of you!”
The most recent example is how you insist on going poo poo after we have left your room for the night. We hear you open your bedroom door, shuffle across the hall to the bathroom, and close the door. The next thing we know, you RUN to find us in the house so you can shout, “I WENT POO POO IN THE POTTY! AREN’T YOU SO PROUD OF ME??” When we hug you and say, “Yes! I am SO proud of you!” you grin from ear to ear and laugh your head off. You delight in our praise. You delight in making us happy.
You won’t remember this, but when you were 22-23 months old, I didn’t live at our house because I was sick. The obvious reason I went away was because I forgot how to eat. Less obvious but really what had happened was I forgot how to love myself. I could not connect to love in any form, and my way of dealing with that was to make myself small by losing weight.
I went to a place that could help me feel better. Sometimes, people have a hard time feeling joy and peace, and they need others to help them along.
While I was there, and in the months that I was on my own afterward, getting better was really hard. But you, my darling, inspired me everyday to keep going.
Through you, I learned how to eat again. I enjoyed getting my hands in my food like you did, laughing as I tried something different. I learned by watching you eat what you wanted and stop when you were full or didn’t like something. You knew how to listen to your body, and I needed to relearn that.
From you I also learned how to start accepting my body again. You love yourself fiercely, and I pray that is always true. You fling your body in the bathtub, laughing as water splashes everywhere. You experience joy in jumping from your stool to the ground. You wear what you want, even though it doesn’t match. You are oblivious to the fact that one of your front teeth is discolored since you fell face first on the concrete. You do not see body shape or size as a matter of judgment. It just is. You love your body. I am so grateful.
Most importantly, I learned how to love myself again. You delight in your very own self. You say, “I love Laura Kate!” and believe you are worthy of others’ attention and valuable because you are you. You assume I enjoy being with you, and you don’t worry that you are taking too much time or space (much to the frustration of our fellow grocery shoppers as you dart out in front of their carts).
God is ultimately who has given me the strength and stamina to keep going, and I firmly believe He gave me you as a primary way to recover. I hope you always know that you are worthy, valuable, and lovable, not because of any external thing, but because you are the only you we have. God made you, formed you, and has a story He wants to tell through you.