I’m about to have one of the best weekends of my life. I’m off to Chicago tomorrow with my sister, mom, and nieces Lilly and Molly for an all-girls weekend visiting the American Girl store for Molly’s fifth birthday. People say that “time goes by fast” but there are moments that seem almost scary that they have arrived so quickly, especially, as I’ve found, after having a child. I remember Sara announcing to me that she was pregnant with Lilly. I can close my eyes and not only picture every detail of the room down to the feel of the carpet, but I can also remember instantly falling in love with a child that hadn’t even been born. It took only one second for my sister to share the news, and literally my priorities shifted forever: from that moment on, I would give my life if it meant protecting the life of Lilly. And now Molly, Jack, and Nolan. (see previous post about interchangeable children)
I can’t believe that I’m going to get in the car tomorrow with my five and six year old nieces. It stuns me. And yet, it feels so beautiful and good to reminisce about all of the sparkle those girls have added to my life. I’m completely in love with them. I still consider them to be miracles, true gifts from the all-creative God. I believe they were created so perfectly, even with their bed head, attitudes, and sister-fights. From the beginning of their very existence in this world, I have been drawn to their sensitive spirits and wanted nothing more than to help make their lives better.
Enter American Girl.
I grew up with Barbies being my sole passion and focus, but I also had my fair share of baby dolls. Sara was busy climbing trees and building forts, but I am a girl’s girl through-and-through. Exemplified by my tendencies to shop for my nieces or even daughters of my friends, I long to have a daughter. I love the rough-and-tumbleness of Jackson, and I have come to realize that having a boy makes me a more fun person. I have found dimensions to myself that could only be carved out by the tender mother/son bond. But I still would love to do ballet, practice piano, teach french braiding, play school, diaper baby dolls, paint nails with shimmery polish, and pretend to be princesses living far, far away with a daughter of my very own. I celebrate girliness because it’s so innocent, precious, tender, and pure. And, at it’s best, it’s a miniature projection of the desires of our hearts coming to fruition in motherhood.
Lillian has been a care taker from the moment she was born. She has a servant’s heart and a sensitive spirit, both qualities given to her by God with specific purpose. She is a helper, and she is naturally prone to putting herself second. Even third. Others are important to her, and she relies on approval for self-confidence. I worry about her sensitivity because I want to encourage her to believe in herself as much as I believe in her. I love her warmth, her open heart, her loving spirit, and her natural generosity.
Molly is naturally more strong-willed (although I think Jackson has her beat). But she also has moments where she, too, is the salt of the the earth. On her best days, she loves sharing. If kids are her own age, she will lead and take charge a bit, but, as a second child, she’s also a natural observer. She’s considerate and passionate. She’s also the kid to crack a joke just to get a reaction. Or cross her toe just beyond a boundary to gain attention. She’s a tester, but can also delight in obedience. I’m thrilled to be celebrating five years of Molly Jane Gilding who, to me, still looks like this:
It’s hard to believe we’ve actually gotten here:
It is my privilege to spend my weekend with my nieces, two pieces of my heart. I can’t wait to spend time building into the lives of these little people who I love as my own alongside the amazing sister who gave them to me. They are my little pieces of Heaven.
Happy Birthday, Molly Jane. I love you as if you were my own.