Letters For You: May 11, 2014

Hello Little One,

This letter is, of course, for you. But it's also an ode to your Nene on Mother's Day. Let me back up a minute and explain.

We're getting closer and closer to meeting you at last. With any luck, we're hoping to have all of our paperwork sent over to South Africa within the next month or two! Then we'll sit back and wait to be matched - to see your sweet face (or faces, perhaps?!) once and for all. 

I was thinking of you today, and hoping you could somehow feel the combined love from all of the mothers in your life -- your first mama who brought you into this world and undoubtedly still loves you fiercely, your special nannies who are preparing your heart to join our family, and of course me! The mama who can't wait to pour love into you each and every day for the rest of my life.

When I imagine myself mothering you, I can't help but think of the one who first taught me about love - my mother. And so, this Mother's Day I want to introduce you to your Nene. My hope is that in getting to know her, you'll also get to know another part of me. 

Your Nene is a woman who can't stand to sit still. Whether she's sweeping the floor for the third time that day, hand stitching a beautiful quilt, or repairing the bathroom sink, she always keeps herself busy. She is particular and independent, but loves all people deeply.

Your Nene is a woman who spent her early years warming her toes in cow pies on the family farm in Iowa. She sewed her own clothes, put herself through college, and became a high school home economics teacher. Her students loved her. Growing up, I became accustomed to knocks on the front door from students who wanted to know how to get a cigarette butt stain out of the bottom of a bathtub, or who were panicking because they dropped their egg baby on the cement. Your Nene always answered the door, and more importantly she always offered just the right answers.

Your Nene taught me early on that motherhood is often not a glamorous job. She held my hair back when I was sick with the flu, patiently changed the sheets at 3AM when I wet the bed, and faithfully pushed my wiggly feet into socks every single morning, even when I was old enough to do it myself. She forgave my sister and I when she discovered that the two of us had attempted to shave my legs with an electric razor in the 4th grade. And she withheld judgement and "I told you so's" when my raw and nicked legs burned for three days after.

Your Nene refused to let me go to the fairgrounds in a cropped top in the 6th grade (thank goodness!) and dropped me off every morning a block away from my middle school so that I could pretend to "go it alone." She gave me space when I needed to cry- as most adolescent girls often do!- while also teaching me early on that laughter and a strong will can usually get you further than tears.

Your Nene drove me to countless 'Nsync concerts, and even learned a few of their dance moves. She always, always, always waited up for me to come home, and watched me try on over 100 dresses before prom. She cheered wildly when I graduated high school, and hugged me tightly before leaving me at college. Your Nene taught me how to work my butt off, and always encouraged me to chase my dreams. 

And now, she's encouraging me to chase my biggest dream yet - You. 

When I think of what I want most for you, sweet little one, it's simple. I want you to grow up knowing the kind of love that your Nene has always shown me. Someday soon you'll meet her yourself and known what I mean. She's going to spoil you rotten, love you like crazy, and sneak you way more ice cream than she should.

And it's going to be beautiful.

Happy Mother's Day, today and everyday, to all of us.