You may recall that back in October we hatched another baby human – Ainsley Kate. She’s now five months old and has fully entrenched herself in our family and routine. If I were a better Dad or a better blogger, I’d have written a lot about her and posted a pile of pictures in the last five-plus months. Alas, I’m neither. When Aiden was little, I was, at least relative to my present self, a blogging machine and, admittedly, also fascinated by the new adventure of caring for my very own human. The girls have been no less fun or worthy of blog space. They’ve just gotten less attention here as they’ve consumed more of my attention in real life.
Tonight I had my posting window open preparing to write something really brilliant and funny when Ainsley started crying for the fourth time. I finally conceded to her impatience and went and got her out of bed. I assumed she was feeling ill, teething, or something that would make me feel sorry for her. After inspecting her, however, I’ve discovered that she just preferred to get up and hang out with me at nearly 1 a.m. Fair enough. My kids come by not wanting to go to bed at night honestly. So here we are blogging in real time….
I didn’t tell her to wave – she did that all on her own.
So while we’re up together, I thought I’d record a few thoughts to and about my third child and second daughter. It’s hard to imagine that the archives of Daddy’s little internet playground will be around and available to them when they’re old enough to wonder why they got inequitable treatment here…except that I’m married to a woman who will make sure that happens (not to point out the inequity, but to record and preserve important things for our family). I don’t do this to be cute or overly public with personal words to my child. It just seems like a good thing to do tonight. If you’re not interested, there will be more world-saving words here soon enough.
You are my sweetest surprise.
Though I’d heard your mom tell me that we were pregnant more than once before, the news about you was not expected. By the time you’re old enough to read this, you’ll have heard the story enough that it probably bores you to read it here, but we were not planning on "making" any more babies – just buying them. We don’t completely know why God builds families the way he does. Our lives are rich with the full spectrum of His creativity in that way. Some of your friends are from families that are all biologically connected, some are from families that are built not on biology but, as Ross says, heart of one another’s heart and soul of one another’s soul, and some are both. But they’re all real family, none more or less than the other. They’re family to one another, and they’re family to us.
And we love that. It’s part of what prepared us to experience your sudden appearance in your mom’s body not as an interruption in our plan, but as a gift from the Lord we didn’t know to expect. There was never a question or hesitation about that for us. Somewhere in deep places I don’t voluntarily access and certainly cannot explain, I even knew you were a girl the day your mom brought Ella home with a sticker on her back that said, "middle child." Just like the first two, I have a hard time remembering not knowing you. You’ve been living freely in my home for less than six months, and it seems I’ve always known you. I love you for this.
You are my sweetest surprise. You are also my loudest surprise. And my quietest. You are a mystery in that way – quieter than the other two were most of the time, but when you decide to express yourself, louder than either of them by a factor of at least seven. I’ve never heard a human being scream with this particular intensity, volume, and pitch. It hurts. No, really. It’s painful. But I love you for this.
I also love you for your smiles. I love that you jump at me when I walk in the room. I love that you always want to put your hands on my face right now when I’m holding you. I love that you always want to be in the room with us. I love that you think Aiden is the funniest person alive. I love that you smile when Ella talks to you despite her being responsible for roughly 75% of the pain and suffering you’ve experienced in your short life. She really loves you; she just has a rather aggressive way of expressing it. And it’s not just you. This is who Ella is. But you seem to get that already, and I love you for it.
I love that though I get all kinds of smiles and happiness from you that, at times, no one else does, there are still times when no one but your mom will do. I love that you have her cheeks and chin and blue eyes. I love that you have her temperament. She doesn’t scream like you, but she’s the same combination of serenity with bursts of passion and emotion. I haven’t told her this yet, but she’ll read it here eventually – maybe about the same time you do. (She’s not my most faithful reader, but that’s okay because she’s my most faithful everything else, and she’s usually too busy with you guys to spend time reading blogs.) I can already see her in you, and I love you for that.
I don’t love you more than your brother or sister (or the others to come), but I don’t love you less. I love you, like them, with all of me; with a love that dwarfs words and defies description. I love you as the divine creation of my unity with your mom, not just biologically, but spiritually. God made us one and made us a family. And I love you for being part of that. You are my sweetest surprise.