My Sweet One,
It's here. Your 5th birthday. The day that I wanted to hold off as long as I could but it just came anyway. 5 just feels so big to me, my Little. As I snuggled you before bed last night you said, "Mom! Because I'm turning 5 that means I'm almost 7!" Oh that felt much too true and I'm just not ready for that. Thankfully, though, you aren't either because a second later you said, "I'm not ready to be 7 yet, Mommy. That's really big." So, my AK, we will not rush to 7 just yet. Instead, today you will turn 5 and we will celebrate that.
These birthdays are such funny things, kiddo. My mama heart feels the oddest tension of sadness and joy that only comes in your birthday season or when you do something especially grown-up.
The joy at seeing how much you've grown, how much you've absorbed, the new words you use in sentences, simply handing you the ingredients as you single-handedly put together the chocolate chip cookie recipe, watching you do flip after flip underwater in the swimming pool, seeing your creativity and your imagination flourish, watching you grow in how you interact with those around you, being inspired by how brave you are, being taught by your eagerness to serve, seeing your mind and your heart struggle with your sin and began to more clearly understand your need for Jesus, hearing you say that you don't want to sin but you want to obey and trust in Jesus, seeing you grapple with the hard questions and watching your heart began to open, day by day, to the understanding of truth and the sweetest grace of God. These moments.
The sadness is a different sadness. It's not the one that is made up of sorrow or pain, It's the one that comes when the door closes on a chapter of life, when it's time to move into the next stage, the new season. With each one of these moments my mind fasts forward to watching you drive a car for the first time, bringing you to college, seeing you walk down the aisle to your husband. All of these are far into the future right now, I know, but their horizons come to mind. And I don't want to shut them out because they remind me of something. This type of sadness reminds me of something. All of this reminds me that you are not ultimately our Little. You are not ultimately ours but you are His. God's. He just graciously said, "Jason and Jenny Coobs, this precious one gets to be yours for a time," and He entrusted you to us. I want to take the moments the horizons come to mind and be filled with hope for those days ahead and be reminded that the biggest mission of my days with you is to "train you up in the way you should go." It's to point you to Jesus. To lead you and love you, to train you and discipline you, to comfort you and help you, to serve you and come alongside you, to laugh with you and adventure with you, to encourage you and dream with you, to be brave with you and hope with you, to do all of this in a way that says, "Here's the best gift of all: Jesus." He died for you, He rose for you, He treasures you, and He desires you to seek Him all the days of your life. Everything I do with you, all that I say to you, is to resound with truth, with the gospel, so that when those horizons comes, by His grace, you will be thoroughly equipped to walk them in a way that honors Him, that loves Him, that knows that "He is better than it all."
So the sadness isn't really sadness after all, is it? It's more like the salt to the sweet, the flavor to the joy. It's all wrapped up together in the beautiful package that was gifted to me 5 years ago when I became your mama. As I wrote this letter to you last night I was recalling all the minutes of the night before the day I met you. On that day it felt like 5 years old was miles and miles ahead, a faint thought. Here we find ourselves, though, and those miles went a lot quicker than I ever thought they would. They've been sweet, though. Hard and sweet, raw and beautiful.
There's so many more things I want to fill this letter with, all my thoughts on what this past year has held, all the emotions, the pieces of learning, and the moments that are now stakes in my memories. Some of these things I've shared with you already, some I'll share with you as you grow up, some daddy and I will just share, and some will just be held quietly between me and the Lord.
Know this, my Sweet One: countless times this year I have whispered up prayers to the Lord to thank Him. To thank Him for choosing me to be your mama. To thank Him that He made you, daddy, and me our little band of three. To thank Him that you are the one we get to hope and pray for another baby with, and be so amazed by what your mind thinks and your heart comprehends. To thank Him for your intensity and your tender heart, your perseverance and your honesty. To thank Him that you are our little, fierce one, with struggles we don't fully understand, and strengths that inspire us. To thank Him that He loves you more than we could ever begin to comprehend.
I hope that this 5th birthday day is a special one for you, my Little. You are so treasured.
Happy Birthday, my Anna Kate. I love you forever.