Firsts are always memorable by right of placement. You were the first born of the new generation of our clan, the first of the Grands to storm the castle of my heart and claim your territory.
You were my own little Hannah Lamb from the beginning (although a friend called you French Vanilla for her own reasons.)
We were neighbors in those earliest days. We enjoyed snuggle times of giggle and delight. I whispered secrets and sang hymns into your tiny sweet ears. Those were days which I savored and pondered with thanksgiving. They were days in which a tight, unbreakable bond was formed.
You were but a few months old when this changed, abruptly, without warning, crushingly.
Overnight my world was turned on its head.
Off you were taken to your father's homeland. The horrible, painful wrenching of your loss was the First Great Grief of my life.
Many days and nights, weeks and months that followed found me wandering in tears through the Psalms and Prophets searching for words of comfort. Pages of the scripture were nearly worn out with waymarkers set up, bathed in tears.
With my whole being I lived in Ramah, with Rachel "lamenting with bitter tears for her children, and would not be comforted because they were not."
I clung to the promises that followed and others that there would truly be a 'returning' and that there would truly be a future and a hope. And the words of our Lord to Joel, that He would restore the years the locust had eaten. (Camped there.)
I knew then as I know now these promises were given to Israel's children, not mine. But I saw too, this to be a picture of the ways of the Lord with His children in every age. So, in time I came to rest, and to hope in His faithfulness to His People, to His promises.
And He was! He did! Praise Him!
You were returned and we were able, you and I, to graft a new relationship onto those early roots. We became friends, confidants, kindred spirits.
These newly restored years allowed me to be part of your courting days, your wedding and the marriage that followed. I have been honored with the knowing, holding, loving of your own wee bairns. This a blessing never dreamed of in the wildest longings of my heart so long ago.
Watching you pass through and mature in times of your own First Great Grief and the future challenges we could never have expected has encouraged and blessed. I find myself being in awe, being very proud ("in the best sense") of the wise life choices you have made, of the way you support and encourage you fine husband, how you are lovingly leading and training your little ones to love and follow your Savior and God. You truly are Superwoman, again in the best sense.
How grateful I am to our Faithful God, for your life, for your life touching mine.
It is with joy and delight that I wish you a very happy birthday as you turn one and thirty. This, of course, is wrapped up in prayers and warm wishes for many blessed years yet ahead.
How dearly you are loved!