This little girl! Not only has she completely stolen my heart from the day she made her debut, she pretty much captures the attention of admirers wherever she goes. Here we are, already about to enter Spring time, and barreling our way toward her 3rd birthday. While editing these pictures, I couldn't help but reflect on her life so far with us, the fun times we've had getting to know her personality and watch her grow, and even some of the rougher times. I'm not going to sugar coat it, the last several months were brutally hard on her and I both.
Not only was I struggling with my personal issues and battles, but her Daddy was away, both things causing anxiety and stress in a very sensitive little girl. I can't tell you how many times I heard the words, "I want Daddy" sometimes through very emotional tears, other times in defiance of my commands. I felt what it feels like to have my sweet little child - very unintentionally but still painfully - reject me, for being the less than fun mess I was. And sometimes, if I'm being honest, I deserved it. I really struggled for a while being on my own as a parent. I honestly have no clue how single moms, let alone single working mothers, cope with day to day life. My hat is off to every single one of them.
I couldn't do it. At least not successfully. Both Zion and I longed for the return of our secure family unit, she longed for her daddy, and I longed for my husband. Now that we have been reunited, and time is abundantly ours, we are experiencing an overwhelming joy of a family that is working together to be awesome. I knew in my heart that our trip to Alaska was going to be the beginning of a new chapter. We had been walking through the desert valley way too long, it was time for an oasis. And God is so faithful to provide that refreshment through His favor and blessing, just when we think we can't make it through another day!
In just over a week and a half, I have seen my daughter return to being a joyful, exuberant little drama queen, with her silly antics and non-stop giggles. Our home-away-from-home is flourishing with love and harmony. I don't mean to make it seem like a fantasy or anything, behind the scenes several important self-discoveries have been made, many late night discussions and lots of tears shed. But though I won't share all of those details in this post, the result of these necessary struggles is two parents who have joined together to work on being better individuals and as a result of a better marriage, we are being better parents, and therefore our little lady feels secure and stable enough to thrive.
When I see these two together, it seriously explodes my heart with thanksgiving. There are so many things I am grateful for in my husband, Zion's father, Jerry. They have such a special relationship. I don't even have to mention the physical resemblance. They have a blast together, and he is always willing to participate in the silliest of Zion's imaginative play adventures. This moment in the pool together was magical. It was the first time he had ever seen her in the pool, something I was spoiled with during her swim lessons in the Fall. I couldn't wait for him to see how she just wore a permanent ear-to-ear grin whenever she set foot in the pool, or how she would dip half her face in the water and then beam with pride because she was brave enough to do it.
As I watch them play together and enjoy making up for lost time, I find myself fighting back mixed tears. Tears of joy - I'm truly the happiest when I am with the two of them, and tears of sadness - realizing that longing in the wounded part of my heart to have had a daddy that was as amazing as Jerry is. Though I am sure that little sting will always be a part of my reality, it won't be a part of hers, and that quickly dries up any sorrowful tears. God has redeemed that part of my life - by providing an amazing father to my daughter. I couldn't wish any better for her. God has also been faithful to me by being a very present Father in my life - and for providing me with an adoptive father, whom I am incredibly blessed to have as well.
Thank you, Lord, for this amazing man you brought into my life, to be my husband. And for the daughter you have blessed us with. Thank you so much, Jerry, for being an amazing daddy to our daughter - the best a little girl could have. And for being my best friend and husband - you hold infinite stock in my heart, and I am a blessed woman to have you!