Once, I worried I would never be able to have a child. In fact, in the long year before I got pregnant with you, I was convinced you would never exist. Your Daddy wasn't concerned, but I, ever the pessimist, was sure that something in my body was not right, that a baby would never come.
But here you are my Ellie girl, full of chatter and wiggles and endless ideas.
You are three today, and I can scarcely believe it. The baby we prayed for all those months is growing up into an observant, joyful, precocious little girl, a girl who loves dancing and puzzles, dress up and baby dolls, building and coloring, a girl who says delightful things like "Would you care for some of this, Mommy?" and "I'll see what I can do, Daddy." Sometimes, I look at you and at your sister, and I feel quite simply, overcome with gratitude.
You see Ellie, ever since I was your age myself, I've wanted to be a mommy. I've wanted to have a home full of life and laughter. I've wanted to spend my days at libraries and playgrounds. I've wanted to make ants on a log and paper dolls and to play house. Even as I went to college and pursued a career, I wanted most of all to be a mommy. I couldn't imagine doing anything else.
And now, finally, I am a mommy. For the past three years, I've had the fearful, wonderful privilege of being your almost constant companion, your diaper-changer and lunch-maker, your ouchy-healer and cuddle-giver. I've felt more tired and more powerless than I'd ever imagined, but I've also known more joy than you will ever understand, until, perhaps, the day you have a baby of your own.
I want you to know Ellie how grateful I am for these first three years of your life. Your name means "God has answered," and you, my child, have been an answer to prayer - not only the prayers prayed by your Daddy and I in the year we waited for a baby, but also to the often unspoken yearnings of a little girl's heart and to the whispered longings of young, single woman.
Ellie, I still struggle sometimes to believe that God is good. It is easy for me to see all the hard and broken places in life, to get stuck there, wondering where He is in the pain and the darkness. But today sweet girl, as we celebrate three years of you, I see His goodness all over you. I see it when you smile at the pleasure of speaking your latest "silly word." I see it in the pitter-patter of your feet running to greet me when I come home from an errand or meeting. I see it in your tender affection for your baby sister. Most of all, I see it in the simple reality of your presence here with us, a sweet fulfillment of my heart's desire, a generous gift from a God who is indeed, good.