Penelope Chapel, my “weaver of refuge”. It’s the last night that I’ll have you as a one year old, you know. I laid with you tonight, as the dusk settled in through the window shades and the washer buzzed and bumped with the day’s wear. You tapped your chubby little hand against the pillow and whispered, “ni-nite”. I climbed in and shared your pillow, my nose pressed into the most precious baby skin I’ve ever known. Your eyes smiled big and I could see that gappy grin behind your paci. You never liked being rocked to sleep. I’ve missed that with you. Those nights of just sitting, holding, and rocking until I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore. For two years I’ve put you to bed wishing I could have just a little bit more. I think that’s how most people feel when they leave your presence. Just a little bit more, please. The sweetness that pours out of you leaves people completely fulfilled and longing for more all at the same time. Your heart carries wonder in it. Your eyes are gentle, and your voice is strong. You may be the baby of this family, but your heart is made for mothering. We can see this when you’re patting your baby dolls saying “shush shush shush”. We can see this when you bring toys to the kids younger than you. We can see it in the way you want to hug your sister every time she walks into the room. Everything the Lord designed in you flows freely out of you. There are no hinderances. There are no filters. All that He put in you flows freely.
When I lay down next to you, love, my spirit starts to stir. A shift happens in my heart, so thick I can physically feel the draw. You throw your arms around my neck and pull me in and your touch brings comfort. Healing. Resurrection.
Usually about this time your eyes get heavy I watch you drift off. I linger as long as I can. With each breath I soak it all in, every inch and every ounce.
You are a gift, Penelope. You are a treasure. You are a minister of the Holy Spirit. He designed you perfectly. You have received easily. You pour out abundantly.
You’ll wake up a two year old tomorrow. You’ll blow out candles and fight over snack time and ask for more bubbles. I will hug you tighter, kiss you longer, and give a million thanks to Jesus for your life. I love you more than my heart can even handle.
Happy birthday, Wellopee.