Thursday, September 21, 2006

To Olivia, on the occasion of her 2nd birthday

Dear Olivia,

Happy Birthday, my sweet little girl. Can you believe it?!?! You're two years old! A big girl who can feed herself and take care of baby dolls and put on her own boots to play outside and use the potty and sing beautiful songs of her own invention. You are a truly unique person, and there's no one in the world like you, Olivia. I'm so happy to have you as a part of my life.

It's funny that the first week of your third year of life should happen to coincide with the last week of our church's occupation of "The Zolder" (which has been taking a lot of Daddy's time and attention over the last bit of time). This coincidence is actually kind of appropriate, I think.

I was in the Zolder, believe it or not, when I first heard that you were on your way into the world, back on the 21st of September, 2004. I was taking part in an early-morning men's group in the Zolder lounge, and your mother called to say that it was happening! Your birth was imminent! So I rushed home with my head in the clouds, and I remember crossing the Amstel River with a distinct cognizance of the fact that my life was about to change dramatically over the next couple of hours. We didn't have to wait too long for you to grace us with your presence. It turned out that we had just enough time to call the midwife, get someone to pick up your brother, and turn our bedroom into a maternity ward (which was not our original plan!) -- and then you were there. A real live little girl! When I think about that morning, I still feel awed and excited...

You were dedicated in the Zolder, about a month after your birth. Me and Mommy stood in the middle of the room and told the church that we wanted to raise you to be a woman for God. We explained that we named you Olivia because you were our "olive branch" -- our little sign of hope and new life that came after the Great Flood that threatened to destroy the earth. And indeed, you've brought much hope and life and renewal into our home during the past two years. You've taught me what it means to be passionate. You've thrilled my soul with your exhuberant grin and your eyes that flash with excitement when fun is in the air. Even thinking about it now, as I type these words, I cannot help but smile at the image of your smile...

And I guess what makes me realize the propriety of the juxtaposition of your second birthday and the church's relocation is the way that you remind me of hope and life and the expectation of good things to come. Of course, the Zolder is all that you've ever known as a church home (you're not alone in this). Departure from the Zolder means the destruction of everything familiar and established. And yet, truthfully, you'll never really remember the Zolder except as blurred old photographs (thanks to the quirky way that the brains of two-year-olds work)... But I'm hopeful to think that you'll move on so easily and spend the rest of your life bringing hope and the life of God's creation to other places and other people.

And really, a father could hope for nothing more for his daughter. And I have an inexplicable confidence that this is exactly what you'll be doing for the rest of your life. I can't wait to watch and see... I love you, Olivia.

Yours,

Daddy

3 Comments:

At 9:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Olivia!
Opa Dave

 
At 11:25 PM, Anonymous Uncle Sam said...

Give her hugs and kisses from her Uncle Sam, Aunt Anna, and little Morgan. The puppies send some sloppy kisses as well. :-)

 
At 12:43 PM, Anonymous Linda said...

Eric, your words to your daughter are so precious! She is a very fortunate little girl to have you as her Daddy. To hear you give her kind words of affirmation and speaking to her as a "Princess" will forever engrain in her heart and soul the thing she longs for... to be counted worthy, to be "seen" and to know she is lovely. Thanks for your love for your sweet girl... I'm blessed to observe your love for Olivia!

 

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