Dear Olivia

Well, baby girl, life as you knew it just got changed up a bit more this week for you. Friday was a big day for our little family. It really started in the middle of the night when I got up and saw that it was snowing. In case you don’t already know this about your mother, the first snow of the year gets me all giddy. There’s something about the clean, white, newness that it brings. It’s always so much quieter after the snow comes. People move slower. And, where I grew up, it really is the sign that Christmas is coming and rather than being cranky most people around Armstrong seem to come alive. It’s a special time.

Daddy and I were so excited to see what you would think when you woke up that we actually snuck into your room and made a lot of noise so you would have no choice but to wake up. You had already slept later than normal, so we figured it was okay. You were wearing your new “soft” pajamas, as you call them. The ones with feet that have absolutely fallen in love with. I love that you get a chance to wear pj’s with feet because that won’t happen in Haiti, and it’s almost a right of passage for kids.

The "soft" pajamas.

I cuddled you up in my arms in all your sleepy softness and we toted you off to the living room to open the blinds and watch your reaction as you saw snow for the first time. I’ll never forget how you looked up, blinking your sleepy little eyes open, rubbing them, and then the smile crept across your entire face and you squealed, “It’s snowing!”

A true telling of you thoughts on snow.

This was you saying "cheese".

After a quick breakfast we dressed up in our winter wear and headed outside so you could play in the white stuff for the first time ever. And you were in love. You love that it’s fluffy and you can kick it. You also discovered, like any other kid that lives in a snowy climate, that snow is great for eating. No one needed to give you instructions, it just seemed like a natural thing. When your Daddy asked you what it tasted like you thought about it for a second, then very matter of factly, almost with that come on Dad tone said, “Um, it tastes like water.”

When we came back inside you announced that playing in the snow was fun. For the rest of the day, no matter where we went, you needed to walk in the fresh snow. It was all about the snow.

Later on Friday we went into town so I could go for my first ultra sound and we could get a peek at your future brother or sister. As we sat in the waiting room I asked you if you wanted a little brother or sister. You said a little brother. When I asked you why, you said, “Because it’s a baby.” Your Dad and I have realized that your two and a half year old logic does not always line up with grown up logic. If anything it’s entertaining. We kept talking about the baby. I told you we were going to go look at a picture of the baby, but that it would be very small. You weren’t having any of that. When I asked you why you were upset you told me that you wanted a “big, big, big, BIG baby”.

One thing that people don’t often see about you because you’re so social and outgoing, is that you have this amazingly sweet and compassionate side to you. You don’t like to see people in distress. If your dad and I are talking through something and it seems like we’re mad you get upset. If I cry for any reason, which with my water works for eyes is pretty regularly, you run off to the bathroom and bring me some waded up toilet paper to wipe my eyes. You don’t like to see me sad or sick. When you came into the ultrasound room and saw me laying on the bed it made you upset because you thought I was sick. I know it’s pretty early for you to understand that that little dot on the screen is your future brother or sister, but it was, and your dad and I know you’re going to make a sweet older sister. What was even more special about seeing that little flutter of a heartbeat on the screen was that we saw it one day after the two year mark of our miscarriage.

The good news for Mommy and Daddy was that our new family member has a head, a bum and a beating little heart. Mommy has been pretty sick lately, but the good news is that it’s helping to make the baby healthy. Again, this is all too much for you to know and understand now, but one day I hope I’ll be able to share it all with you in a way that makes sense. If you take anything away from that I hope you’ll know how much your Daddy and I love you and whatever siblings you have. We’ve had to fight for you to be a part of our family, and we’ve lost one baby through miscarriage, so the sweetness of healthy children is something that we will always hold dear to us I think.

After the ultrasound appointment we sent Daddy on his way for his trip down to see Gramma and Granddad, and to do some speaking in the US. I know you’re missing him right now, and I can promise that he is missing us. As a distraction, and out of necessity, we went to go buy you some new winter boots. Of course they’re pink, and of course you love them. We did some Christmas shopping after that, and as we went to park in front of our third store you exclaimed from the back of the van, “There’s so many stores!” Yes, welcome to the land of plenty little one. There are, in fact, so many stores.

Yesterday was the day that we started to decorate Nanna and Pappas house for the holidays. And, you loved it. Every tote that came up from the basement with more decorations got you more excited. When you came to “help” me bring stuff upstairs you said, “Mom, are you bringing more Christmas?” You love the lights and the snowmen and the trees. You are a child after my own heart. I can’t wait to see you on Christmas morning. I think that will be the biggest part of the fun of the day for all of us.

Enjoying some of your new friends.

Today, to give you something to do, Nanna asked you to make a Christmas list. You got a pencil and a little notepad, and in your own way started to make a list. When I asked you what was on it, you said, “A cow.” Not sure if that will fit into a duffel bag…

Happy winter baby girl!

~Mommy

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About Leslie

I'm Leslie. Wife. Mother. Missionary. In the day to day my husband and I are responsible for running Clean Water for Haiti, a humanitarian mission that builds and distributes water filters to Haitian families. Living in Haiti full time provides lots of stories, and as I tell my husband, our grandkids probably won't believe most of them. Maybe writing them down will give me some credibility.

5 thoughts on “Dear Olivia

  1. How wonderful to experience your child’s firsts – first snow, first winter PJs! Thanks for sharing them. I’m so glad you are all together in Canada for the holidays and so glad the ultrasound went well! Have a wonderful holiday season!

  2. Leslie (& Chris & Olivia!)

    Thank you soooooo much for sharing! I am really in the holiday spirit now! Its so exciting to see their little faces when they really start to “get it”. She is at the perfect age. I thank you for bringing us all along with you!! You will have to do some videos of her too! I am so glad the ultrasound was positive and reassuring! Praying the sickness will subside for you soon so you can enjoy your time home!! Take care,
    Mandy

  3. Leslie, what a beautiful letter to your precious daughter. I feel honored that you have shared this with all of us. Thank you.

    I’ve been wondering if the snow ‘people’ had made their appearance and how Olivia was responding to them so now we have an inkling!

    Many treasures being stored up for many people :)

    • Thanks Margaret! Yes, the snow people started thumping around in their boxes quite loudly over the weekend and then migrated upstairs. Mom has been sick (is starting to feel better) so the migration has been in stages, but it is happening and Liv LOVES it. I asked her what she thought we should do today and she said “More Christmas!” Meaning she wanted more decorations to be put up. :)

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