You’ve been growing inside my womb for more than 39 weeks now, and the doctor says that any day now you’ll be making your appearance and I’ll finally be holding you in my arms and experiencing motherhood for the first time. I can’t wait to touch you and smell you and hear your first cry. I can’t wait to finally see what you look like. I can’t wait to see what your father’s face looks like as he holds you for the first time.
Let me tell you a little about your parents since you’re about to be spending a whole lot of time hanging out with the two of us outside the comfort of this womb to which you’ve grown accustomed. Your dad and I met and fell in love at Freed Hardeman University a little over four years ago. I was a goofy blonde RA majoring in English. I was passionate about travel, reading, writing, and midnight Taco Bell runs with all my crazy friends. Your dad worked as a youth minister at the Independence church of Christ and as a manager at a sporting goods store most of his time at Freed, but at school, he was mostly known for his skilled, over-the-top pranks. We’ll tell you all about these soon (I think my favorite was when he walked around campus in a hazmat suit putting caution tape and signs on classroom doors canceling classes due to an outbreak of swine flu—he got in a little trouble for that one!).
I know this sounds crazy, but we both thought about you on that first date at Besso’s coffee shop at that little table in the corner (I went back and got that table from the owners 3 years later—it’s in our kitchen now). Even on that first date, we both thought about what it would be like if this worked out and we one day raised a child together. Neither of us spoke about that for many months to come, but even then, as we talked about everything from our families to homeschooling to mission work to cookie dough gelato, I was thinking about what it would be like if Ben was the future father of my child….if he would be your daddy.
We dated for about a year after that, and all the while, the question I was asking myself was how I would feel about it if you turned out to be just like your dad. When I realized that I would be overjoyed if you one day followed in his footsteps of humble servitude and righteous bravery, I knew he was the one I was going to spend my happily ever after with on this earth.
When your daddy asked me to marry him, we were thinking of you then, too. I’ll never forget how I felt when I said yes, agreeing to put my whole future (that includes you) in the hands of this wonderful, Godly man. The only bad thing about all this was that I knew my future last name and yours, too, would be one we’d have to slowly spell out every time anyone asked for our name for all of our time on this earth. Sorry about that, Son. I tried to get your daddy to just take my name (Colley) instead of his, but he had other ideas. 🙂
We were married on July 15, 2011. Your daddy took me to the south of Florida and also Savannah, Georgia on our honeymoon. On the last full day of our two-week honeymoon, we went to Tybee Island and your mom had a wreck on a motor bike. For about an hour afterwards, I wasn’t thinking about you, your daddy, the wedding, or anything else besides how badly I wanted to get back on the bike and ride some more. This was due to a concussion, during which I forgot who your daddy even was!! Don’t worry–I remembered shortly thereafter while at the hospital and you returned to being a happy little twinkle in my eye again. 🙂
As soon as we returned from the honeymoon, we began our work with the Riverbend church of Christ in Dalton, Georgia, where your dad was the associate minister. We lived in Dalton for just a little over a year. During that time, I worked with high school special education students at the high school by our house. I was involved with community theater in Dalton. I also taught Bible class at Riverbend and we had many people over to our pretty little home surrounded by huge pine trees. It was the preacher’s house that belonged to Riverbend and we were so blessed to get to live in it. We had so much fun decorating and making it ours. We even had a “Wall of Shame” in it where we framed and hung mementos of your father’s school pranks, including the large framed black and white photo of your dad PhotoShopped to look just like the formal pictures of former FHU presidents in Old Main (It hung on the wall in all its ridiculous glory in Old Chapel Hall for months before someone caught it). Your dad stayed busy in Dalton with preaching, teaching, visiting, woodworking in his A-frame workshop and updating his new blog called “Plain Simple Faith.” I also started a blog called “The Heart of Hannah.” We spent lots of fun, quiet evenings playing board games or watching movies while we cuddled on the couch, both of which we still enjoy doing together!
In October of 2012, we moved to Louisville, Kentucky to work with the Cedar Springs church of Christ, where your dad was the pulpit minister. We lived in a beautiful white house that belonged to the church and sat in the church building parking lot. Daddy and I were both very active at church, where we both taught classes, organized events, and helped to start the Lads to Leaders program, which we had no idea would affect our lives in the way it has now! I worked as a nanny to little children like you, and thought about you all the time as I got in lots of “practice” that would prepare me in some pretty great ways for my dream of being your stay-at-home mommy one day. Your dad and I loved date nights in the city. Your dad was ecstatic to live in a city with Skyline chili. We made some very dear friends in Louisville that we love very much and we made a lot of happy memories there. We even got to take an incredible vacation to NYC while we lived there! My favorite memory of Louisville, however, is the day I found out you would be entering our lives in about 8 months. I sat on the bathroom floor and cried and cried with pure, overwhelming joy and excitement. You, my forever dream, were now a reality, a human being—an eternal soul–growing inside me. I’ll never forget the look on your daddy’s face when I gave him the news. His eyes filled with tears and he kissed me and held me and we laughed at the very idea of us two kids becoming parents! The responsibility was overwhelming to us, but so exciting. Your grandparents (both sets) and Uncle Caleb cried when we told them, too. A lot of happy tears have been shed over you, sweet boy! Piedaddy said we should name you Hootie Monroe when we told him. You’re going to love him and his hilarious, silly sense of humor. I can’t wait for you to experience Christmas at his house this year (it was at his house for Christmas when I first wondered if I might be pregnant—I couldn’t eat Christmas dinner! I knew something was up then). Your other great grandparents (my dad’s parents), Great Grandma Garner, and Great Grandma and Grandpa Giselbach are also super excited about your arrival!
When your mom was a little past 20 weeks pregnant, your grandparents (my parents) hosted a gender reveal party at their house in Maysvillle, AL. This is when we found out in the presence of our family and closest friends that you were a son and not a daughter! My parents got up at that party and read the letters they had written to me right before I was born—just like this letter, but a lot older. 🙂 I pray that I will be half the parent to you that your grandparents were to me. I feel woefully inadequate as a mother, but I can’t say that I haven’t had amazing examples of what godly parenthood looks like. Your grandparents (both my parents and your dad’s parents) are incredible people who love the Lord and I know they’re going to teach you wonderful lessons both with words and their examples. Never forego an opportunity to learn from them.
A few months after we found out we were having you, your daddy was offered a job working for Lads to Leaders. As passionate as your dad and I are about preparing young people to grow up and lead the Lord’s church toward heaven, this was an opportunity we couldn’t resist, and so we packed up and moved to Montgomery, Alabama when your mom was 7 months pregnant. Your dad also got a part-time job preaching for the Lightwood church of Christ in Marbury, a wonderful congregation that seems almost as excited about your arrival as we are! We lived in a lovely house we rented for two months from our friends Moises and Kimberley Pinedo, and it fit our needs perfectly until we found a house to call ours in Millbrook. This is going to be your house! That’s right–your crazy parents packed up and moved one last time before your arrival while your mama was almost 9 months pregnant! We’ve been living in this house for five days now, and we finally just got hot water! It was quite an ordeal house shopping, signing, and getting moved in (the moving truck broke down on the way, we realized we wouldn’t have running water for three days, we couldn’t find a non-smoking hotel room to stay in until then, among lots of other adventures!), but we are just so excited to finally have a place that belongs to us where we can make a home for you, sweet boy. Your grandmother (my mom) just left yesterday, but she stayed a few days to help us get your nursery all ready for you, and while the rest of the house may be a disaster right now, your room is ready and already filled with love and happy anticipation of you being in it! So many people have given us such beautiful gifts to help prepare us for taking care of you. You can feel the warmth of their love along with ours in your sweet little nursery.
That brings us to the present–September 12, 2014—just four days before your due date. I know that so many more blessed adventures await us in the future, and I know I’ll look back on this letter 20 years from now amazed at just how brand new and naive we were in so many ways. Things are going to be so different once you’ve been born. The beautiful thing is that it won’t just be me and your daddy anymore—we’re a family now, and I can’t wait to experience life as a family with you.
We are praying for you every day, Son. We’re praying that you will be raised in a home filled with love and laughter. We’re praying that you will be healthy and happy and responsible. We pray that you will learn to be strong but gentle, confident but humble, independent but sensitive to the needs of others. But more than that, we’re praying that you will be successful, for we know with all our hearts that true success doesn’t have anything to do with material wealth or earthly satisfaction, but that true success is living your life and going to heaven. We pray that God will give us enough strength, courage, and daily determination to be the kind of parents that will instill in you a deep love for God and for His church, above all else. The only thing that matters in life is making sure you’re going to heaven and bringing as many people with you as you can. We are going to teach you about God’s Word before you’re even able to understand what we’re saying, and will continue to do so until you have a family of your own one day, but don’t just take our word for it. Study on your own, and if anyone, including us, ever teaches you something that contradicts God’s Word, make sure you obey God regardless of what other people say.
We are also praying for the little girl you’ll marry one day, and for the parents who are going to be raising her. Choosing whom you will marry is such a hugely important decision, second only to deciding to put on Christ in baptism and live for Him daily. You will have to face so many big decisions in your life, but as long as you get those two right, God is going to bless you immeasurably.
I can’t wait to see your precious face. I can’t wait to see your little personality develop as you grow. Every time I walk in your sweet little nursery, I can’t believe how richly blessed I am to get to be your mother. You won’t understand this until you’re a parent, too, but it’s the most wonderful and the most terrifying feeling all at the same time. Some days I panic when I wonder if I even have what it takes to take care of myself, much less a human soul God has placed in my care. I am, and will always be, weak and mortal, and on some days, kind of an airhead (Sorry). I will make tons of mistakes as a parent, and I apologize in advance for those. I will be completely and totally dependent on our God, the perfect Parent, as I make decisions that affect you. As inadequate as I feel, I know I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13), and that includes being a good mom.
While I can’t promise you that you’ll have a perfect mom (or anything even resembling that), I can promise you a few things. I promise to shower you with hugs and kisses all day long for as long as you’ll let me. I promise to bend over backwards, even if it means looking ridiculous in public, in order to make you laugh. I promise to love you forever and ever, even when that has to be tough love. I promise to put your needs before my own. I promise to love your daddy and do my very best to show you what Godly marriage looks like. I promise to do my very best to truly “seek first the Kingdom” (Mt. 6:33), making Christianity not just part of us, but all of us—everything we are—so that you will hopefully grow up wanting to do the same.
I love you, my sweet boy. See you soon.