Dear Cecilia,

When I was a young girl, “Back to the Future” was a popular movie. In it, Doc Brown insists to Marty that having information about his future can be “extremely dangerous.” In fact, he says, “No one should know too much about their destiny.” (Forgive the incorrect grammar in that quote.)

I have to agree. Knowing the future is best left up to God.

Knowing the bad that’s going to happen may save us some shock, but there will still be heartbreak because we can never truly understand how we will feel about something until we are confronted with the reality of it.

And knowing the good before it occurs would only strip us of joy. So much unexpected joy – and unexpected joy is the best. I know because I’ve experienced much of it for the past year since your birth, Cecilia.

Lots of people told me having a second baby would make my heart grow with love for you, just like it did when your brother was born. No sharing required. Thank God he created our hearts that way – to keep expanding, overflowing, bursting. He knows sharing love is not possible.

Even though people told me I would have plenty of love for you and your brother and your daddy, I never could’ve known what it would feel like until you were here. Until all four of us were a family.

I never could’ve known how apparent your brother’s love for you would be and how, although only an infant, you would return the affection wholeheartedly.

I never could’ve known how tiny your feet would be – that as a 1-year-old, finding shoes to fit you would be as difficult as locating my keys in the mornings before work and school.

Cecilia in a headband and shoes
A rare occurrence – Cecilia wearing shoes and a headband!

I never could’ve known that you would prop your chubby leg up on my arm while nursing, just like your brother did when he was a baby.

I never could’ve known how much you would love sucking your left thumb and how you would rub and pull your hair with your right hand. Oh, that hair, Baby Girl. It is getting long and wild! Trying to keep it out of your sweet face is like me trying to keep a plant alive – nearly impossible!

I never could’ve known that you would prefer vegetables over fruits. Pieces of banana, strawberry and apple almost always end up on the floor. You love broccoli, cauliflower, peas, sweet potato and lots of others. You and your brother are opposites in this category!

I never could’ve known the contentedness we would both feel when you lay your head on my shoulder and breathe those three rhythmic, short sighs.

I never could’ve known how ornery you would look when I catch you going up the steps. Amid your giggling, you can still hike up those knees quickly and make fast progress before I approach you. Sometimes I pick you up and redirect your attention to something else. Other times, I stand behind you and let you climb. I know there’s a possibility you will fall. But I am there, ready to catch you.

I hope it will always be that way in the future too. I hope when you feel like climbing, you will always climb. Even if there’s a chance of falling.

That’s the thing about the future. We never know whether we’ll fall or whether we’ll make it to the top. But God doesn’t want us to know how it will end. Because if we do, we will miss out – on joy and, yes, heartbreak too. He has given us himself and family and friends – to stand behind us and provide support.

Happy first birthday, sweet girl. I love you – so much that I never could’ve known how it would feel.