Dear Baby Magdalene,
Last night I got the word from your daddy that I will probably get to hold you before this week is over. That’s not exactly how he said it, of course, but that’s the essence of what a grandmother hears. You will wrap a tiny hand around my finger and the next 30 years of your new life, if I should live that long, around my heart.
You are my Maggie, already. You’re named after a woman about whom I have spoken to ladies groups many times—a woman who stayed with Jesus till the bitter end and was the first to witness the empty tomb. I want you to stay with Him till the end and I want us—you and me— to be together for eternity because we both, during our lives that will intersect and influence each other here for a short time, looked into the empty tomb for all the answers to life’s questions. We are still hearing the echo of those important words that Mary Magdalene first heard: “He is not here, but He is risen. Come see the place where the Lord lay.” Because of that reality our family is a forever family.
You’re also named after my sweet mother-in-law, who will be your great-grandmother. I hope you will laugh with your whole body and being like she does. I hope you will welcome hundreds around your table, as she has. I hope you will love the role of wife and mother and keeper at home, like she has. Most of all, I hope you’ll love God supremely, like that other sweet Maggie.
You will both be and bring “Joy”, too. Magdalene Joy. It’s a big challenge and blessing to get to wear the middle name of your maternal grandmother. Your dad’s parents are forever thankful to her and to your Grandpa for giving us your mom, the best wife to our Caleb and the best mother for you that we could ever have dreamed up! In fact, your mom is our hopes, all just happening right before our eyes. Joy is a little word, but I’m glad it is right in the middle of your name, because it’s all over the end of this July, for all of us. It’s what you will bring to every holiday, every family gathering, every prayer of thanksgiving for you and the faithful little family to which you are adding a whole dimension of reality—a big and new normal that they can’t imagine till the moment you explode all over again in their hearts and settle into that mountaintop adventure room that your mama has made for you. I can’t wait to see you living the verse on your nursery wall…”Be strong and courageous!” (Joshua 1:9).
In fact, I can’t wait for you! You’ve made your dad pretty nervous. You know they’ve bought that Honda Odyssey because of you. I didn’t think your daddy would ever buy another mini-van after he had to drive that “white egg”, as his friends called it, all over FHU for the first couple of years he was a student there. Your mom has been pretty sick while her little body just had a come-apart over you! But everybody—EVERYBODY—is completely happy to put life on the fast track and, at the same time, on hold…for you. You, Magdalene Joy, are the surprise we could not believe…
And the answered prayers we will keep thanking Him for all of our days….
Know there will be so much more I want to tell you when you have your hand wrapped around my finger….and my heart wrapped around your finger. I will make up songs and they will have clumsy rhymes and I will do all kinds of antics for a tiny smile. I will let you play in the flour when we make cookies and I will let you splash in all the muddy puddles at Serenity, with your cousins. Your Papa will make you doll houses and playhouses and, well…you can just have whatever you want, okay? But don’t tell anybody.
I love you, Maggie, and I can’t wait!