Has it really been a decade?? Happy 10th, Emlyn!!

My Sweet Emlyn,

Has it really been a decade since your arrival?  In one way, I can't imagine life without you here, but in another, it seems like I barely blinked and you are half grown. :)  

I remember finding out we were expecting you...I was so excited, and yet a bit anxious.  Daddy's job was in transition, we would have to have a new vehicle, as our only car wouldn't hold three carseats, and the thought of three children under four was a bit overwhelming.  And if I'd known what my pregnancy with you was going to hold, I would have been even more overwhelmed, I think...but God is good *not* to show us everything at once. :)  

Early bedrest, an infection that landed me in the hospital (with the worst experience EVER with a potassium IV), a minor wreck, breaking my ankle and wearing a boot for six weeks...seven weeks before your due date (Dr. Muylaert sweated bullets over that one...he was so worried that you were going to come a bit early and he was going to have to deal with babying a broken ankle in the midst of delivery. :)), and then discovering at the very end that you were transverse...yours was definitely the most *interesting* pregnancy I'd had to that point (although your sister worked hard to show you up a couple of years later! :))

However, in the midst of all of that, God was teaching me so much!  He brought me from anxiety to peace (over and over again, as I'm a bit of a slow learner), and then at the end, brought me face-to-face with one of my great pregnancy fears...having a c-section.  And how like our God that despite the crazy pregnancy and dreaded c-section, yours was my easiest recuperation of all!

The first thing we noticed about you was the hair.  Oh, that hair!  Peter said it was "like smoke blowing", and a man at church said, "That baby has Choctaw hair!"  It was, and you did.  We called it your "Indian hair", and it seemed appropriate since you are so much like my Choctaw grandmother.  Your eyes turned from their original very dark blue at birth to her very distinctive cornflower blue shortly afterward...such beautiful eyes!  It took them a long, long time to change to their current hazel...we thought they might actually stay blue.  But they are still beautiful, and you still remind me of Granny Marks in many ways.

You've always been the calmest and most placid of your siblings.  You're much more of a homebody than they are, as well.  You love "little things", just like Granny Marks did...and when you called yesterday and excitedly told me about the little injured bird you'd rescued at Mamoe's house, you reminded me of Granny all over again!  You were so thrilled that it had been able to fly away on its own.

As you are growing older, I am seeing a whole new side of your personality come out...a quiet, focused determination relating to a goal.  You have a passion for taking care of people (and animals, and birds...:)), and a strong heart for missions, and you have been very focused in the last year or two on your dream of being a medical missionary.   For your birthday yesterday, you took part of your birthday money and bought a real blood pressure cuff...the old fashioned kind...and you were so excited for Mamoe and Daddy to teach you how to use it.

As we did with all of you, Daddy and I very carefully considered your name.  I had always wanted to use the name "Emma",  after my great-grandmother and Aunt Emma Jo.  But...right before Bayley was born, friends at church named their daughter Emma, so we took it off our list.  When we were searching for names for you, I ran across a list of "archaic" names, and saw the name Emlyn (with many variations and spellings).  I immediately loved it, as it combined the "Emma" I had so wanted to use with my middle name.  The bonus was that it was Welch...your Papaw Brown had Welch ancestry and had always loved Welch names.  Daddy loved it, too, so it went to the top of our list. :)

Emlyn means "to strive or excel".  Two things come to mind about that this morning...the way you are "striving" to be prepared for what God has for you, and a letter your Papaw wrote to me when I was born, which talked about striving to be "excellent" in all we do...not doing things half-heartedly, but heartily as unto the Lord.

Your middle name is "Olivia", which means "peace".  So appropriate for your peaceful personality, but it goes beyond that as well.  The top middle name on our list for you was "Taylor".  There were various reasons behind that name, and we both loved the combination Emlyn Taylor.  But...after Daddy came back in from calling Nonna and Granddad to tell them you had arrived, I said, "I think we need to use Emlyn Olivia instead."  Daddy surprisingly agreed, and we made the change.  I wanted a forever reminder of the peace that God had given while I was lying on the table during that c-section.  It's been a good reminder during later "bumps in the road" of your young life as well.

I don't know if God's plan for you includes medical missions on the foreign field, but I do know that He has a very special plan for you for which He is preparing your heart and life even now.  I can't wait to see what that is!

Happy Birthday, Sweet Em!!  I love you so much, and I am so excited about God's work in your life "from the first day until now"...and from now on!

I love you,


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