Dear Girl – you’re two now, and awfully proud to hold up two pudgy fingers when we ask you how old you are. And although you can’t say “birthday” you certainly like saying “happy”. That’s right you know, it’s more about celebrating a happy day than about marking another year.

Ever since you came home, you’ve been celebrated, Sweet Girl. We’ve celebrated many happy days. You’ve been blessed and showered with gifts. Quilts, books, toys, clothes, baby dolls and balloons. Lots of balloons, simply because they make your face and whole body light up with joy.

We’ve been so amazed at how generous and kind those around you have been. It has felt like an outpouring, and brought us to tears, just seeing how much others love you and love us through you.

What I want you to know, Dear One, is that the way you receive a gift tells an awful lot about your heart. It’s not just about saying thanks, but about giving thanks and being thankful. Gratitude is this incredibly important, beautiful, soul-deep way to prevent your healthy heart from being spoiled rotten. We have so many reasons to be thankful.

These presents you’ve received, they’re truly about presence. Gifts of grace, of generosity, not just in things but in time, and heart, and love. And when we give back generous thanks, we practice a tiny bit of heaven.

You may one day think I’m a bossy mama, making you write thank you notes, because I will. I think it is important – not for appearance-sake, but because it is part of how we discipline our hearts to be thankful. I do it because I want you know how to receive and appreciate the gifts of others with whole-hearted grace and gratitude.

The reality is, I’m not so great at it myself. I forget daily to give thanks, and regret how my own greedy, grabby heart betrays my desire to be grateful, and forgets being given abundant grace. But there is hope for me yet – I’m learning from you, you see. Perhaps we can learn together, love.