River my darling is now an official toddler,✌🏼 that's 2 fingers on her cute lil hand! I asked God almost a month ago for some encouragement with her as I was feeling exasperated, pulled on, just a bit weary with caring for her, trying to do it well and gracefully. Eyes closed, I immediately got a vision of me opening the front door to our home and a beautiful spirited woman pouncing gleefully, wrapping her arms around my neck in a surprise hug. It was River, maybe college-aged and back home on our doorstep. I was reminded that this insistent, whip smart, tenacious shortie will be a woman one day and the connection and tenderness I show now may matter more than I know. Weeks later, again frustrated and trying to keep cool in sticky summer heat and seemingly constant 'mama hold meeee's' where I'd swing down and lug her up only to have her shimmy squirm free soon after, I woke up one morning with a gentle nudge from the Lord. It sounded like, "You know, when she's grown, she won't introduce herself as your daughter. Her ultimate identity is that she's MY daughter." I also felt that the Lord said, "Just pick her up. Don't worry about supposed cling-ness or teaching her otherwise. She wants you, to be near, and her desire is good." So this is a shot of us at a gritty flea market in Europe this summer, when honestly all I want to do is leave her with grandma and fly through the table mazes at my own pace glory hunting for odd and ends. But she rightly wants to be with me. There's smoke, strangers, commotion. Physiologically, we're still a motherbaby diad for another year or so. Give me strength to always welcome her with open arms in this trying stage.

Alexa Heung