My Best Girl

[Note: I started this post/letter several months ago and finished it a few weeks ago. But, I never wanted to officially “finish” it and post it because it felt too much like a goodbye and I didn’t want to say goodbye … it just hurt too much. But, cancer eventually did win and our beautiful Harper Jane girl passed away last Friday. I had to let it all settle and spend time in my sadness … but I also wanted to make sure I let the world know what a truly good soul our girl was. And so, this is for her. It’s not goodbye. It’s just … thank you for the wonderful memories and I’ll miss you until I see your happy face again … ]

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I’ve written countless letters and articles for my children over the years. Each birthday and even times in between. They grow and change so fast … my heart often gets lost … it simply can’t keep up. Something will catch me off guard, and I’ll be blown away that time has passed and we are here – whole seasons of motherhood already over …

Pen to paper has always been my way. As long as I can remember, I put my feelings on paper. Opened my heart and let it pour out onto the pages before me. During those times, I’d work through things, I’d discover myself, I’d learn to let go and grow. When hurt or broken hearted, I’d write letters. Letters never meant to be sent. Just so I could get it all out of my head, out of my heart …

IMG_4801I realized today, that I don’t write her letters. I’m not sure why. I think it’s because she’s so steady. N & A, they grow and change and I struggle to accept it. But, Harper. She’s my northern star. Tried and true and sure. Never changing. Always reliable. My constant.

Today, I watched her walking slowly around the yard. I watched her move quietly, differently. She did not bring me a ball. She did not ask to play. She moved with caution, stopping often, until she found a spot to lay, lifting her face to the sky and closing her eyes. Enjoying the breeze. The sunlight made her hair glisten. Our golden girl. When she was a pup, we’d laugh when she’d stop and lift her head up into the wind, tossing her hair and savoring the moment. “Farrah Fawcett” we’d call her and giggle. She’s our beautiful girl. Bright and light. I’ve never met a more pure being. God’s gift to us. We realized early on how special she was. She is so good. The most wonderful soul I have ever known.

IMG_4800I’ve always pictured her with us. I never allowed myself to picture a time without her. “She’ll be the first doggie to make it to 50”, we’d joke in a hopeful, half-serious way. I imagined her to be an old lady doggie, her face even whiter than it is now. She should  have had many more good, playful years left. She should. But, she doesn’t. She has been a fighter and for the most part – this 10 month battle with Lymphoma has been up and down, but she’s done okay. She’s had more good days. Now, though, it’s all shifted. No more chemo. No more appointments. We wait and let the cancer do what it does.

IMG_1665My heart hurts as I watch her. I grieve her absence already. She is our daughter. Our friend. Our most loyal companion. She sits with R while he works in his office. She rides with me as I take the kids to and from school. She loves our long walks and she’s the happiest in the water. She is Harper Jane. She is LOVE and understanding and unwavering faithfulness.

And, oh, how I want to freeze time and remember her just as she is — But. No. Actually, not here … we’ll rewind a bit and remember her just how she always was BEFORE cancer started stealing pieces of her from us a little at a time …

My snapshot-in-time for my golden baby …

“Oh, dear sweet, Harper Jane — You, my love, are my best girl. I tell you every single day … because it’s true, but also because it’s what you want to hear. It’s what I’ve always said and it’s something we share … just the two of us. We touch our foreheads together gently … you only do this with me (though everyone knows you are a true daddy’s girl). I’ve always felt that you knew and loved it just as much as I did. It was our quiet way to connect in the middle of the crazy, and I’d simply say, “You’re my best girl.” You always leaned in for a hug. You loved those words. You loved hearing it. And, it was true. There is no better than you.

You always loved to sleep on the foot of our bed (spread eagle, with your belly in the air) … though at night you’d prefer your own bed and jump down if we were loving on you too much. You were never a snuggle bug. You needed plenty of personal space. But, sometimes, you’d look at us and we’d know – you wanted a story. You are the smartest. Seriously. It’s eerie at times. We’d just KNOW what you wanted to hear. You can speak so loudly in your silence. So, we’d tell you the story of how you came to be ours. How we picked you out of a picture of 5 or so golden pups. We’d tell how I had already chosen you and when I showed Daddy the photo, he pointed at the same little puppy. You! We’d tell how, later, we’d show Gram that same photo and she’s say, “I think any of them are cute except that one…her eyes are too far apart.” That “one” was you and we still laugh about that 9 years later.

IMG_3345You are a chewer of sticks. You love them. You eat them. I never understood how. You love toys. You play with your Daddy all the time, because he’s more playful, more rough-and-tumble and willing to chase you all around the house. The two of you have plenty of your own games and I love hearing you outside, playing with your tennis balls (the orange ones or the larger squeaky ones are your favorite). But, every evening after dinner, without fail, while I was standing at the sink washing dishes and cleaning up, you’d bring a squeaky toy to me and push it into my legs over and over … “Play with me. Play with me. Play with me.” And, I’d stop and chase you. You love, love presents too. You unwrap them all by yourself, all excited and bouncing around. You love a good bone and always wait while we unpack the groceries to see if there is one in the bag for you. You love ice cream and puppuccinos and really … most any “people food.” You want scrambled eggs for breakfast on the weekend, just like the rest of us.

IMG_4802You love, love, love your walks with us. Especially when you are off-leash (which is most of the time) and free to run ahead. You run a little ways and then you stop to check on us. You make sure we’re still there. You’d never leave us behind. We wave you on and laugh at the way you run. You are a happy runner, but not exactly a graceful or super fast one. Your back leg kicks out to the side and we’ve smiled and giggled about it countless times. You’re more of a herd dog than a retriever. We’ve always thought so. For one thing, you’re kinda lousy at retrieving. You run (or swim) for your ball or a stick, but you rarely bring it back. You herd really well … circling around us … making sure your family sticks close together. What an honor. To be part of your herd.

IMG_1675Swimming is by far your favorite thing in life. The lake is your happy place. If you could do anything, that’s what you’d pick. And, you have your favorite spots. On any given walk, you’ll head in the direction of the lake as quickly as possible. You’ll stop and point. Showing us where you want to go. It fills you up and leaves you content and happy. Happy enough to nap for the rest of the day after a good swim. I’ll always picture you there … swimming in the lake. Or, riding beside me in the car with your head happily out the window … IMG_2282

You have filled our lives with so much love and joy and laughter. You’ve imprinted on our hearts in the most beautiful way. We will love you and miss you as long as we live. Until the day we meet again and you come running, wagging your whole body with joy to see us, crying your sweet “welcome home” cry and jumping straight into your daddies arms…”

 

In memory of Harper Jane Blair ~ 5/13/09 – 6/8/18

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Harper Jane ~ a.k.a Harpie, Harper Lou, Harper Lee, Harper Barker, Harpie Barkie, Harper Barkerson, Harperson Barkerson, Barker Jane, Harper Bear, Harper Bear Blair, Janie Bane, Harper Janer Bane, Doodlebug, Wolfie, Louie, Lou Lou Girl, Golden Girl, Harperson Happy Butt, Happy Day Harper Dog and many more silly names that we’ve lovingly called you over the years.

(Photo Credit for the 1st and last photo and the one of Ryan and I with Harper goes to Shannon Haynie Photography.)

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A House is a House is a Home

I meant to post this on the one year anniversary of us moving into our new house. But, that was December 20th. And, we all know how that story goes. It’s a magical and wonderful and exhausting time of the year. I love the Christmas season. I do. But, it can be A LOT. And, so, I love a fresh New Year too. But, that fresh, first week into the new year brought a two hour school delay for my littles, followed by a two hour early release, followed by two snow days, followed by a nasty sinus infection, followed by more snow days. So, yeah, that all sounds about right … And, here we are … on a random day toward the end of January that holds no significance. But. That’s okay. Because that’s usually just exactly when you catch yourself flooded for some strange reason, by memories, that slam into you like a heavy weight. If you’re like me, they leave you teary and uncertain about how on earth time slipped away so quickly … just before you really had the chance to be as fully present as you meant to be …
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When we moved out of our first home, I needed to give it a proper goodbye. My way. Now, if you know me really well OR if you’ve ever been an ex-boyfriend of mine (which none of you have … Bless) then you already know … a “proper goodbye” means a good old-fashioned letter. I’m probably the only one snickering over this. Okkaay. Moving on …
My Proper Goodbye —
It’s hard, sometimes, to say goodbye to a house. Especially one that grew close to your heart in ways you never knew a house could …
This little house – it felt so big to us when we first moved in. We were fresh out of an apartment in Nashville. Married only 7 months. Just the two of us. So excited and proud of ourselves. Whole entire rooms sat empty for months (years). I can hardly imagine it now. But, we didn’t come with a lot of stuff. It hadn’t accumulated at that point. And, we certainly didn’t have the money to actually buy new furniture. But, I don’t remember that even being a thing. We were just so happy that we bought our first house! We made it feel like home. Though, I, for real life, cannot, no matter how hard I try, figure out what on earth we did with our time. Can’t. Remember.
A year-ish or so later, we brought a Harper Jane puppy home. And, a year-ish or so after that, we brought our baby boy N home. And, three years after that, our sweet girl A. And, the stuff accumulated rapidly. The space shrunk in the same way that our hearts grew … all full … in the best ways.
The carpet in the nursery has my footprints embedded in it from hours upon hours of pacing with a sleepless baby N. I’d bop and sway him around that room in agony – desperate for him to sleep. Now that matted carpet just reminds me of my precious baby. Desperate nights led to sweet memories.
A few years later, I’d tuck a sleepy A in that very same crib, in that very same room and wish that she actually would LET me rock her …  just for a little while.
The back yard – where puppy Harper kept tearing up Ryan’s newly planted grass. I still laugh when I picture her pulling up a corner of a specific square of sod and making him chase her to get it back! Where I (at 7 months pregnant), broke my toe kicking a ball for Harper. Where our babies played for hours and hours and hours. Baby pools, water tables, sand boxes, bubbles, s’mores. Where we created our own little haven. A refuge. A place that was all ours. Where N and I watched clouds and had picnics. Where 2 year old N road his red tricycle round and round the patio for hours on end and pushed his plastic lawnmower around the yard. Where Ryan and I would sit by the fire pit and talk and dream and plan and hope and pray. Where, whenever things were getting hard – when we started to feel like zombie ships passing babies back and forth in the wee hours of the night – we would meet and share and reconnect.
Where 3 year old N climbed and jumped over our 6 foot fence leaving his momma (who thought he’d been kidnapped, naturally, because what 3 year old does that) a panicked mess. Where 2 year old A spent hours sliding, “tumble-saulting”, dancing and playing “mommy” in her play house. My heart actually aches picturing those babes, covered in chalk, running around in their underwear in that lovely yard where we watched the seasons change…
The dining room – where Ryan and I learned how to have a date night IN … especially on Valentines and certain anniversaries when we didn’t want to pay for a sitter … or leave our babies. Where we blew out countless candles, held kids birthday parties, celebrated holidays, and “Friends-givings”.
The Kitchen – oh that kitchen! There’s a reason that people love their kitchens and spend hours designing and decorating them in their minds. It’s because it’s true what they say – the kitchen IS the heart of the home. In our kitchen, in that house … it was where the first spoonfuls of baby food were lovingly, exhaustingly prepared and airplaned in to little mouths. Where first bites of first birthday cakes were tasted. Where the best dance parties took place. Where real life happened.  The breakfast, lunch and dinner … the cleaning up after the breakfast, lunch and dinner. The witching hour … when the crying felt like it would never stop … always in time for dinner. Those weren’t my best “dinner years”. Oh, but they were the years when N and I discovered our love for baking  cookies together. We let A in on it too, after a while . And, they were the years when all the crafts happened. Where N would say, “let’s do a project, Mommy” and so we would … create, draw, make, build.
The Living Room – If we “lived” in the kitchen, then we lounged in the living room. Where N and I watched all the episodes of Curious George there ever were. And, Rio and Despicable Me on repeat. Where Ryan scratched up the ceiling the year he went all Griswold and brought in a tree too big for our yard … “It’s not going in our yard, Russ…” All the lovely Christmases.
Where we built lots of Legos and lots of blanket forts. Where we’d snuggle and nap and rest.
The hallways and bedroom floors in that home were for drying off and lotioning up babies after bath. They were for jammie time and singing nursery rhymes … and running wild …right before getting ones jammies on, naturally.
The kid’s bedrooms – where all the bedtime routines took place. Where the books were read. The stories were told, the songs were sung, the prayers were prayed, the butterfly/Eskimo kisses were passed out. Where we snuggle-buggled and talked about all the things … especially about how we’d love each other to the moon.
Even the landing on stairs of that house has its own special memories. That’s where all the best “fun joes” happened. If you don’t what at “fun joe” is, ask N. He’s the inventor and the only one who truly understands just what a “fun joe” is. Hint: it involves ALL (and I mean ALL) the stuffed animals. “Fun joes” were also allowed in the master closet with flashlights for extra fun-joe-fun. Though, I must admit, while pregnant with A, those “fun joes” became “naptime” for a tired momma. Sleep when you can – new mommas – and where you can.
The landing was also for Christmas morning. All the “first” Christmas mornings – right there in that house.
The Garage – Where N learned to love building with his daddy and painting with me. And, where A learned to love to run out and dance in the rain.
That house meant a lot to me. We became a family there. We grew and prayed and learned and struggled and trusted and hoped and prayed more. We grew stronger in our relationships with our Lord. We taught our children that same love and faith.
Now, it’s been well over a year since we packed up and moved out. We said our goodbyes. It was sad. But, it was a good sad. And, now, if I drive by, I’m okay. All those memories. They were ours to bring with us. Maybe the house kept some of it’s own (I like to think that it did), but we packed ours and brought them along with us. They were never meant to be left behind.
With that house and with our new house, I had a big faith that our prayers were heard and answered. I know they were. We prayed our way through that whole selling, moving and building process. We prayed through each step, holding hands and doing it together. And, so, when it was time to walk away from that sweet, special first home of ours – we did so with a confidence that the Lord had us. He HAD us. He has us.
We were moving forward with His blessing.
We were ready for our new house. Our new HOME.  We knew we’d fill it with beautiful memories as well … and oh, how we are! They aren’t the same. They won’t be. They can’t be. These new walls won’t echo with the cries and giggles of our babies, but they’ll hold the laughter of our children as they grow. I am full of hope and happiness moving forward … We’ll keep holding hands and praying our way …

To My Boy, On His 7th Birthday 

My sweet boy,

I know I say it every year. But, you are growing up. Things are changing for us and in us, and my boy, you are a big kid now. It’ll always be hard (maybe impossible even) for you to understand … the way the changes in you effect my heart. I know it’s natural for you to pull away. I know it’s normal for you to drop my hand when you think others are watching. I know big guys might turn away from their momma’s kisses every now and then. I know. I just didn’t think it would happen to us … not yet … not so soon. My poor momma heart can’t handle it. You are my N bug. My first baby. We were always connected in a special way. The thought of that bond being severed in any way is just more than I can take. 

You are the one who has and is teaching me so much about life and love. And I know I’m making this birthday letter all about me and my poor, raw feelings right now, but oh my love, you are my heart. My biggest life lesson right now is mostly about allowing my heart to stretch and let you go a little bit more and a little bit more. You’re SEVEN! You’re in 1st Grade now. You are learning what spreading your wings might look like. What it might feel like. I shouldn’t be so surprised.

My boy, you amaze me in most all the ways. You are smart. You are funny. You are kind and caring. You are witty. You repeat quotes in movies, while the movie is STILL playing … just like your daddy. You are creative. You are silly. You are quiet. You are observant. You are tender. You are loyal. You are logical. You are strong.


When I close my eyes and try to freeze you right here and now, at 7, I see you —-

Climbing. Trees. Walls. Light posts. Anything. Always climbing.

Riding your bike. Fast and confident and sure. Always riding that bike.

Playing. Playing Beyblades or trading Pokémon cards.  

Collecting. All the junky toys. All the time.

Building. Legos, creations, forts, etc.

Snuggling. Under “brown blankie” or your “monkey mat”.

Swimming. Around the pool with your snorkel on.

Doing cannonballs into the pool or crazy moves down the slide.

Soccer. It’s your sport.

Buzz cut. Your current ‘do.

Thinking. That mind of yours is always going. Always thinking. Always planning.

Reading. We still love to read together. Our books have evolved over the years. I’m holding on to that. 

Being. I love to just BE with you. 

So, while I miss (sometimes almost wildly and unreasonably) the way we used to snuggle under a blanket and watch Curious George together for hours on end … all tangled up together, I do cherish and adore our relationship now … just as much. I love our conversations and how we talk. I love the little man that you are. I love our “dates”. I love how your mind works. Always thinking, inventing, listening. I love you. All of you. Every stage of you. Every year of you. To the moon. For all time. 

Happiest “Golden” Birthday! #sevenontheseventh

Love, Your Momma

To My Girl, On Her 4th Birthday

To my sweetest, A, on her 4th birthday —

Oh, Little Miss, it’s been quite a year. 3 was not easy. One day, maybe you’ll find out and you’ll understand. Maybe when you’re a momma, just like you want to be (“I want to be a Mommy when I grow up”), you will struggle through “3” with your own littles. And, I will be there, God willing, to help you through it… and to laugh a little bit along the way.

At 3, you tested me in every way imaginable. 3 was hard. For both of us. In a lot of ways and for a lot of different reasons. But, we learned and we grew and we cried and we yelled and we prayed and “we” read parenting books and we tried and tried again … and we made it to the other side. We did it! We did it together, my girl!

Now, we’re at 4 and oh, how I’ve prayed for a better year for us. We are close, you and I. We spend most of our time together, happily so. School (preschool) is not your favorite thing … it never has been. And, so you go … reluctantly … but you’d rather be home. You are my little homebody. You love our “outings”, but you’re always ready to go home. “Can we go home now, Momma?” You want home. You crave home. Familiar. Comfortable. Happy. Safe. Secure. Fun. Warm. I’m so glad that these are the things that HOME means to you. My heart beats stronger knowing that I’ve created a happy refuge for you. Oh, my girl. You love to just BE. You want freedom and peace and rest and quiet. You sit and play with your toys for long quiet hours and it’s in your play where I learn and listen and hear the most of who you are and how you see your own world. Though you often catch me watching and say, “Don’t look at me!” … I have to listen. It’s where I find the details of your day and your life … listening as you play and talk with your toys, your “girls”.

At 4, you are full of “I love you’s” and kisses and loooonnnng goodbyes. At 4, you are still fiery and bossy, but calmer and easier to settle. At 4, you are loving and sweet, but still demanding and easy to anger. You love BIG my girl. You already cry hard and loud when your heart is hurting. You feel BIG feelings. You are tender and harsh, all at the same time. You expect a lot, but you give great love in return. You are a wonderful mess most of the time! Your daddy and I have great fun imagining who you’ll be someday …

My “snapshot” of you right now, at 4 …

Twirling and dancing in the kitchen, in the backyard, on the sidewalk.

Singing loudly (to your brothers dismay) in the car … everywhere we go.

Making up your own tunes, your own words, your own grand stories.

Dresses and tutus and frilly skirts and princess gear.

Messy hair and messy hands.

Running with a soccer ball like a natural little athlete.

Cute and disheveled … all at the same time.

Ballerina class.

Bossy and demanding. Trying to “rule the world”.

Getting lectures about being kind and nice and showing others grace.

Listening to Zac Brown Band’s “Homegrown” and knowing all the words.

Saying, “you’re my baby girl, Momma” and “we’re best friends forever” and “never leave me, Momma, I want you to be my baby forever and ever…”

Laughing hard and loud when something is funny to you.

Asking for a snack. And, another snack. And, more milk.

Ranch and carrots.

Playdoe and markers.

Did I mention the messy hair already?! Ha ha ha!

Sweet bedtimes and “Will you sleep with me for a few minutes, Mommy?”

Asking for your daddy in the morning … you want him to sing his special morning song to you before you get out of the bed, each and every day.

Heartbreak over saying goodbye to your beloved paci.

Bunny and Blankie — your best friends forever.

Wearing your Cubbie vest to Awana and proudly learning your Bible verses.

All the pink. All the time.

Playing with your neighborhood friends … just like a big girl.

Kissing boo-boos and needing lots of band-aids for imaginary scrapes.

Holding hands and holding hearts.

Oh, my sweetness. If I could keep you little, I would. I’d keep you soft and squishy. I’d keep you all to myself. I’d keep you home, away from the world. I’d keep you as safe as I possibly could manage. I’d keep you. I’d keep you just the way you are … the good, the hard, the messy, the imperfect, the beautiful, the funny. I’d keep you, always. But, grow and go you must. It’s just the way, my love. But, I’ll be here … my heart is yours to keep … always, always. No number of birthdays will ever take that from us.

Happiest 4th Birthday, Baby Girl!

Love Always, Your Momma

Let Me Not Forget

Watching you by the water, my heart contIMG_0346racts and I feel a deep longing for something I cannot explain. The waves, their steady ebb and flow, fill me with a hopeful nostalgia and a desperate, almost wild, desire to freeze time.
“Stay little…”
My whisper is lost in the wind, never reaching your ears. Already gone. Sinking and disappearing into the sand of time.
I feel full of joy … and despair. You. My heart. Never mine to keep forever.
I watch you squeal with delight and run away in feigned fear as the water reaches your little toes.
“Oh, you are lovely…”
You glisten brighter than the sun, my child.
I watch you in wonder. Happiness floods my soul at the sight of your pure joy. Followed by a searing pain. The sheer weight of it all crushes down on me.
“I won’t remember this…”
The contradiction of emotions brings tears to my eyes as I laugh at your play.
Days upon weeks upon months upon years. Time is the thief of memory.
I force myself back to the present.
“Be in the moment…”
But. First. I try, with all my prayers and might, to capture it. To store it in my heart.
Let me not forget, dear little one, the feel of your little hand in mine…the way you reach for me, so sure that I’ll be there to hold you, to steady you, to be your safe place, your great comfort.
Let me not forget the sweet way you whisper “I love you” … your sureness in our love, your deep confidence in me.
Let me not forget the way you look running toward me, your curls bouncing, your eyes sparkling. You want to be near me. Always.
Let me not forget your kisses. So many. All the time. The overwhelming amount of kisses that you feel the need to give. It’s almost humorous, often annoying, but sweet and sincere nonetheless.
Let me not forget your urgent goodbyes when we part, full of hugs and love and a bit of unease. “I love you and I miss you and I can’t wait to kiss you.” Your goodbyes take time and reassurance, but I love them.
“I love you…”
Let me not forget your songs. All the songs that you sing. Your own versions and words. Melodies sung in the sweetest little voice. Carefree and confident.
Let me not forget how you play. The stories I learn by listening to you talk to “your girls.” The way you tenderly play mommy to your babies. The way you get lost in front of your dollhouse. A whole world of your own.
“I remember…” A faded memory, stored in the back of my heart…my own similar play from long ago…
Oh, sweet child. If I could just remember all of it. All of you. For all time. Let me not forget.

To My Boy, on His 6th Birthday

To my dear, N —

It’s weird for me, even to write it…six. Six. Six seems too big, too grown up, like such a KID. I still picture you as my little. I still see myself as a momma of toddlers. But, you aren’t a toddler. You aren’t a baby. You are a kid. And, I’m a big softie. I’m sentimental and I’m emotional. You’ll always be ‘My Baby’, even if you aren’t one anymore. I will always grieve the passing of time. The passing of each stage. The passing of your littleness. My heart will always break as I have to let go of you a little more and a little more… Time will never change that. Letting you go will never get easier.
This was a big year for us. This year you started kindergarten. This year you took your first really big steps away from me and toward independence. It was hard. It was hard or both of us. We are close. You are my best. We don’t like to be away from each other. And, yet, it was time. You were ready. And, you do love kindergarten. And, I’m glad. And, I’m sad. And, I miss you.

At 6, you are… Funny. Witty. Sharp. Quick. You “get” things all of the sudden and we are now able to share a joke and laugh together in a new way. You are tender. You want to please and your feelings get hurt easily if you think you’ve done something wrong. You are caring and kind. You are forgiving and sweet. You are so logical and literal. It makes you crazy that your sister lives in an imaginary world where her own rules apply. You can’t wrap your mind around that. To you, things are or they aren’t, so when she’s deep in “pretend” you often feel that she’s lying or she’s wrong. Still, you love that little girl. She’s your sister and I love that the two of you are currently best friends. You are cautious. You are never the first to jump in and do something. You stand back, watch and observe. You are shy, yet not insecure. You are quiet, yet once you let your guard down, you are no longer quiet. You are just like me in that way. You are fun. You are a good friend.

You are learning about comfort zones and what it means to step out of them. You are putting on a brace face. You are starting to understand prayer in a bigger way and you are now grasping that you aren’t alone in this world and what relying on God looks like to you. You are smart and creative. You are a problem solver. You are gorgeous, outside and in. You love projects and crafts and drawing and thinking. You are curious. You love books. You love life. You are a beautiful soul. Your character is strong. You seem to grasp goodness and understand that you need to walk toward it. Stay good. Oh, sweet boy, stay true to who you are right now. You’re amazing. To me, you are soo, so much. And, I wish you the happiest sixth birthday.

Love Always, your mommy

To My Girl, On Her 3rd Birthday

Dear A,

My girl. It’s your birthday. You are three. I can hardly believe it, and yet at the same time I can hardly remember what life was like before you. Isn’t it funny, how it works like that? There are days when I honestly can’t picture us before you. Your personality is big. Your presence is not easily overlooked. It’s hard to imagine our home without you in it. You were a sweet, easy, sleepy, happy baby. At 3, you are a little tougher. These days you aren’t always sure what you want but you ARE always sure what you don’t want. In fact, “don’t” is one of your favorite words right now. “Don’t look at me. Don’t touch me. Don’t look like that with your face.” It’s almost comical, but “don’t laugh” and definitely “don’t talk.” You ask a lot of us. You definitely want to be in charge. But, despite your naturally bossy nature and your general dislike of all the things, your tender heart shines through. You love your people and you always make sure we know it. You have my heart. You always will.

ellebeeballoons

At 3, you love to play. You love “your girls” (your Dora and Sofia toys) and make them talk and sing. You can play quietly for hours. You love Dottie Baby and Betty Baby and you are a good little mommy to them. Bunny and Blankie are still your favorite life comforts. You love to sing and twirl! You LOVE dresses and never want to wear anything that isn’t a dress. “I pick out a pretty dress today, Mommy” you say. And, then you do … you pick out a dress, promptly twirl around the room and then run off to say, “look at me, Daddy.”

From you I’ve learned that things aren’t so complicated. That things are more straightforward. That we don’t have to make things harder than they actually are. That “poopy does hurt and poopy does stink.” Lol. Your words, little girl, your words. You are bright and loving and witty and cute. Your sense of humor is sharp and quick. Your hugs are hard and full of love. You are demanding and bossy and sensitive and silly. Your smile can light up a room … and a heart. If you are having a bad day, you want to make sure that everyone else is to. You are slow to warm up to new people, but loyal and kind to those you call, “my friends.” You are super girly, but never afraid to play rough. You like soccer. You like running. You are sweaty. You are fun. You don’t like boys. You don’t like anything that looks like it might be “too boy.” My girl. You are so, so many things. If I could bottle you up, I would. I love our days together. Just me and you. We quietly pass the time or we go out and about in the world. Either way, I love having you right with me. You are my sidekick and I hope this sweet time with you passes slowly. I’m not ready to let you go. I’m not ready to watch you grow too big, too soon. You are our wildflower. Once you taste freedom, I have the suspicion that you’ll only want more of it. So, for now, stay little. Hold my hand a little longer. Enjoy age 3, with me tagging along.

Baby girl, I wrote the poem below a couple of years ago. It was shortly after you took your very first steps. On your birthday, sweet love, I wanted to share it again. I want you to know and to always remember that you’ll always be enough for me. Just the way you are… you are enough.

One day, when the light falls and the darkness sets in,

You may wonder if you are enough.

You are.

You are always enough.

When kids are mean and the world seems hard,

You may wonder if you are enough.

You are.

You are always enough.

When you doubt yourself, when you doubt your truth,

You may wonder if you are enough.

You are.

You are always enough.

When a boy breaks your heart,

You may wonder why you weren’t enough for him to love.

You were. You are.

You are always enough.

When you feel lonely and don’t quite fit in,

You may wonder if you are enough.

You are.

You are always enough.

When things just aren’t quite right,

When you don’t feel pretty enough or tall enough or smart enough,

Even when you feel let down by life,

Remember that you are enough.

You are loved. You are adored.

I whisper it into the wind,

So that one day it may find you,

My love will always find you.

The beauty inside you,

Radiates from you,

You are SO much.

You are always, always enough.

Love, Your Momma