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

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