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.

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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

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To My N, On His 4th Birthday

I have caught myself wistfully gazing at N on and off over the past few weeks …. And, yes, occasionally with tears in my eyes. I just can’t believe he’s 4. I just can’t grasp it. He’s my baby. Yet, he’s not a baby at all. He’s not even a toddler. He’s a kid. I have a kid. A kid who celebrated his 4th birthday with a Curious George party and 5 of his closest friends. A kid who is seriously as sweet as pie. A kid who stole his momma’s heart long ago. A kid who is full of surprises. A kid whose momma writes him birthday letters…

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To my Favorite Boy,

It’s your 4th birthday and there are things that I’d like to share with you. Things that one day, maybe you won’t remember. Things about your life right now, as you turn 4. Things your momma tells you now, but they just might matter more to you later.

First: You should know how positively crazy your daddy and I are about you. Yeah, I know we may act like you drive us crazy sometimes … and you do … which you should also know if perfectly normal and typical and we wouldn’t have it any other way. But, despite that, we adore you. We marvel at you. We are impressed by you. You are growing up and growing into yourself. God gave us YOU! And, we couldn’t be more thrilled. We see you. We like you. We love you.

Second: You are so sweet to me. You love me so much. I’ll always be grateful for your love. It’s the most special thing in my life. I never even knew, or imagined that a love like yours existed. You say you want to marry me. You say you love me to the moon. You say you’ll love me forever and ever. You say that you love me more than anyone else in the world. You melt me. My tears flow freely because my heart can’t hold all of the love you give me. Your love makes me strong. Your love makes me better. One day it won’t be like this. One day you’ll discover other interests or sports or friends or (gasp) other girls. One day I won’t be your whole world. Until then, I will CHERISH being your favorite – being the one you adore. I cherish it.

Third: You are seriously good at being a big brother. Maybe you don’t love to share. Who does? Maybe you get upset when A drools on your toys. Who wouldn’t? But, you sing to her in the cry when she’s upset. You sing, “Every little thing is gonna be okay.” You sing it over and over and over, in your sweet, magical voice. And, it works. It works almost every time. She stops crying, your little sister, and she watches you and listens to you. You soothe her.

Fourth: You still love George. He’s your guy. For an entire year, your stuffed Curious George has gone everywhere with us. And, I mean EVERYWHERE. He never stays behind. At first, he was your security. He helped you be brave when you felt shy, insecure, scared and worried. You needed him and he was there. Now, though, I see a shift. You don’t need George in the same way. You are becoming braver all on your on. You are changing. George is still there. He still goes everywhere with us, but it feels more like a habit. Part of your routine. The way things are done. I don’t think he’s your security anymore. I don’t think you need him. I think you’ve got this. You got this, my boy!

Fifth: You have a mind of your own. I’m not sure I need to say more. You pick out your “comfy” clothes each morning and you prefer matching … as in, orange on orange or head-to-toe green. You like things a certain way. You are Mr. Particular. Your imagination is really taking of now. I love watching this new change in you. Now, you spend your days stuck in a parallel universe somewhere between “real” and “pretend.” It’s pretty fun to witness.

Sixth: I think 4 is gonna be an awesome year. It’s only been one month, but already I sense a difference in you. Okay, I don’t just sense it … it’s plain as day. You are actually listening to me, responding, doing what I ask without complaining. Leaving me to stare at you with my mouth open wondering if someone has snatched my 3-year-old non-listener. Oh yeah. Someone has. It’s this 4-year-old. Hi, 4-year-old Noah. You. Are. Awesome.

Seventh: You are my best friend and one of the very greatest loves of my life. I thank God for you daily. I love you beyond measure.

Happy Birthday Love!

Love Always,  Your Momma

To My A, on Her 1st Birthday

My sweet girl turned 1 a few weeks ago. I don’t think I’ve fully come to terms with it just yet. I’m just in awe of how quickly this year has gone and how much A has changed and grown. The first year is so FULL OF CHANGE. It’s amazing. And, she’s amazing. My sweet Little Miss Peachie. In honor of her first birthday, here’s my first letter to her …

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To my dear baby A,

We made it, Little Miss! It’s been a year! It’s an emotional day for me. I just can’t believe that you, my itty-bitty one, are 1 already. I’m not quite ready for you not to be my tiny baby anymore. I’m just not ready. You, sweet one, made the first year such a joy. From the moment you came into this world (full of fire), you were a happy, sleepy girl. You took it easy on me. Thank you for that! I just love you. I just LOVE you. From the very first second, I’ve loved you in the most fierce way. You are my girl. I still can’t believe it sometimes – that you are here with us, that you are ours. You’ve completed me in best way possible. I just don’t know if my heart can handle anymore! But, I hate how quickly I’m forgetting all of your baby-ness. It all goes by in a blur and, at times, it can be so hard to remember it all. I just want you to know that I loved your baby stage. It can be so hard, but with you, I truly enjoyed it. I wish I could keep a piece of you from each stage of your life, so that I could visit that part of you whenever I want. I’m already missing baby A, as toddler A has taken over. So, for today, here’s a written photograph of my lovely, beautiful, feisty girl … the piece of you for me to bottle and keep … just as you are in my mind right now.

At 1 you are …

  • Giggles. Full of giggles
  • Playing Peek a Boo
  • Playing chase & loving getting caught
  • Huge smiles
  • Fiery. What a temper!
  • My good sleeper. You love your bed.
  • A big eater. You love food!
  • Miss Independent. “Put me down and let me run.” You don’t want to be held. You won’t let me rock you.
  • Playing with toys
  • Loving on your “Betty Baby” doll
  • A giver of funny open mouth kisses
  • Full of big hugs and squeezes
  • Throwing kisses
  • Laughing at your Bubby N. He can make you happier than anyone else.
  • Screaming in the car. Man, you sure hate your car seat.
  • Squealing at Daddy. You adore your Da-Da!
  • Running toward me yelling, “MaMaMaMa”

Oh, my girl. Right now, at 1, I love listening to you babble and talk to your baby-doll. I love the way you scrunch up your nose when you smile … or when you are making a grumpy face. I love how excited you are to see me, and to see your daddy when he gets home from work. You know exactly how to turn it on and light us up! I love your determination. You refuse to be seen as a baby. In your mind, you are big girl and you are gonna do it yourself. I already admire your spirit and zest for life. You make us whole. You have our hearts.

I’ll love you until the end of all time.

— Your Momma