I confess, I didn’t want to sit down and write this tonight. I didn’t want to sit down and think about how, in just a few hours, you will be four. I don’t want to think about this race you are on to being a big girl, to doing things “all by myself” like making your bed and getting dressed and putting your and your sister’s dishes away (although I’m so proud and thankful for those things you can now do). Last night, without being told, you went downstairs to the basement and picked up your toys so it would be ready for your birthday party today. I was so surprised and proud that you thought to do that, and even more proud when I went downstairs and saw what a truly good job you had done putting “everything in its home.”
I have to write you though. Because I know that there was a time in my life where I thought four years were long. I thought high school would last forever and then college would last forever. But now I know, four years are so so so short. Pretty soon you will be able to read this letter all by yourself. That makes me want to cry, that makes me hopeful, that makes me so many things. I have to write because I want you to always know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that your Momma loves you so much her heart bursts with love and her eyes burst with tears thinking of it. I know that I get impatient with you and I lose my cool and I hate that. I want to be so tender and patient with you, and I also want to help you grow into a strong woman- confident in who God made you, in who your God is, and where your future is.
These four years are already jam packed full of so many wonderful tender funny sweet sweet memories. I think about those years when it was just you and me. I think of propping you up in the laundry basket next to the shower so I could keep an eye on you and actually shower when you were a baby. I think of our mornings on the porch at our apartment in Germany. I think of playing in our backyard at our rental house in Ankeny- you not wanting to put your feet in the grass or walking to the neighbor’s house to kiss their fake duck in their front yard (we never actually met those neighbors ha!). I think of playing “drive thru” with you in your playhouse. You make the best doughnuts and coffee. You love the zoo, mostly playing in the Jeep in front of the tiger exhibit, and on the playground where you now love to climb everything. At the local parks you are so proud that you can now do the fireman pole. I love that you are brave and want to keep trying new things (although admittedly it also freaks me out and I have to keep reminding myself to let you be adventurous).
I think of how this last year you pretty much decided you wanted to be potty trained. You told me you wanted to learn so we went for it. You had it down in two days, I truly believe because you just made your mind up. The two days we put so much focus on you and you totally thrived in that spotlight. Now you’re telling me you want to learn to read and I can’t wait to begin! I know you’re going to be so good at it!
I think of this last year, as you grew in your role as big sister. You are grappling with what it means to love someone by giving. It is so hard! You are so bright, so creative, so imaginative I wish that I could go inside your little mind because I just imagine it being full of color and stories. I told you the other day that I could see you someday writing children’s books because you have such a wonderful imagination. You love drama. You love emotions. Pretending to be exhilarated, devastated, scared, excited, you are always imagining some scenario and playing it out. I love listening to you play as you make up stories and play house. You still talk to your imaginary bird Kierda and I’m happy that she still has a place in our lives.
You have been saying the cutest things, like “regliar” and “pattren.” (Regular and pattern). When you spin to much you get “busy” (dizzy) and after your bath you laugh about being “maked.” As you outgrow some of your mispronunciations you learn new words and thankfully have new mispronunciations so that I can still enjoy your little girlness. You have your latest favorite princess, Elena of Avalor, and you now love “being brave” and sword fighting. You used to pretend to be locked into a cage in the castle and needing to be rescued, now you pretend to save the kingdom. You use your princess wands as swords and love to have sword fights with anyone willing to engage you. It has been so fascinating to see you grow and change and how your little mind keeps growing. You love singing and I love hearing you sing – “holy spirit you are welcome here” “never enough” (from The Greatest Showman) “shake it off”, you have quite the spectrum of music you love to sing, but still every single night ask to be sung “Jesus Loves Me.” You’ve also started a new question you love to ask at night- “Daddy/Mommy, will you tell me a story from when you were a little boy/girl?” You have gone through favorites of listening to Winnie the Pooh, Curious George, and your latest favorite, Madeline.
Yesterday you told me you were talking to God in your room and I hope that that is something you continue to do every day and year of your life.
You sometimes ask me to watch “The Property Brothers” or in the car you have been requesting listening to “Chalene” – the Chalene Johnson podcast that I like to listen to.
You still love wearing dresses so much that you would forego playing outside to stay in a dress and you love anything that sparkles.
You told me for your birthday you didn’t want any games at your party, you just wanted to eat and open presents. You also told me that for your birthday you wanted “a mermaid tail, a wand, and an Elena sword.”
At night when I read you books you love to cuddle with me and lay your head on my chest. Last night we both started sitting up but you asked me to move my arm and you snuggled right in and said “there, isn’t that better?”
Yes, it’s always better to be snuggled up to you. I dread the days when we won’t do that anymore on a regular basis.
I love you so very much my big four year old! I cherish you and I pray that God bless you with eyes to see and a heart that understands how amazingly loved you are by Him and by us.
We think you’re just the most creative, smart, funny, diva-licious four year old we know and we thank God for you daily!
Love, Love, Love