My dear girl,
Yesterday morning, I sat on your bed to wake you up for school. As always, you resisted being woken. And instead of rushing forward with the gentle shaking and rousing that needed to happen, I sat there for a minute. I looked at your sweet, angel face. You had tucked both of your hands underneath your cheek. Your eyes were closed and your face relaxed in sleep.
And in that moment, I saw you. My baby. I saw the same face that I first gazed upon on this day three years ago. Eyes closed, face relaxed, sleep. I know that face so well. It’s tiny features are imprinted on my heart forever.
And for a moment, I slipped back to those days. Those first days of your life when you were so new to this world and I felt so new as your mom. For a moment, I stared at your face and felt as though nothing had changed. The same big eyes, the same round cheeks. The same look of sleep on tiny features.
But as I rested my hand on your shoulder, preparing to finally bring you into the day, the image faded. So much has changed. You are a ‘big girl’ now. With big girl arms and legs that can no longer be swaddled with a small blanket but stretch long underneath your covers. With hair that tumbles around you in soft, dark curls as you rest. With words and thoughts and opinions. With fears and anxieties.
This third year of your life has been filled with change. New home, new school, new baby brother on the way. And these days you fill me with awe and amazement as you work through these big events. There is so much maturity and calm in your approach. But so much emotion and passion too. At just three years old, you are so self aware and perceptive. Your daddy and I feel so much joy as we watch you blossom.
My girl, I am proud to be your mommy and proud to call you my friend. You are creative; you spend hours with a paint brush in your hand and make gifts for friends and families that bring tears of happiness. You have a way of mothering your dolls and lovies, and us that inspires me daily. Some say that you learned that from me but, my girl, I promise you that I am learning more from you. Don’t ever stray from your nurturing ways. You have a gift.
These days jigsaw puzzles and board games keep us busy as a family. And when we are circled around our table in the living room, fitting cardboard pieces together or moving tiny, plastic pieces around a colorful game board, those are the moments when I don’t mourn the days gone by. Those are the moments when I rejoice in your three-year-old-ness. Because those are the moments I looked forward to spending with a family of my own. Every day, you are fulfilling dreams of mine.
This past weekend, we invited dozens of friends and family to celebrate you with us. And, my girl, they came with bells on, all eager to be part of this time. Because, though you are quiet and not the kind of kid to run full force into new situations, you engage the world with your smile and your bubbly personality. You care about your friends and family with all of your heart. And even when you have little to say, your heart speaks loud and clear.
Happy Birthday, my ‘big girl.’ My three-year-old, ballerina, artist, nurturer. You know what? I love you.