This letter (a.k.a "post") has been forming over the last few days. I have been thinking alot about what I'd want to say to you, and to be honest the words just haven't been able to come. I could barely manage the words for a Facebook status about your birthday on Monday. In fact, I'd post a status, delete it, and then type it again. I did that several times before one finally stuck, even though I still wasn't happy with it. I think my lack for words on Monday was because this letter was ever present in the front of my mind. I knew everything I wanted to say needed to be done here-in our own little corner of the world where I document our life: struggles and all for the world to see. Because you are the number one reason why I write. You are the foundation beneath my soapbox, my inspiration that helps me find the words, and every lesson I have ever learned and will learn about motherhood. You are my everything. So, this letter is for you. Happy birthday, baby girl.
On Monday, you celebrated your 4th birthday. FOUR. Four years old. It still hasn't sunk in to me. As I watched you talk to your Papa at the dinner table last night, I found myself thinking: "When did you get SO old?" Your vocabulary. Your actions. Your witty comebacks. Your silly sense of humor. I mean, wasn't it just yesterday I was wandering around the house by myself with a newborn you in my arms wondering what I was supposed to do next? I am amazed everyday by how smart you are! You can recognize your name and even write it when you put your mind to it. You LOVE school after you finally let go of my leg in the morning. You are becoming more and more
independent, and you've even started to want to do things by yourself like actually feed yourself, use a grown up fork, take your clothes off and put them in the hamper before bath time. Your independence excites me, but at the same time it makes me sad. Every time I hold you, I know it won't be that much longer until you've outgrown my lap, and that makes my heart ache. You love to play dress up, none of your stuffed animals ever feel unloved because you give them each plenty of attention, and you are very artistic. You love to color and paint, and you go through sheets and sheets of stickers. Every piece of your artwork is a masterpiece according to you, and I'm on the hunt for a box big enough to hold all of it. You are 100% girl, but you love to go to work with Daddy, or help him work on his bike. You aren't afraid to crawl under a truck with him and get dirty. I know he treasures those times with you, and I hope you don't outgrow helping him too fast. Diesel our puppy is your best friend. I think the two of you will always take care of each other. Your world revolves around your cousin, Noah who is and always will be your favorite playmate and protector. Mya is the sister I've failed to give you. I think you will always look up to her, and that the two of you will always have a special bond. I think you are learning, even at an early age, that your family will be some of the best friends you can ever ask for, because they will always love you and accept you just the way you are. Yes, this past year I saw you transform from toddler to little girl, and I'm excited to see where the next year takes us.
With that said, most of the memories from my own childhood start at four. While you already have an amazing memory and eye for detail, I like to think this is the year when you will actually start to have memories of your childhood. This year, I hope you'll remember fishing with Papa with your very first fishing pole that you got for your 4th birthday, going to the car shows with your Daddy that your Papa Jack loved so much, and the endless summer days we will spend at Grandma's swimming pool or down at the gas dock. I hope you remember the sleepovers with Mya and your favorite babysitter, Jordan, and sitting on the couch watching Noah play his iPod or coercing him to share his cars.
I also hope you remember these last few days of school, because after this year, you will probably never get to play with Noah at school again. Next fall, he's moving on to 1st grade at the great big public school, and you're headed for K4 at another smaller, private school. The kids will never again holler for Noah in the morning to let him know you've arrived, and the two of you will no longer take on recess all by yourselves. Times are changing, and I hope you always remember your first year of school with Noah by your side.
I hope you remember curling up with Grandma Kelly as she read you books, and lunch dates with Grandma Joyce and Ron at Panera Bread. I hope you remember sleeping over at Grammie and Papa's, and helping Papa feed the cows. I hope you remember Sunday lunch at Grandma Amy's, and the way Papa Dana tickles you. I hope you remember all of this and more. Because the memories you make this year will be the foundation of many memories to come, and we can't wait to help you make them.
Emma, you are truly one blessed little girl. You are surrounded by people who love you, and who are here to help you learn and grow-people who are amazingly strong in their faith, and I hope you pick up on their love for God, and in turn, you are made aware of His deep love for you. You are a blessing to this family. You are my sunshine. My anchor. The only reason I choose to get out of bed some mornings. I feel so grateful for every day I get to hear you call me, "Mom", and even on the days when I feel like all I'm doing is failing, I look at you and know I'm doing something right. Because you are so smart, and so sweet, and so silly. And it warms my heart to know that you are happy, healthy, and loving every minute of being a kid. I know in my heart that you may be the only good I ever put out into this world, and I'm okay with that. Because you will always be the best of me, and I hope and pray you stay that way.
I am looking forward to four and I hope you are too. I'm not sure what the next year has in store for us, but I promise you, we will do it together. God gave me you for this roller coaster called life and I will forever be grateful to Him for entrusting you to us.
Happy birthday, sugar. I love you with my whole heart.