Today is your birthday. It’s hard for me to believe that it’s been four years since we met … I remember your birth so vividly! There were two doctors in the room with us. Your dad had his head by mine – I could hear him praying in my ear. He glanced up seconds later and the room was filled with more than a dozen people - all of them prepared for your birth to be as crazy-difficult-traumatic as your brother’s. But with three pushes you were here – no drama, no life-saving techniques or machines needed. You were placed on my chest, I kissed your red, splotchy face, and my heart was full.
You’ve changed a lot in the past four years. Obviously, you can walk and talk and feed yourself, and you go to the bathroom on the toilet most of the time. This past year, though, in particular, you’ve become fiercely independent: You want to do everything by yourself, from pouring your breakfast cereal to brushing your hair to zipping up your winter jacket. You’ve gone from following your brother’s every move, obeying his every beck and call, to telling him no every now and then. Sometimes you take charge when you play together, building forts and obstacle courses and tents for your toys. While I miss the days you called balls “gollys” and dogs “gogs”, I’m glad you’re becoming your own person!
Because I think you’re pretty amazing. Even at the age of four, I can see great things in you!
You’re kind and compassionate. You love others – “I love everybody in the whole world!” you frequently tell me. I was so proud of you earlier this year when you noticed one little girl in your class who didn’t have any friends. She’s so shy that she doesn’t even speak to your teachers, she only smiles. But you made it your goal to become her friend – drawing pictures to give her, sharing your toys, inviting her to sit with you - and now you’re best friends! She scrambles over the other kids to sit next to you at rug time and even though I have yet to hear her voice, she always makes sure you see her wave good-bye at the end of the day.
You’re persistent. You don’t give up. I’ve seen you stand at the parallel bar for ten minutes before your coach is able to help you – and you keep trying, over and over and over again, to pull your feet up between your hands into a tuck position. And when you finally do it, your grin covers your entire face!
You’re organized. Sometimes to an extreme– you line up all 47 of your ”pups” at least six times a day, then move them all over the house – in order! – and eventually back to your room, where you put them to bed for the night. We’ve learned to start your bedtime routine 45 minutes earlier than your brother’s just so your pups can be tucked in in time!
You love to be the center of attention. You’re always saying “Look at me, Mommy! Look at this trick!” Sometimes it’s a gymnastics trick – a somersault or a dog tail or a stork stand. Sometimes it’s slurping up half a cup of juice with one pull on your curvy straw. Whatever it is, you’re always so proud of yourself!
You also love to make people smile. When someone is sad or hurt or sick, you’re the first to rush in, arms open, ready to offer a comforting hug. When I’m not feeling well you bring me books, hug me and kiss me, and crawl under the covers to keep me company.
You’re helpful. You’re always under my feet when I’m doing chores around the house. “What can I do Mommy? Can I help? What’s my chore?” And (unlike your brother!) you never, ever ask for payment!
You’re an artist. You can spend hours sitting at the kitchen table with a pile of white paper and crayons, drawing cats, dogs, dinosaurs, spiders, suns, and your latest favourite: traffic lights.
I hope you don’t outgrow any of these things as you get older.
I hope you don’t forget about them.
I hope I don’t forget about them!
It’s my job as your mother to love you, to nurture you, to support you – to help you develop roots, but eventually watch you take wing and fly.
That thought terrifies me!
I pray for you every day, sweet girl. I always have and I always will.
You’re growing up in a very different world – in a very different time! – than I did.
I pray for you to be strong.
I pray for you to be courageous.
I pray for you to be kind and compassionate, and to love others.
I pray for you to have a servant’s heart.
I pray for you to stay creative, and to pursue your passions.
But above all, I pray that God, “from his glorious, unlimited resources … will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” (Ephesians 3:16-19 – NLT)
I love you Elliebelle!