Thursday, March 20, 2014

Today, You are Four.

My darling girl, today you are four. Somewhere between sleeping and waking, the hour struck, and you became a whole year older. I know you expected something more magical upon awaking; the first words out of your mouth were ¨It is my birthday? Am I still talking the same? Am I still living in my very own pajamas?¨ and then you gave yourself a groggy inspection to make sure you were still you.

Leilani, my heart is so full today. Four years ago, at this moment, I had just surrendered your little self to the nurse, and was watching your daddy wheel your little hospital bed away, off to your first bath and checkup. You were so tiny. I was so bewildered and felt wholly unprepared to be your Mama. Four years later, I am still learning. As you have grown up, thank you for being so patient with me. Thank you for loving me as I have grown up too.

At three, I could still see the baby in you. But a year later, at four, I catch instead, glimpses of the little lady you will become. The infant is gone forever, and I admit, my heart is wistful as I look back. I hear ¨They grow up so fast¨ frequently, and my heart feels heavy with the weight of it sometimes. I have come to love these little years with you, Leilani. I love the feeling of your small hand in mine, of your tiny, wispy frame snuggled up close at bedtime. You hold so much Big in your little heart. Your sweet voice warbles like a little bird's, as you chatter happily away. You have a capable vocabulary, and I am always impressed with your ability to communicate the things on your mind.

I am so amazed by you Leilani, by your intensity, your enthusiasm, your creativity and depth of thinking. I have watched you become so aware this year. Aware of yourself, aware of your surroundings in a new way, aware of the feelings of others. You are compassionate and considerate, and I am challenged by your generous tendencies. Your understanding of the gospel blesses my heart. It is a joy to hear you tell ME about the saving love that Jesus has for us. Your reminders of what true beauty is, echo my little lectures, but they convey a real understanding that Beautiful is something we were created to be, not because of anything we do or put on, but because Jesus loves us. I need to hear all of these things Leilani, thank you for listening and letting the Lord use you.

You are so smart Leilani. I used to think that you were a budding artist, for you would color wild scribbles with great intensity. As we have waited for your lines to take shape, we have begun to realize that you are not drawing your imaginings, but taking notes and writing about them. Your early love of crayons and sketchbooks has evolved into an obsession with office supplies. You still love stickers, but tape makes you just as happy as they once did. New rolls of tape make you almost as giddy as new notebooks and pens. We can not go anywhere without a notebook and pen, but usually you require an entire backpack and tote bag full of them to be content. You exclaim ¨I NEED SOMETHING TO WRIIIITE ON!¨ frequently, and you have filled literally hundreds of pages full of scribbled notes. I wish I could translate your lines, they are transcribed with fervent dedication. I am excited to see some of your lines become recognizable letters, you can almost write your entire first name unaided, an accomplishment you take great pride in. I am eager for the day to come when you will find yourself equipped with the ability to read and write. I hope to nurture your journalistic tendencies, and I want to encourage your enthusiasm for words.

This January, a spot in the 3 year old hallway became available at Daddy's preschool. We had to make the decision of whether or not to send you to preschool 6 hours a day 5 days a week very quickly. The second I realized this was a serious option, and one that we really needed to consider, I cried. The thought of you spending your days away from my side was one I was totally unexpecting. I had always imagined that I would homeschool you at home, it never entered my mind that sending you to school would be the best option for you and for our family. But after prayer and much consideration, we decided that you were ready to take your first leap outside of the nest, and 4 days later, you stepped into your new classroom for the first time. You have never looked back! You are absolutely thriving, and you are learning so much,  but I have to admit that my days often feel empty without you. Ezra and I really miss your companionship, and I am always glad when I can come get you at the end of the day, or when you and Daddy ride home together. I have been so proud watching you navigate and acclimate to such a huge life change.

The Birthday Girl!
I am so, so proud of you and so deeply thankful for the privilege that it is to be your Mama. Happy Birthday Leilani. I love you so much.

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