My dearest baby girl (or “Baby Cakes” as I find myself referring to you these days),
I had great intentions of writing you a birthday letter each year. I managed to write your birth story…and then I blinked and you turned four. How could I have missed writing you a letter on your first…second…and third birthdays? I’m sure I could piece together a note or two that described all your milestones and the unique ways you made me smile each year. But, alas, the details of your precious life have slowly started to fade into the recesses of my mind. I have a computer full of pictures and random stories that come and go every so often. I promise I will do my best to write down each memory as they come to me. Until then, I will write this letter to you this afternoon. Happy 4th Birthday, baby cakes!!!
You are the only person in the world that can make me laugh at the strangest things and then turn around and infuriate me a moment later. I can only assume this happens because we are so much alike. That thought both excites and terrifies me. It’s exciting to watch you grow in areas that I’m still navigating as an adult. It’s also scary to know some of the pains you will put yourself through because of your own stubbornness and fierce independence. We will do our best to direct you, but I know you will have to learn it all on your own. God will do amazing things with your natural ability to lead others and follow specific rules. I’m really excited to watch your weaknesses become strengths as you get older.
Speaking of getting older…what a fun year it’s been watching you move from a toddler into a beautiful young lady. This year, we bought you a new big girl bed!!! I had so much fun decorating your room and replacing all the baby items with the things you’re most passionate about. You are definitely a lover of circles and the color pink…and your big girl room reflects those two passions. You are a girl who knows what she likes, and you aren’t afraid to tell people about it!!! You have impeccable manners, and you are the cutest rule follower I’ve ever met (we just need to work on not being so bossy).
The teacher says you are the smartest kid in your pre-school class, and I get the feeling that that will happen your whole life. I’m pretty sure you’ve mastered scissors and counting to 50. You know how to write and spell your own name. Just this year, you’ve really blossomed with your coloring and painting skills. I can’t believe you can color in the lines!!! My favorite thing is when you use your creativity to make your own works of art (I’m pretty sure we go through a ream of paper every month). You constantly amaze me at how fast your brain learns and understands the world around you. But most of all, I love how much you love people. You have an ability to charm even the grumpiest person in the world (which can sometimes be me).
This year, we decided you were old enough to have your very own pet to care for. We were so happy when we found Pumpkin. She has been the sweetest cat (and it’s obvious that she totally adores you). I love it when Pumpkin runs up the stairs to get you out of bed in the morning. I can tell she loves you and that you two will be friends for a long time. I’m so proud of the way you take care of the cats by feeding them during the day. You are doing so well with all your chores this year!!! I rarely have to remind you to take off your jacket and shoes and put them away. You are also great at putting your plate and cup in the sink after a meal. (We just need to get better at reminding you to pick-up your toys during the day.)
Speaking of toys…your favorite things to play with right now are strings, ropes, “Sealy” and things that I wouldn’t traditionally call “toys” (like shopping bags, tissue paper, sticks, boxes, packing peanuts, coffee straws, and tiny pieces of paper). You love to tie random things to long pieces of string, so your daddy taught you how to tie things all by yourself (I think you are half way to being able to tie your own shoes at this point)!!! Now that I think about it, I don’t know why I buy you toys when you are so creative at making something out of nothing. Your creativity is inspiring and shows up in the most unique ways. For example, this year we put the couch at an angle so you could make the corner of the living room your secret refuge. Instead of making a tent, you decided you wanted a cozy spot to rest during the day. In a moment of creativity, you made a layer of balloons…a layer of stuffed animals…and a layer of blankets. I love it when you run and dive behind the couch (it’s nice to know you’ll always have a soft landing when you fall back there).
You have a great sense of humor, my precious little angel. I had to start a quote book just to keep track of all the hilarious things you say during the day (I think I have more quotes than pictures this year)!!! We try to write down everything, but there isn’t enough paper in the world to contain the bits of humor that continually pours out your mouth. When you had tubes put in your ears, the nurses begged us to leave you there all day because you had everyone laughing in the surgery center. Everywhere we go, I hear stories of how people just want to “eat you up” because you are so cute.
We had so many fun adventures this year. Thanks for being such a great traveler and little companion in this thing we call life. Some of my favorite memories included: driving up to Greenbluff every month to pick fruit…watching you help your daddy grow and harvest plants in the garden…spending the whole summer at Splashdown with Ben and Alyson…seeing your face during your first flight and vacationing in Hawaii with Grandma and Grandpa Stem…exploring the wild nature together at Oma and Opa’s house…spending countless hours at the library reading and teaching you how to use the computer…walking around our neighborhood and exploring every square inch of the Garland area while drinking “special milk” from The Rocket. (I also love how you can order your own “Small Strawberry Steamer – not too hot” from your favorite barista.) You wore the cutest gnome costume at Halloween, and you love your “friend boy” Liam. You are also the most patient little girl while I run errands and do “grown-up things” most days during the week. You are everything I could have hoped for and everything I needed. I praise God for sending you into my life…and for picking me to be your mom. For all the arguments we’ve had and all the frustrating days, I am forever grateful for your presence. You have made me into a better person, and I’m sure your daddy can say the same thing. What an adventure it has been the last 4 years!!! You are my most precious gift and my greatest adventure. Happy 4th Birthday, my sweetest daughter.
And many more…