Today you are 3 years old. When did that happen? Those first moments of holding you in my arms, looking into the face of the beautiful little girl, my daughter, that I dreamt of for months, smelling that delicious newborn smell, kissing your little nose and hands, lost for words, tears filling my eyes, are as tangible to me today as they were that September evening 3 years ago.
Those treasured moments that I hold so dearly to my heart are not the only ones that are there now. They are now accompained by conversations we’ve had, phrases you’ve uttered that have caused me to turn around expecting to see a 10 year old in front of me, songs you sing from memory and movie lines you quote, seeing your sense of humor develop, having you sit on the counter and make cookies with me, dance parties to your “fav-ite Bwave song”, going on your first daddy/daughter date, moving you into the “big kid class” at church, witnessing both the strong will you possess and your beautifully tender heart, watching you discover the world and gain understanding, holding you close after a moment of discipline with tears streaming down both our faces telling each other we love each other, having you suddenly wrap both your arms around my neck and say, “you MY mommy!”, seeing the joy that fills your face and ignites your run into your daddy’s arms when we go to visit him at work, hearing you say, “Mommy, Jesus die on da cwoss for me because He yove me sooooo much.” These moments. These and so many more are what fill my mind as I write this to you right now and are what flash through my mind daily as I watch you shed the last little bit of baby-hood and become, in every way, a little girl.
I hope you never lose your childlike wonder. The simplicity of what entertains you is so sweet to me. Observing your joy at watching a big bus drive by, or laying on your back looking at clouds, or playing with plastic dishes in the sink, or playing our indoor “baseball” game for hours, has taught me to delight in simplicity, to treasure the moments that make up our days, and to be grateful for the beauty that is found when I do that.
You are the perfect mix of your daddy and I and your own little strong self. Our favorite place is home and our favorite companions are one another. None of us do well with unending busyness, our comfort zone is not found in big groups of people, and we all find refreshment in quiet evenings at home. Along with your love for home, though, you have this independent, strong, intense bravery that I adore. Oh, it sanctifies me, but it teaches me, too. We learn together to step outside of ourselves, try scary things, and to push ourselves past what makes us feel comfortable and safe.
I pray that this brave, independent, introverted, observant, thoughtful heart of yours will belong to Jesus. That in all these beautiful aspects of who you are you will display a love for Him, for truth, and for others. That you will seek Him with that intense passion I love about you. That you will dream with your hope founded in Him. And that you will be confident and strong in who He has made you to be, finding your worth in Him, and breaking down lies that tell you otherwise. That you would love others well, but live only to please Him.
I am in awe of God’s kindness in making me your mama and humbled as each day I see more of my inadequacy in this role His given me. In that, though, I see His abundant grace. He chose your daddy and me to be the ones to raise you, teach you, train you, and love you with a fierce, deep love, and as we do that He reveals more and more to us about His faithfulness, His mercies, and His gentle guidance.
Never have I known such a perfect mix of heartache and heart thrills as I do in being your mama. How much I want to bottle you up at every stage and make you stay right there forever, but how excited I am to watch you grow up and to enter each new stage anxious for what it holds. I tell you often that you are my little gift. There will never be a better way than that to describe what you are to me. My beautiful, undeserved, grace-filled, darling little gift. And I am so very glad that you are.
Happy 3rd Birthday, my Little Anna Kate. I love you more than words.
With all my heart,