Last year I began what I hope will be an annual tradition. A love letter to each individual child on the day of their birth. What a gift, and a challenge, this second year has been for us. Each one is so completely different than they were this time last year, and yet their personalities are the same. I look at the sweet faces from last year’s love letter and marvel at how far we have come. They knew a handful of words and now they give full speeches. They can put on their shoes, underwear and pants and are working on their shirts. They have definite opinions about what to wear, where to go, and what to eat. They still love so much. They love in this huge profound way that spills out on to everything. They hug and kiss me and Bray and their grandparents and their cousins and everyone else – from fellow students to the lady that cuts their hair to Mickey Mouse. They love to go and try new things. I’m so proud of them for their bravery and sense of independence. Without further ado, here is your third birthday love letter sweet ones.
I can not get enough of you sweet boy. You snuggle and kiss and love everyone with an abandon unrivaled in my experience. What a gift. You are so focused on each individual thing that we often call your name without any response because you are so enraptured with whatever is before you. You are more of a follower than your siblings, but in the best consensus building way. You will be the peace maker and the people pleaser. It is one of the reasons I identify with you because I was the same way as a child. You have these huge eyes that are so beautiful and they engage anyone who has the fortune to catch your gaze. They brim with tears when you are sad and twinkle with laughter when you are happy. You are also the least strong-willed of the three of you, and so it is a gift that I have less of a war of the wills with you, especially in this second year when you still did your fair share of boundary testing. You love your siblings and your family and those you meet. You are cautious, but wise, and upon doing the necessary due diligence, you will experiment and you can unravel any engineering mystery. Your big heart is a precious present to your family, and I pray every day that you will continue to grow strong and wise and brave and that God will use you in a mighty way.
All my love,
You are fierce. So independent. So strong willed. So focused. I know that we have had many battles this year, and will have more ahead, but I am so delighted that it is my daughter that has such a bright independent strong mind and direction. You will face battles and challenges in your life my beloved, but you will stare them down and they will shake as you approach. You are so brave and fearless. I love that. The most remarkable thing about your strength is that it carries as its companion empathy and nurturing. Your teachers told me you are so maternal and will take care of the other students. It is such a rare gift that you can be single-minded in your approach to tackling living, and yet walk alongside others to care for them and protect them. Your spirit is as beautiful as your face. Even with your strong will, you love your family with wild abandon. We are met with kisses and hugs and you light up the room. You are a TOTAL girl, and for that I am grateful, with your love of pink and babies and shoes. Your passion for art and music, coupled with your strength, makes you an extraordinary individual. I love to watch you dance completely unconcerned by whether you have an audience (of one or thousands as you proved at Disney). We may collide at times, but I pray that we will be able to teach you respect and obedience without diminishing your strong spirit and zest for life and adventure.
Love to you beautiful girl,
Oh my brilliant little parrot. You remember EVERYTHING! You can say, for good or bad, word-for-word what daddy or I have said. You make us laugh constantly and even when we probably shouldn’t. You are my little Dennis the Menace. You are going to get away with so much more than the average kid because you do it with those twinkling blue eyes and a grin splitting your face open. You are curious about everything. I have never met a child so hungry for knowledge and so quick to pick up on anything you learn. I love that you can tell me which fish is a swordfish and which fish is a lionfish just as quickly as you can spell your name. Your absolute delight in living fills up any space you invade. And there’s never any doubt about your love for everything you encounter because you tell us in no uncertain terms what you love – from the tractor to a cupcake (BOY do you have your momma’s sweet tooth!) to a good book to Disneyworld. It is a revelation to watch the world through your eyes. You are already becoming a man of honor in your promises to take care of me and to protect your siblings. I pray that your sensitivity will not be dampened as you grow, that your lust for living will always remain as vibrant as it is today, and that we will be able to guide you, when you run, to run after God.
I love you so much,