Thursday, September 5, 2013

Birthday Week: Letter to M

Dear M,
  It has been a month since you turned four and yet your birthday letter is just being written. I needed some space to appreciate three and see what four might be.  Three, you see, was not our very best or easiest year together.  For your older brother, it was two, and everyone just has a year like that.  Don't get me wrong, I treasure a 1000 different memories of you at three and marvel at each of them, but we spent more time arguing or crying than either of us wished.  You, dear heart, are too much like me in many ways that cause us to butt heads.  We are both too stubborn and like most people want things our way, but sadly that can't always be.  At three you were often trapped between so much vibrancy and the stricture of rules that were hard to follow, but necessary to keep you safe and grow.  My hope is that in teaching you this year we did not break that true, uniquie, amazing spirit, but rather helped you grow it into something more mature, safer, and happier still. 

At three, you were filled with energy in ways I don't recall being, but perhaps I was.  At three, you loved to dance, to play, to snuggle your dolls.  You loved to create and late in the year to scrapbook with me in your own way--- which is actually amazingly good for someone so young.  Many times during the year you seemed so very big.  At four, you can do so many things that even a year ago weren't possible.  For example, your vocabulary and inflection are amazing.  I do not think it is normal for three year-olds to declare that their dinner is delectable, but you often did. at three, you would watch ballet documentaries that were only somewhat in English and be fascinated for an hour.  You developed complicated games and imaginary worlds with your big brother with no help at all from me.  At three, you wanted to be big, but sometimes you were so little.  When I saw you up on that huge stage at your dance recital, it was clear we still had plenty of time with a little girl as up there you were so very tiny, so very brave.  Sometime just after that the transition to four began and I think some of our lessons of this year seeped through, the everyday became easier, and by summer's end things started to shift into the world of four. 

At four, you are much more helpful and a better listener than you were last year or even a few months ago.  You are still easily distracted, but trying hard.  We've learned that even though you resist sleep mightily; you are so much in need of it.  We've learned together.  Now, as you turn fully into a four year old, I amazed at how brave and independent you are.  

This week, we went to the Science Museum.  You chose to get into this Mercury shuttle simulator all by yourself.  Your brother is 2.5 years older and has never done this.  In fact, he has only ridden in once ever, with you by his side last month.  That is part of who he is and perfectly right for him, but you are different-- complete with your own complications/struggles, but also your own strengths.  

You were so calm and brave on the video. You responded to the questions from the operator, and never panicked or displayed any of your usual nervous "tells."  I was so proud of you and so happy to see your smiling face emerge and grab my hand to proudly display your Mercury astronaut badge.  You amaze me my brave girl, every day.  You are so different from your brothers and from anyone I know.  You make me smile over and over throughout the day as we discuss your thoughts on life and what we're doing at the moment.  You are such a helper with E now, especially when we're at school and carrying so many things.  

Tuesday, we went to gymnastics for the second time this fall and after nearly a year of absence before that.  You have grown up so much since the class at age three. at four, you are the only girl in your class and 3 inches taller than the boys.  You are strong and able to do everything fairly easily by yourself.  Last year, you needed lots of assistance and were nervous being in the class without your parents. This year, I see you check for me a time or two, but mostly you are watching the other classes in progress or listening to your teacher, completely independent and confident.  So much has changed in a year and it is for the better dear one even though sometimes I miss that tiny girl that needed her mama a bit more than you do now-- I cannot have both and know this year is bigger and better for you and all of us.

Dear daughter mine, I know this will not be the last year where there are hard times and tears.  Like this year though, they will be the minority and a small portion of our days or memories.  We are a team and "get" each other in ways that the boys just don't.  You are amazing, strong, and growing in beauty and wisdom with each year.  Your Daddy and I are working hard to help you build a strong foundation.  We're surrounding you with people that love you and teaching you the best we can skills you will need for the rest of your life.  In return, you are filling our days with stories, dance, layers of ruffly outfits, stuffies, and lots of conversation.  We love you so much and I'm so excited to see what this year holds.

Hugs, kisses, and love always dear, sweet four year-old girl. 
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