Sunday, March 14, 2010

Maddie: 38 Months

Oh, Maddie! How can it be that you are such a big girl? Just today I was watching you skip home from the park with your Boppa, stopping every few feet to check out a flower or insect, and it was like an out-of-body experience. My baby girl, my sweet Madeleine Noelle, transforming into a child before my own eyes.

One thing that will definitely mark this year is your keen observation and non-stop questioning. All day, dawn to dusk, you are taking in the world around you and offering back questions that range from the everyday ("When will Spring come? In March? After February? And then Summer?"), to the spiritual ("Was it God's idea to send the rain?"), to the obscure ("What would happen if I didn't have skin? Would my body still work?")

You keep me on my toes all day long. The spiritual questions we love, as your knowledge of God is expanding with each new day. Most of the time I delight in your absolute wonder and the thinking that goes into each question, but some times, I am exasperated by your questions. You have a tendency to ask questions over and over, and many of them which you already know the answers. I see your persistence in obtaining information and I recognize it as a strength and also and indication of your intelligence, but boy, are we in for some difficult conversations if these three year-old questions are any sign of what is to come.

Another thing I love about you right now is your confidence. You are absolutely self-assured, assertive, and not afraid of letting others know what you think or need. Just this week we were enjoying a special treat at Yogurtland when a group of 8 or 10 teenage girls got your attention. They were talking and laughing and carrying on a lively conversation. You laughed out loud at one point when they laughed and remarked, "No way, Jose!" Then you approached the table, lifted your pant leg, pointed your toe, and showed off your new flip-flops, asking "Don't you like my new shoes? Aren't they sparkly and beautiful?" A few of the girls acknowledged you, commented on your new shoes, and you returned to our table, smiling and content.

I pray that this confidence never leaves, that you continue to believe in yourself, to speak up for yourself, to assert what you need and desire, what you do NOT like and do NOT want to do. While it can make for some frustrating three year-old moments, I know that as a teenager such assurance will serve you favorably among your peers.

You have a compassionate and loving friend-heart. I have witnessed the same scene over and over at a park, school, the grocery store, or home: a small child is hurt, bothered, misunderstood or sad. You approach tenderly and with a sweet voice, ask if they are okay. You kneel down, put your arm around their shoulder and sit with them while they cry, pout, whimper and recover.

It never fails to make me immeasurably proud of you and grateful to God that your heart is so big, so kind, and so gracious. I pray that you will be the kind of friend that everyone wants, a loyal, loving and tender-hearted friend that is always available.

And then there is your brother. You have a passionate, protective, fierce and playful love for Sam. You absolutely delight in him. At times I see him playing beside you, pulling your hair, taking your toys, climbing over your lap and messing with you, and there you sit, patiently allowing him to have his way.

When he is asleep, you ask me when he'll wake up. As soon as you hear his voice calling from the crib, "Mamaaaaa," you ask if you can run in and see him. There is a little sound Sam makes when he sees you, half-laugh and half-growl, as if he knows that you mean fun, dangerous fun. I know that rivalry and fights are to come, but honestly, I am in awe of how much you love your little brother and how patient and tender your heart is toward him all the time. It is my prayer that you and Samuel will be each other's best and most faithful friends throughout life.

You are silly and playful and downright comical. The stories you tell, the songs you make up, the words you substitute in sentences to make me laugh--you are always keeping things light and wanting us to be happy. Anything that makes your Daddy or brother laugh you will repeat forEVER in order to get another giggle. You know without question that your Boppa and Tutu think you are the most clever thing they've ever had the pleasure of knowing and you exploit this whenever possible.

You are a true leader, taking charge of groups of peers, older friends, classrooms of kids, play groups at parks. You win people over with your winsome nature and amiable personality and lead them in play with a fun, gregarious spirit. Your Daddy and I pray that your leadership skills will point others to choose the right way and bring out the best in those who come along for the ride.

You are the most social child I know. Every day when you wake up you ask, "What are we doing today?" Each night before going to bed you ask, "What are we doing after I wake up?" I am constantly scheduling play dates and park trips, errands to Target and Costco, visits to restaurants and other establishments in order to keep you happy. I thought I was an extrovert!

You have what seems like endless energy. I finally figured out in the past month that forty-five minutes of exercise in the afternoon is just the ticket to get through the rest of the evening without going crazy. You thrive on being outside, running around, exploring, riding your bike, and otherwise "getting [your] willies out."

I pray for my own strength, endurance and patience each day, that I will be able to be the mom you deserve--a mom who can answer your questions, fill your day with fun, bring out the best in your personality, laugh at all your jokes, and most of all, a mom who can allow God to work through and in spite of her shortcomings to help you live out your potential as his beloved child.

I love you sweet girl.



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