Thursday, April 15, 2010

Maddie: 39 Months

My Sweet Maddie,

Happy 3 years and 3 months, my love! These days you are delighting me with your preciousness. It is a good reminder how quickly moods can change from disastrously disagreeable to contented calm.

You are FULL of laughter, finding joy in the simplest of things, from conquering the Holbrooks' rope swing to watching a honeybee on the wisteria in the back yard. Your inquisitive mind hardly ever rests, and you ask the most thoughtful and incredible questions about life and the world around you. Sometimes I have to remind myself not to get frustrated by the nonstop questions but to encourage your love of learning. I often have to remind you not to get frustrated with me for not having all the answers!

You have a sweet and kind spirit. Your prayers reflect a maturity and a care that far exceeds your three years. Just the other night you prayed for "the homeless people, [that God would] give them lettuce, and apples, water to drink and rainbows to look at." I grabbed a pen and paper while you prayed so I wouldn't forget those gems. Too many moments such as those pass by without me remembering the details, and that was a prayer I wanted to immortalize here on this blog.

You continue to amaze me with your patience and love toward Sam. You are gentle and kind, always generous and caring. When he does frustrate you, you rarely respond by lashing out or acting harshly. Generally you move away, tell him "no," or ask for help in removing the source of the problem. When you have hurt him, whether intentionally or accidentally, it crushes your little spirit and you are quick to rush to his side, comforting him with your words and a kind hug. Today on the playground some older boys were telling him "no babies allowed" and you stepped in. You placed your arms around him, your body between he and the older boys, and simply replied, "this is my brother and he can play here, too." When they continued to persist, you turned to Sam, grabbed his hands, and said, "Come on, bud."

You are imaginative and playful, creating hundreds of make-believe scenarios, naming your dolls things like Kena and Moo-Moo-CAH-Coo-Ma. You will play for forty-five minutes on your own, thinking up these imaginative little worlds. Sometimes I cringe to hear you acting out your role as Mama, putting babies and stuffed lambs in time out or talking with them about consequences. But I know that this is part of the way you are working things out, playing the Mama to take back some control and manipulate your own environment. The fact that you do such a good impression of me makes me that much more aware of what I say and how I say it.

Whereas everything used to just roll off your back, you are starting to respond with sadness to others' comments and put-downs. You've approached sulking many times, arms crossed, lip out, and I can tell that you've been hurt. It pains me like nothing else, because I know what it is like to be left out, excluded and put down. And it hurts. My heart just breaks when someone tells you something you can't do, somewhere you can't play, or makes you question something you know about yourself.

The other day I was amazed when I heard myself say, "What do YOU know about you, Maddie Joyce? Who are you? That's right, a big girl. And you know what else? Those comments, those mean girls, they do NOT define you. You are important and valuable and precious because Jesus loves you and you are his precious, precious daughter. Not only that, but he gave you to me and you are my precious daughter. That's who Maddie Joyce is." As soon as the words came out I offered a prayer of thanksgiving to my Heavenly Father who so clearly gave me the wisdom my child needed to hear in that moment of hurt. A minute later, you skipped away happily, the moment over, the feelings changed. Since that day at the park, I continue to repeat these words over and over each time your feelings are hurt, each time you question your value or your identity. I say them as much for me as I do for you.

You are lively, energetic, and a real ham. You are constantly cracking up your Daddy and I. We love your Maddie-isms, your sweet prayers, the songs you make up and the questions you ask. You are fiercely independent and strong-willed, yet each time you approach me, arms raised high, asking for "Mama time," I am reminded that you are still so little. You are still mine. I am still needed. And I will always have open arms to welcome you in, whisper love into your ear, and cuddle you close.

Thanks for being my girl. I'm so glad that you are.



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