Saturday, November 13, 2010

Maddie: 46 Months

Dear Maddie,

Tomorrow you are 46 months old. Almost four. Yikes. I won't lie, the past few months have been difficult. The changes you are going through have stretched and challenged my parenting skills like never before. We've gone through cycles of frustration and anger, sadness and fear, running circles that often end up in sheer exhaustion. Yet I know that all this testing and stretching is producing some new, unforeseen, important changes in you. When you test the boundaries you want to know that I'm going to enforce them, that I'm going to be consistent, and that, most importantly, I'm always going to be here. And I will, sweet girl. Even if I need the occasional girls night out, glass of wine in the bathtub, or even five minute Mama time out, I'll always be around.

Persistence is the word that best describes you these days. (Well, to be honest, best describes how you've been since day one). You need to know everything about ev-er-y-thing. We are constantly conversing about the minutest of details, from what vultures are and how they eat (scavenging) to why you have to use certain fingers to get certain notes out of a recorder. You want to do all things right the first time, and get easily frustrated when things don't come easily. Take bobbing for apples. You weren't about to give up until you emerged with that apple in your mouth. And persist you did, sticking with it until, with a little bit of help, the bobbing was over.

Sometimes I have to remind myself you are just three. You are so mature, so capable, and so independent that I often rely on you to do too much. You still desire "mama time," still ask for "loves," and still want nothing more than to crawl in our laps and be cuddled. Whenever I feel like you are intruding on my space or inconveniencing my plans, I have to stop and think that you won't always want to sit on my lap while I eat breakfast, talk to me while I shower, or snuggle in our bed, with cold feet, at 5:30 in the morning.

You are an endless stream of funny stories, made-up songs, and imaginative scenarios. Every outing becomes an adventure complete with pirates, princesses, evil mothers (hmm. wonder where that comes from?), and rescues. You love to play school, ordering your Dad and I around and sending us to time out for not playing nicely and following directions. The names you come up with for your "students" never fail to make me laugh and you love to see me snicker, choosing zanier, longer and harder to pronounce names as you make your way around the circle of stuffed animals.

One of the things I love most about you is what a tender heart you have for your friends. When someone is hurt, you are the first to rush to their side, offering a hug, kind words, offering a boo-boo pack. You love to make friends at the park, coffee shop, or grocery store, offering up random bits of information about yourself or our family to get the conversation rolling:
"My Daddy tells people about Jesus."
"Oh, really, my dad gives people tattoos. He doesn't talk about Jesus."
"Okay. Let's go play. Wanna be my friend?"

You have a generous heart, often sharing with your brother without being asked. You always want things to be equal, so if you get chocolate it is only fair that Sam get some, too. You are a gracious host, finding friends and playdates snacks or drinks to eat. It warms my heart when at dinner you lovingly exclaim, "Mama! This is delicious!"

We're in the middle of a journey, and I have to believe that the long and difficult days will produce character change as much as the fun and carefree days produce joy. I'm thankful that you are my daughter and I get to experience the highs and lows with you. Forgive me for all the mistakes I make, remembering as I often say, "That's why we need Jesus." I don't know that I ever would have grasped just how deep and in need of grace I truly am without experiencing the hardest days as a mom.

I love you, my sweet, smart, witty and persistent girl.



1 comment:

bonnieb said...

Beautifully written, Becky. The photos are incredible.