Friday, October 14, 2011

Maddie: Four and Three-Quarters (56 Months!)

Dear Maddie,

Today as I was driving in the car, thinking about what I would say on this, the 4 3/4 year anniversary of your birth, a strange thing happened: when I considered your almost five-ness, I gulped. Tears formed in the corners of my eyes. Five sounds WAY too big for my little girl. How can it be?

Yet in so many ways, you are a very grown up girl. You have your own sense of style and fashion. You have opinions and thoughts that are entirely your own. You have a quirky and fun sense of humor. You can run extremely fast, skip, throw pretty far, catch, and even do jumping jacks. Yep, you're pretty darn amazing.

And then there's the small issue of your "boyfriend." The second week of school, you came home all a-twitter about a boy in your class. Readers may remember from a previous post that you said something to the effect of, "There is the most handsome boy in my class. When I saw him, I clasped my hands together against my cheek and I fluttered my eyelashes up and down like this [grand, sweeping flutters for dramatic effect]. He is so handsome and he is going to be my boyfriend."

I was speechless. At first, I racked my brain for where you might have heard such things (movies, books, tv shows). The closest thing I've come up with is the scene with Sebastian the Crab from "The Little Mermaid" in which they try to get Prince Eric to kiss Ariel and break the sea witch's spell.

Sebastian: "Now - we got to make a plan to get that boy to kiss you. Tomorrow, when he takes you for that ride, you gotta look your best. You gotta bat your eyes - like this. You gotta pucker up your lips - like this."

But it's been a while since she watched that movie. And thank goodness, there was no talk of puckering lips. She described him in detail to me: blond mohawk, kind, sweet. A friend of mine, who carpools with me, assured me that this interest is one-sided after standing in line next to the boy-in-question.

When I picked you up from school a few weeks back, the painting above was in your art folder, titled, "[insert boy's name here.]" Um, yeah. Apparently it's more than a little crush. (Ed's note: upon volunteering in the class, it is clear that the boy-in-question is the nicest, most polite, most intelligent male in the room. It helps a little that she knows who to choose...)

You are sweet and generous. Your heart amazes me, the way you reach out to and love on the people around you. You have a very sensitive, caring spirit that is always noticing and reaching out to those on the fringe. You are so like your Daddy in this way, always looking for someone who might not feel comfortable or like they fit in, and doing your best to befriend them.

In the past few weeks as you've worked through the issues described in an earlier post, I've done my best to point you toward the truth and to ground myself in the same truth. God loves us just as we are. He loves us in our best and worst times, when we most believe it and when we don't. As I shared with a friend over coffee this week, she was so good to remind me that my most important job as your mom is to raise a girl in love with Jesus. All the rest just really doesn't matter; it will all work itself out.

As mentioned earlier, you have a unique sense of style and when allowed to choose your own outfits, you surprise us some of the time with completely hip, matching, suitable outfits. Other times you surprise us with your absolute lack of color coordination or seasonal appropriateness. Ahem. You happened to rock the hippie-plaid-mustard-Christmas sock look the day after a 70s challenge on one of my favorite shows, Project Runway. Your combo sort of reminded me of a featured outfit. Obviously, you're hip enough to be on the show.

You are smart and sassy, thoughtful and extremely quick. You continue to struggle with wanting to get things right the first time, but being competitive with yourself also makes you an extraordinarily fast learner. Once school started back up, your brain went into super learning mode and you've been regurgitating all kinds of information at home. Spanish. Nutrition. Stories. Skills. I love it!

And, as captured in the photo above, you are a storyteller, much like your father. You love to embellish your tales with details and emotion, recalling events in a way that makes them sound so much more fun, so much more exciting and engaging and real. I love to hear your perspective on life as you weave your stories with humor, sound effects, facial exuberance and vocal inflections.

It is such a joy and privilege to be your Mama. Thanks for reminding me to stop and really listen, that acorns and rocks and berries are treasures to be admired, and most of all, for always forgiving me when I mess up and loving me despite all my faults. You are such a gift and a treasure and a delight.



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