My Dear Maddie-Girl,
Another month has passed as you approach 5 1/2. Every day I see more and more of the baby girl you were slipping away as this mature, lovely & creative young girl emerges. It is hard work for a mama, both grieving the child that once was, caring for the child that is, and nurturing the person that is to come. Every day is a delicate balance, a teetering of prayer, hard work, and hopeful expectation.
This month you graduated preschool. I watched with wonder as you hugged your yellow room teachers goodbye, pausing to look over the cheery room with its small chairs, work stations, silkworm habitat and carefully decorated walls. Goodbye private Christian preschool, hello public Kindergarten. Yikes! But I must trust in the decision Daddy and I have made. You have the heart of an evangelist; you love to tell people about Jesus and pray for their salvation. You are a shining light; Christ is with you wherever you go, in your compassion, your wisdom, your desire to help, and in your cheerful spirit. It is our prayer that as we release you into the big world, and thus trust that God is sovereign and able to work in you and through you, all of these gifts will be used for his glory and your development.
For every way that you are changing and maturing into a little lady, there are still elements of babyhood that remain. Take, for instance, eating a cupcake (or any mealtime, really). How you manage to both wear and distribute your food all around your eating area is still a mystery. From that first taste of rice cereal to breakfast this morning, I can expect that your face will bear witness to the yumminess of your last meal. Funny girl.
You continue to love to draw and create. Some of your latest creations come from a rich, deep place within your imagination. No longer do you copy things you've seen but dream up and create these happy, colorful, detailed characters. It is so fun to see your love of drawing as it develops. I've secretly hoped for years that you and Sam would get the artistic gene that comes through Daddy's family. It appears my hopes have been answered!
One thing that's been especially fun this past month is your gymnastics class. After many months of waiting for a tae kwon do class to pan out, only to have it cancelled, gymnastics was your next choice. And what a pleasant experience it's been! Your body is so strong and lithe and capable. I LOVE to watch as you try something for the first time and power through it with ease and joy. Yet I also love to watch as you try, fail, and try again and again. The frustration that plagues your tendency toward perfection falls away at gymnastics. When something doesn't come easily or quickly, you jump right back in with gusto and keep at it.
Last week you were practicing your cartwheels when a little boy remarked that they were "horrible." You smiled, assumed the starting position, and said, "but I will keep practicing and practicing until I get it right! I will be able to do this!" It was like the heavens parted, angels trumpeted, and your Mama's heart leaped within her chest! All those prayers for you not to be crushed by failure but to persevere with joy and intention, all the times you've given up out of frustration, all the times I've told you, "keep trying, you will get it!"-- it was God himself quieting my soul and enabling you to find your worth not in failure, not in someone's opinion of you, but deep within a peace and centeredness that enabled you to turn away from criticism, smile, and tumble in the grass. Praise God!
My prayers will continue, that you find great joy and purpose in Christ, and not in your own abilities or inabilities. I will pour my love out over you in order to point you to the love of Christ. I will celebrate your developments and point out your uniqueness as God's beloved child. I love you, my sweet big girl.