To My Daughters, On Your Third Birthday

This weekend, we celebrated our girls’ third birthday.

 

The familiar saying still holds true: The days are long, but the years are short.

So much of growth and change comes slowly and gradually, and it’s so subtle that you don’t even notice it until you start looking back. You see where you were just a year ago and where you are now, and realize that you actually have traveled quite a distance. This is true on so many levels, and I see this as I look at the two little girls in front of me today.

I’ve shared before that I’m not a huge fan of the baby stage, and my girls have left that far behind. Oh, we’re still quite a ways from full-on “kids”, but these tiny people in front of me grow more and more into their actual selves every day.

Every year around their birthday, I stop and reflect on who they are and what they are teaching me as a mom. (Here’s links to their first birthday and second birthday posts.)

I’m not good at documenting every individual milestone, but I do want to mark the seasons and remember certain things about this stage with them, unique characteristics and moments.

__________________

Addy


The biggest thing that stands out about this year, of course, is when you were in the hospital. I’ve written about that here, but as I look back on it now, I see the ways God used that to form something in me as a mom, a protectiveness and a sacrifice of comfort so I could be the mom you needed during that week.

I remember a few weeks before that when you were having a bit of a hard time, when something wasn’t quite going according to your plan and you had big feelings about it. I held you in your room and rocked you, and I told you…I’m here, I’m not going anywhere, I’m in this with you, whatever it takes. I will fight for you. We needed that fight sooner than later, didn’t we? And I will always fight for you and stay in it with you.

You love to sit and play on your own, and I love seeing you take your little figures and make up stories as you arrange them into your own little world. You, my girl, are hilarious, and you love to make us laugh. You are unique and creative, and you are passionate. And you are stubborn, which will serve you well someday. I must admit that you challenge me daily, but we are both growing together, and I’m so thankful for who you are.

 

Lissy


You are a bundle of energy, and you prance and dance around this house and bring us so much joy. You seem to have so much empathy already; you can tell when I’m sad or having a hard time, and you ask if I’m okay and what I need. You are already so aware of the people around you, and you pick up on our moods even when we try to hide them.

You are curious and ask SO many questions, and you have an incredible memory. I love that you’re at the stage that we can have actual conversations. You are silly and lighthearted, and your little laugh can instantly lift my mood.

You are my little helper, and you follow me around the house wanting to be a part of everything, not satisfied with just sitting by and watching. While this can test my patience sometimes, it reminds me to slow down and bring you along with me instead of rushing to check tasks off a list. I love seeing you throw your arms up in excitement as you sing and dance. Don’t ever lose your delight in life, sweet girl. You remind me that a bad day can be fixed with a good belly laugh and a dance party, and you show me that life is a wonder and a joy.

__________________

 

I’m bracing myself for the threenager stage, and I feel like they got a head start even before their third birthday. I’ve had more than one person tell me lately that three is TOUGH, and I believe them already. Boundaries are being pushed and tested constantly, and it’s so hard to have the stamina and energy to be consistent.

But more and more, I’m learning that life is not about comfort and ease, but about leaning in to the challenge and allowing it to form you. With that in mind, this might be our most formational year yet, for all of us in our family.

Being a mom has stretched me more than any other thing in my life, and it keeps me running back to Jesus. My prayer is that I can see my sweet girls through his eyes, and that I can love them with his love, helping them to become who he has created them to be. It’s a high calling and a humbling one, and I’m grateful for the gift.

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