Four years ago today, I was preparing for your birth...for the second time. You were almost born on the second day of this month, but at the very last minute, you changed your mind and decided to do what you should had done weeks earlier. Walking back out that day, wearing the same clothes, belly still swollen with you tucked away inside, I was pretty devastated. I was picturing walking out of that hospital holding a little brown haired, brown eyed girl. Your grandparents and aunt were there. We all thought that was the day we would meet you. Although we had to wait a little longer, it's been four years exactly since the day I first saw your eyes look at mine...and they weren't brown. Although it took over two years for you to have any significant hair, that wasn't brown either. In fact, you were nothing like what I expected, in any way.
In your babyhood, we were hard on each other. I didn't expect those nights to be so hard. I didn't expect the months to pass so slowly. I didn't expect most of what happened in those early days, and today isn't any different.
I didn't expect you to be so grown up at four years old. I call you my little old soul, because of the way I catch you staring out the window, deep in thought. You have always seem to grasp concepts far beyond what your years should allow. I can speak to you like a friend, and never have to simplify my thoughts. You understand it all. You even understand me when I don't have words to speak. How often do we look at each other and break out into smiles?
I found myself staring at you once recently, you fell asleep in the car. I pulled into our driveway, and normally I would jump right out to begin the process of removing children, shoes, socks and whatever else happened to make its way into car on our trip. I happened to glance at you in the rear view mirror, and stopped short. I saw such a mature face it made me simultaneously sad, proud and overwhelmed with the realization that you were growing up, and you aren't going to stop. I stare at your face now and it's impossible to see the baby you once were.
You're so appreciative for everything you have, everything you are given. I have never seen another child show so much gratitude and excitement when you are offered gifts, no matter how boring or mundane they may seem. What kid gets excited about new socks for Christmas? Or a magnet brought back from a business trip? Well, you do, and you show as much excitement and gratitude for these little things as you do for the "big" gifts that most kids crave. It only makes me want to give you more.
You're so much like me. The deep thinker, the animal lover, the attachment to your family. You never asked for a lot of affection, independent from the time you were a baby. But on those occasions you ask to snuggle or request a hug, I just want to hold you so tight I'm afraid to hurt you. You're such a great big sister, watching how you love your little sister , how you care for her, consider her, it multiplies my love and pride for you even more. How lucky she is to have you to look up to, how lucky I am to have you as her role model.
I love our little quiet moments together, morning time hugs, waking up to your hand on my face, telling me you love me. I love how you tell me at the end of the day you had fun, and you thank me for it. A four-year-old, thanking her parents for a nice day. Even as I think about it, I'm am shaking my head in amazement.
Thank you my baby girl, even though the baby is long gone, I am so grateful for every moment we have had together in these four years. I'm excited for the years to come, though I would never want to rush through any of these moments. Thank you for all the fun, the sweetness, the caring, and the understanding of situations that should be far beyond your comprehension, but somehow, for you, they just aren't. Thank you for your unconditional love, your tolerance, your ability to forgive me my faults.
Thank you, my love, for these past four years.