The calendar tells me that you are three years old today, and in my typical state of disbelief, I am shocked. I was very much present for the first three years of your life, but these past 6 months I have been even more present.
We celebrated your 2nd birthday with eager anticipation of a new baby due to arrive in our family in the summer. I spent much of that time of expectation mostly concerned with how it would affect you. I worried so much that you would feel less loved or be jealous or hurt by divided attention. I worried that in all my protection of you and your feelings that I would not be able to love a baby as a mother should. I worried a whole lot about a lot of stuff that never ever happened. Because the day Madison was born, you fell head over heels in love with your baby sister.
At first, you just loved to hold her. In your own sweet little way you showed her love by gently touching her head and then very gently tickling her tummy. You loved to lie on the floor next to her. You were always watching and monitoring her various activities or inactivities.
Now that she is older, you love to play with her and give her toys. When she cries, you tell her “its okay.” You call her “Maddie” and a little part of my heart melts every time I hear you say her name. Sure, there were some rough spots where you woke her up from a nap or you were not quite gentle enough. But for the most part, you loved on her in a way I could not have possibly imagined.
When Madison was born, I quit my job. Madison was an easy baby, so for those first several months you and I got to spend a lot of time together. We went to the park a lot. We went to the library. We played downstairs and colored and read books. And through all of that, you have become quite attached to your Mommy and now prefer me to “handle” just about any parental responsibilities or duties.
This past year was the year of the tea party for you. We have tea parties every single day. When people visit, you immediately invite them to a tea party. It is fun to watch you serve various plastic foods to your stuffed animals. Your imagination is so vivid and playing with you is a real treat.
You are our narrator of life. No matter what happens, you tell us about it, even if we were there to witness it. You daily recount what happened in the last hour, what happened yesterday, what happened last week, what happened months ago. You remember things I could not have imagined you would. You are a very talkative little girl and I have loved having conversations with you. You ask a lot of questions and sometimes I struggle to find an answer that is age-appropriate. But you are patient with me and my fumbled explanations.
We have tried some potty training with you and while we had a few little successes and victories, you really don’t seem all that interested. So we are hoping in your own good time you will listen to all our encouragement and just make up your mind that you are ready.
We did so many fun things with you this year: visiting a pumpkin farm, an Easter egg hunt, going to Little Lambs, cheering at the softball marathon, making countless trips to the park, getting your first haircut, scribbling with sidewalk chalk, putting stickers in your stickerbook, riding your new tricycle, the list goes on. I’m trying to soak up all these memories – trying to lock them all away inside my heart. You do and say so many things that I never want to forget.
You are sometimes naughty. Disciplining you can be a challenge and there are many days when you really push every button. Sometimes I am absolutely flabbergasted by the naughtiness pouring forth from your little person. But truthfully you are a good girl and a little bad behavior or testing of your limits is to be expected. I realize it is your chance to learn from someone who loves you. Even though there are rough days, I would rather spend them with you than anyone else in the world.
The other night in church I was on praise team. When I was done I walked down the aisle to sit with you and Daddy and Madison. Halfway to my seat I could see you running to me. You lifted your arms above your head and I scooped you up. And I almost sobbed right there. I could never have known how much I would love you, little one. When you were born, Reagan, I didn’t cry. I heard you crying, and I just laid there in shock and exhaustion. When Madison was born, I bawled the second I heard her voice. It wasn’t that I loved her more. No, I cried because I knew that I would love her deeply and fiercely…because that is how I love you. Oh how I love you, my Reagan. How I love you so and always will.