I love you.
Today you are four and although it is the anniversary of the happiest day of my life I have to admit that this day is bittersweet. There will always be a part of me that remembers holding you and seeing your sweet face for the first time and wishes that I could go back to that day and stay there with you forever. You will understand some day when you are a mommy. Even if I could go back, I never would if it meant missing even one second with you now. Lily, you are seriously the most fantastic person I have ever known.
This has been a year full of big milestones and even bigger changes for our family. You amaze me every day with your ability to tackle some pretty big transitions without blinking an eye. That being said, Daddy and I still do the 'secret handshake' every night because heaven forbid we tamper with your routine. This past September you started preschool and girl, you rocked it. From day one you took to your new surroundings and made me so proud. Your teachers (and even a few other parents) commented to me that you were so gentle and polite with the other children. As I told you in last year's letter, you are a very nurturing soul. In October our house sold somewhat unexpectedly and again you took the whole transition in stride. For almost four months we lived with Mimi and Doe while we looked for our 'forever' house in Maine. During those months you were faced with a million changes, a new room, a new school, new rules, a new baby on the way, and most significantly a new work schedule for Daddy. It wasn't always easy, but at the end of every day we wrapped each other up in unwavering love and forgiveness. Every single night I go to bed knowing that I am so loved. I have you to thank for that.
It has been said that three is SO MUCH WORSE than two, and I have to admit I wholeheartedly agree. You have certainly had your share of timeouts this past year. There are times when you yell and stomp your feet. There are days when Mommy can do no right. It isn't always easy to be a big sister or a good listener. Some days you are fiercely independent and other days you beg for me to hold your hand and help you with every task. Very rarely do you actually need my help, but you do like it when I get your toilet paper for you. You do a great job brushing your teeth, getting yourself dressed, and packing up your backpack for school. Some days you even help Ben by picking out his clothes or feeding him the last few bites of his cereal, those bites are 'tricky' after all.
You are learning what it means to be a friend and at your new school you have adjusted perfectly. Your teacher, who at one time was also Unlce Josh's and Aunt Kate's teacher, told me that you are the most joyful child in your class. That is quite the compliment little lady. You are always willing and excited to participate no matter what activity they have planned and she mentioned that you are very concerned with making sure that the other children are happy too. In fact the class had to stop playing musical chairs because you insisted that everyone needed a seat. We can tackle sportsmanship and competition later, for now you are happy when everybody wins. The exception to that being you do love to race and turn just about everything into a race. When the task is complete you will shout, "I tricked you!". We have corrected you a million times, which you couldn't care less about, it is one of your few remaining toddlerisms.
We are still working on coordination and I am sorry to tell you that you are very clumsy. There are some basic skills, like landing on your feet after you jump and catching a ball, that you are still working on. For your birthday you asked for a scooter and roller skates, neither of which Mommy really thought you were ready for. Just like always however, you blew me away by racing around the driveway on your new scooter like a pro. The skates are still a work in progress but I will give you credit for being determined. Really the only drawback of your clumsiness is that your are covered in bruises! For the sake of your poor legs I am constantly reminding you (more like begging you) to be more careful.
The bond that you share with your brother is so special to you. While you still tell me that I am your best friend you have recently started to say that I am your best grownup friend and that Ben is your best friend. It is true, most of the time. I think that you love having someone who looks up to you the way he does. While you certainly use your big sister status to manipulate your little brother (mostly in the form of making trades that are not at all fair) at the end of the day you live to make him laugh. Daddy and I love to listen to you chatter and laugh together in the back seat of the car and when you are in your room pretending to settle down for the night. Despite the fact that he can be quite stubborn and is much more likely to throw toys or hit you, only very rarely do you retaliate. We are all certain that you will love and adore the new baby just as much. Admittedly you were a little disappointed to learn that the new baby is 'another brother' but as the days go by the idea seems to be growing on you. We are in this together my darling, just us girls, in a house with all these crazy boys!
I am sorry to say that you have my temper and strong will. I had hoped that you would get a little more of your Daddy's laid back attitude but you my darling, are a fighter. That isn't necessarily a bad thing BUT you are going to have to learn to harness those powerful feelings and use them to your advantage. It took Mommy a long time to learn that (and I am still working it now!) and I promise that I will always be here to help and guide you as grow and inevitably step on a few toes.
One thing that has not changed over the past year is your addiction to all things stuffed. You have a problem. You have literally never met a stuffed animal that you didn't immediately fall desperately in love with. Our house, specifically your room, is overrun with over fifty of your closest friends. To say that it is out of control is an understatement...and I fear you have passed your sickness on to your brother! You give them all clever names like "bunny", "puppy", and "turtle". I don't actually mind that last part because I am not confident that I could ever keep them straight otherwise. You are also a TV junkie and Daddy and I have to really lay down the law and limit your screen time. You love Doc McStuffins, Peg Plus Cat, and Octonauts. When the TV goes off the CD player comes on, you love music of all types and we have at least one dance party a day.
What else can I say that will even begin to do you justice. You are beautiful and still a total girlie girl. Pink and purple are your favorite colors and if given the choice you would wear a dress, skirt, or tutu every single day. You like to have your nails painted and your hair done with bows and headbands. That being said you aren't afraid to get dirty. You have a few new freckles and I am curious to see whether you will have Mommy's complexion once you are sunkissed by the summer sun. We haven't had your four year wellness checkup yet but I suspect that you are very average for height and weight, no longer my tiny peanut.
Now that we are settling in to our new house in Maine I am so excited to see what the future has in store for our family. I am so blessed to spend my days with you and your brother. We are really going to make the most of these next few months before the new baby comes. Just like when Ben was born it is important to me that you know that a new baby means more love for all of us. I will always be your Mommy and I promise to dedicate my time to making sure you know you are loved and cared for. Not a day goes by that I don't thank God that you are mine.
I love you coo coo girl.