Three years, one hour, and five minutes. That's how long it's been since I met you face to face. Since your daddy got the privilege of announcing to our eager families that you, our girl, had entered the world with a flourish and a cone shaped head to prove it. Since you made me a mommy. Three long years. And three short years. The relativity of motherhood.
It's so funny to think that I didn't know you until three years ago, and now I know you better than I have known anyone in my life. I know your fears, your joys, your waking and sleeping schedule, your favorite things, when you eat, what you eat, your weight and size and shape, your smile and laugh and cry and voice. Yet even now, after studying you for years, you can still surprise me. You are growing into a little person right before my eyes, developing a sense of humor, honing your own personal style. Everyday you seem to grow a little, know a little more, discover something new. And you pass that joy along to me.
I've never been the kind of person who thrived with constant change. To be honest, I usually find it intimidating. Your Grammy still makes fun of me for a pair of Sketchers sandals I wore until the buckle literally fell off of them while I was sitting at the dinner table. And the curtains and paint color in my old bedroom have been the same since I picked them out when we moved in when I was in middle school. But I know that change is a constant in all of our lives. Sometimes there are changes we would rather not face, things that are as comfortable as old Sketchers sandals that we are reluctant to leave behind. But that buckle will inevitably fall off. Things WILL change. And we all have to learn from it and grow in it. You teach me that every day. You face the world with such unbridled enthusiasm and joy and hunger for knowledge that I can't help but get swept up in it.
I was about to type that the one thing that will never change is my love for you. But that's not true. I can see that even from these past three years. As you change, I change. Our relationship changes, and the world around us changes. I find new things to love about you, new ways to encourage you and challenge you. I find joy in letting go as much as in holding on because I know that you are brave and smart and strong. You are a light in my world and I know you will be for so many others.
You truly are an amazing kid, Laine bug. You are so smart and
articulate and verbally gifted. You love to learn new songs and
have a memory that blows me away. You are a kind and devoted friend and a
wonderful sister, enthusiastic and generous with your affection. Your imagination is amazing; your stories keep me either giggling or fascinated or both on a regular basis (I think you must have about 87 imaginary dogs running around by now). You are thriving in your new preschool and your teachers always comment on how much you love it and what a sweet girl you are in class. You make me so proud.
Every year for these three years I have sat down to write you a letter on your birthday. Every year I stare at the cursor wondering what to write. I wonder when you will read them and what you will think of your young, silly, inexperienced mother. Who will you be all those years from now, reading back about who you were all those years ago? I have so much hope for you, so many dreams. That's one of the most amazing things about being a mother; suddenly having dreams for someone else's life instead of just your own. Dreams that started even before I met you three years ago. Dreams that started before I even knew you existed. Dreams that you make true already every day because, really, you were the dream to begin with.
I love you so very much. Happy birthday, sweet girl.