A letter to my daughter for her 4th birthday…

My Smart, Sassy, Wonderful Girl,
When you turned three last year I was a bundle of prenatal anxiety waiting for your sister to be born and the world was something entirely different than it is now. What a year we have had. The preschool time and friendships both there and with your MOPS friends have been disrupted by this pandemic, and you miss those things so much and ask about them all the time, but you have inspired me with your resilience and enthusiasm each day.

So much has changed since last year, aside from the COVID related stuff you have become a big sister and it feels like that has led to you growing up so much so fast! You love snuggling her and telling her stories. I often find you two in your princess tent, or you THREE giggling together outside as you and your brother try to entertain the baby.

Your preferences have grown much stronger this year. You know what you want to wear and no one can talk you out of it. You announce your favorite foods to the world (like mother like daughter you adore spicy food and are especially fond of taco nights and chili… after hearing mom refer to you as her “little chili baby” a la The Good Place, you have taken on this title with pride and announce it to friends, family, and strangers. “I’m a little chili baby!”). You still have a deep love of hiking and have started insisting “I can do this myself. I can do hard things” whenever we come to a particularly rocky patch or steep climb. You tell random hikers on the trail that you are “fast like a cheetah”- something that comes from your love of Lion Guard.

Your favorite books are Strega Nonna and This is a Serious Book. You read them to yourself, you ask us to read them to you, you quote them and make yourself laugh like crazy. Your favorite movie remains Frozen, and Frozen 2 is a close second. You also LOVE having tea parties with mom and pretending to serve tea and coffee to both your family and your stuffed animals. You don’t know it yet, but you’re getting an Elsa tea pot for your birthday and I’ve never felt more confident in my gift giving abilities.

I was worried a year ago that you might get a little lost in the shuffle of suddenly becoming a middle child. I now see that could never be the case. You have confidence and personality to spare and a strength that astounds your dad and me. I hope you keep those things all your life. You have no qualms about telling people whether you need space or attention. Every project you finish you look at and exclaim, “Wow! This is beautiful!” and it inspires me to try and find that in my own work a little more.

As you enter your fourth year, my hope for you is that you get some normalcy back. That you can return to the classroom and normal social activities and that if you look back on this time of social distancing you don’t really remember having to give up a normal set of holidays or a birthday party with friends or months of school… or if you do it is a footnote compared to the time you spent with your family, the many MANY hikes you went on, the fun we had in the back yard, and the thousands of times we sang Some Things Never Change while baking bread or taking your sister on a walk while you tried to push the stroller you are too short to see over.

I love you so much. Even as I hope life soon gets back to a more normal pace, I want to hold on to our hikes and tea parties for as long as you’ll let me share them with you.

So much love,

Mom.

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