To my dear, sweet Blythe Kathleen:

Three seems so big to me-- so not baby anymore. But it still seems like yesterday when I was holding 6 pound 5 ounce YOU in my arms after a crazy fast delivery. It still seems like yesterday that I was rocking you and swaddling you and feeding you in those quiet, beautiful midnight hours. But it wasn't yesterday. It was three years ago. There have been moments of frustration and chaos and crazy, but I am not exaggerating when I say that you have made every single day more fun. You've made every day of our last three years more full in the best ways possible. 

This past year was full of so much change for you, and  you took it all in stride. When you met your new sister, and we brought her home, you were so proud to show her off to people. And your "Becksy" soon became special to you. You never showed jealousy towards her [okay, twice: once when Torri was holding her, and once when your Dad accidentally put your coat on her. But seriously, that was all]. You loved her so fiercely from the start, and made the transition to a family of four easier for all of us. If you hear Becks crying, you nearly always remind her, "Don't cry, Becks. Jesus is right here with you," or you run and get your special blanket for her. No one can make her laugh like you can. You didn't just earn the title of "big sister" this year: you became a big sister.

In  the last six months I feel like you've physically changed a lot. You just seemed to stretch out and get taller and thinner and more little girl like. I said in my letter to you last year that you weighed thirty pounds, which means you have slimmed down this year because you're about thirty three pounds now. [When you get on the scale at Papa's house you say, "Thirty pounder!"]. You still aren't a great eater. You love bread and noodles and crackers. You also like green beans though, and go through spurts of loving broccoli. And man oh man do you have a sweet tooth like your daddy. When you've had a good day, or sometimes just because, he will bring you a "diamond chocolate" [Hershey Kiss] from his work.

You and your "Dada" have something special. This past year you sometimes cried when he had to leave for work in the morning and there were times I really thought you had convinced him to just stay home. You got really sick this past winter, and just weren't yourself. Your dad could hardly stand it, and when you finally got to feeling better he told me that he realized you are like a drug to him: "Without her I have withdrawals. I need little hits throughout my day." There are parts of your personality that are so much like his: you stay pretty even and calm. Don't get me wrong-- you are three, and high energy and love to talk and be around people [like your mama], but there is something internal about you that is steady, just like him.

Speaking of talking...whew! Girl, you could talk to a brick wall for hours. You were already talking a lot last year at this time, but every day I think you gained twenty words. Sometimes you pull words out and I don't even know where they come from-- just today you used the word "dialect"! What you come up with cracks us up, and I've started writing down some of the funny things you say that make us laugh. Some of our favorites include: Can we do that for a little minute? / I'm gonna puh-rize you. / [every time we get in the car] You're a good driver, Daddy. / Sucker moon [when the moon is full]./ Hand duh-tizer. / Listen to my ear. [listen to what I'm about to say closely]. / I'm not too big; I'm just a little big. / Laugh me. / Two whiles ago. / If something isn't today or tomorrow it's to-later or to-now. /

From the moment you wake up in the morning until your head hits the pillow again, you are making conversation. You ask questions and crack jokes. You play eye-spy. You tell me things constantly that I didn't know you knew. Just last week we were driving and you looked out the window and said, "Look Mommy, the grass is green. Blue and yellow make green." I was shocked that you knew that! It was something you had just picked up from throwing colored bath fizzies in the water at night. You don't miss anything. We went up to the school for a "health screening" last week, and one of the questions was, "Does she use 2 or 3 words to form a sentence?" My answer: Two or three paragraphs. 

This year was also the year of potty training. Oh Blythe girl, it was interesting to say the least. I recently read a book and the author said, "Potty training is not a fun subject to reminisce about. It's more like a horrible death march through a haunted forest, and the trees are made of angry bears that you're allergic to...Like, it's so awful you want to just make your kid go live outside for the rest of their life." While it wasn't quite that terrible, it wasn't fun. I think it was difficult for me because you are so smart that I had really high expectations that you would take to it right away. We started in July. By August you were okay. But I wouldn't say you were potty trained until January. But you got there. And you are now. And it is awesome. Except when it's not: like when we're in the car and you have to go right now. Or I'm in the middle of making supper and holding Becks and on the phone and you have to go right now. [You still can't really get your pants down and get on the potty and wipe yourself, so you need assistance.] I'm just telling you these things so that when you are raising kids someday and people tell you that kids who are potty-trained are way more convenient, don't listen to them ;). I am really proud of you for sticking with it though, and not getting too upset with yourself along the way. And I am even more proud that you stuck with your frazzled, impatient mama through it all.

I want you to know: people love you. And I am pretty sure this is because you love people, and because you let people in. I pray this is always true. I hope that others always feel welcome to be around you, and that they feel loved by you in deep and real ways. This year you learned the meaning of all of the traits your dad and I have been praying for you, and you can say: JOY- happy you can't take away. COMPASSION- my heart hurts when your heart hurts. MODESTY- live with less. HOSPITALITY- come in, you're welcome. My heart wants to burst open when I see these traits become more than just phrases you've memorized; when I see you full to the brim with a deep, abiding joy, and when I see you welcome others in our home and say, unprompted, "Thank you so much for coming. Come again," when they leave. Or when I see you picking out some of your toys to give to kids "that don't have any toys" and not throwing fits at the store when you see something you like and I tell you we don't need it. I tell you to put it back and say, "See you next time!" And you do. And in that moment I see the result of our prayers that you would know need versus want. I see you run to Becks when she is crying and soothe her with a look of concern.  We continue to pray these things over you, Blythe.

But mostly we pray you would know Jesus. You love to sing songs about Him, and have memorized some verses. You can almost sing all the books of the Old Testament. You are filled with Bible stories, your favorites being Jonah, and David and Goliath, and The Parable of the Lost Coin, and The Prodigal Son. You're learning to pray for others, and days after we've prayed for someone you'll remember to ask me, "Is ______ still sick/at the hospital?" You've grown to love our quiet times in the morning, and we sip coffee and eat crackers and talk about Jesus. But I pray that He will become your Savior and your friend. This year our neighbor, Keith, passed away. One night you wanted to pray for him because he had been in the hospital. I tried to explain that he was actually okay now because he was with Jesus. You looked at me thoughtfully, your brown-black eyes processing it, and then you placed your little hand on your heart and said, "So Keith is right here, with Jesus? In my heart?" I choked back tears, and silently prayed that Jesus is in your little heart.

Blythe, your dad and I love you so very much. We can read every emotion in your big brown eyes. When we have to discipline you and you scream and cry and don't understand, know that we are doing it because we want you to learn there is right and wrong. When we don't let you run into the street after a ball, know that we are trying to teach you freedom in boundaries. Most of all know that most of the time we are doing our best for you and because of you. Most of the time we are learning as we go, and praying for wisdom and guidance and asking people far better at this than we are for some pointers. Most of the time we are just trusting a God that is bigger than all of this and all of us that He is holding you in His hands. Faith in parenting is scary, but we know you are His more than you are ours.

For Christmas you got a book called "It Will Be Okay," and we read it several times throughout the week. It is about a seed that wants to stay in the shed where it is safe and dry.  But "The Farmer is good, and the Farmer is kind, and the Farmer was always watching over him, even when he didn't know." And the seed is one day planted in a "dark, messy place." And he is scared. And it feels funny. He says, "I want to trust, even when I can't see. But how in the world is this good for me?" But in the end the seed grew: "From the messy, dark place, I grew and grew. From a seed to a tree- only the Farmer knew."

At he end of the book it says: "Trust this truth in the tough things you face. Confusing times in the messy, hard place. God love you, and He is kind. Remember this always in your heart and your mind."

And Blythe, you are starting to be fearful of things. The dark and loud noises and crawly things. And every time you cry in fear I say, "Jesus is the..." and you say, "Light of the world!" And you and I are both learning to trust that light as we walk this journey of your life together. The Farmer is good, and the Farmer is kind, and the Farmer is always watching over us. It will be okay.

Oh Blythe, we are bursting with love for you. We usually sneak into your room at night after you're asleep just to stare and you and smell you one more time before the day is done. I never thought I'd be that creepy kind of parent that does that sort of thing, but we just can't get enough of you. Thank you for making us laugh every single day. I know you didn't get to choose who your parents were, and I know somedays you'll probably be embarrassed by us, but we are so thankful it was you who made us parents three years ago.

We've loved you since I first took that test back in the summer of 2011-- since we first heard your little heartbeat in the doctor's office as she held the microphone to my stomach-- since they laid you on my chest at 11:12 p.m. three years ago today.

Happy third birthday, Blythe Kathleen!! There is nothing you can ever do that will make us stop loving you.

* Read Blythe's Birth Story HERE
* Story behind her name HERE
* First birthday letter HERE
* Second birthday letter HERE
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*carrie* said...

Happy birthday, Blythe! Hope you had a fun Nemo party!

Brent said...

Thank you Kelsey! Loved it!