To my dear, sweet Blythe Kathleen:

I'm getting a little emotional just thinking about you and reflecting on this year with you. Blythe, you are a very bright light in this family. Just last week I texted your dad about something you said and then I wrote, "I just find myself staring at her lately, completely in awe that she is ours." 

I was looking at your letter I wrote last year and laughed when I said that three seemed so big to me because four? Well four seems nearly impossible. And I know five will hit me even harder. And then you'll be sixteen... I realize we only have 14 more years with you in our house. And I know those years will go fast and I want to cherish them. I want to learn all I can from you, because Blythe, you're teaching me so much already. 

You love people well. You remember people and names and it's not just because you have a freakishly good recall, but it's because you talk with them. You don't talk to them, but with them. You ask questions. Some adults still haven't figured out how to ask questions and show interest in other people, but you do. You find joy in being with others, too. At church I had separate conversations with different teachers in your classroom, and they all asked when your birthday was because they don't want you to move up. You light people up, Blythe. 

You've continued to be a good big sister this year. Becks can do more with you now, and since that has begun I have noticed another first-child trait coming out in you: bossiness. You definitely have an imagination, but you want others to engage with your imagination in the right way. Becks doesn't always want to do this, and there have been some growing pains in that area. But overall? You cater to her. You give up the toy, the show, the thing you want to do to make her happy. You remind her that "Jesus is with you, Becksy", and you sing to her and teach her all sorts of things. You "read" her books and dance with her, and when you're playing outside with her and I'm not there and she falls, you race over to her and hug her and tell her it's okay. You're only two years apart, and that age gap will seem smaller over the years and I'm sure there will be fights and bickering about sharing clothes and car keys and boys. But I also know your heart, and it is good and kind and loves deeply. And I know you will fiercely love her and look out for her and be her best friend. 

You are sharing a room with Becks now too! You were so excited for her to make that move. It wasn't smooth sailing on her part, and it was a transition for you as well, but you helped her feel comfortable and even when she wasn't doing what she was supposed to be doing, you would usually be following the rules. I already hear giggles coming from under the door, and I know down the road you'll both love and hate sharing a room with her, but I also know there will be many great conversations under those covers that grow and bind your hearts to one another.

You are such a conversationalist. [Actually, most days it feels like you never. stop. talking.] You ask challenging questions already. And you talk and sing about Jesus all the time. About a month ago you asked to pray at our supper and then said, with such conviction and emotion, "Thank you, Jesus, for this beautiful day that I can enjoy playing outside. Thank you for Daddy coming home from work. Thank you that Daddy doesn't stay at work all day and can play with me. And praise you that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Amen." Needless to say your dad and I did not exactly have dry eyes after that. You've been interested in the Easter story lately, and have asked questions about heaven, especially since we had to say good bye to one of our favorite people this year: Great Nini Pat.  One day I overheard you singing a song you made up: "Jesus is fast. Jesus is strong. Jesus is kind. Jesus is nice. He is so nice. He's he's he's so niiiiice. He can throw lions. Jesus is perfect. Jesus is is is for meeeee." 

I know right now, at four, the fact that "Jesus can throw lions" makes Him your Savior, your Hero. But we pray that as you continue to grow in your love for and understanding of Him, that He'll become your Hero and Savior because you realize you're not perfect; because you realize the deep, deep significance of the cross and His blood and your sins. We pray that you continue to talk about Him easily and often because you know Him deeply and well. And we pray that your heart always wants to know Him and that your heart would become more and more like His. 

I still can't believe our first year together was so hard. You were such a good baby. You were happy and you slept and you were teeny tiny and easy to love. But that transition to Mom was hard for me. And now, four years later, I can't believe that that is my truth because you have taken my hand and showed me how to grow into this role. I don't know if I could have come out of the funk of that first year if it hadn't have been you. When I find myself losing patience and I snap, it doesn't take me long to see disappointment and hurt in your big brown eyes and know that I need to ask your forgiveness. And every time you give it to me. 

Now, you aren't perfect. You're four. We have moments where we have to discipline you-- moments where you are crying and we [and you!] don't even know why. You're slowly giving up your nap too, which has added to figuring out new ways to find rest and helping you figure out your tired emotions. There are times I need a break from being around all the talking and emotions and needs that come with this life, but it doesn't take many moments of away before I want to be right back with you. 

Your hair has grown a lot this year [finally!], and you just think it is so long. You aren't really into getting dressed up or wearing jewelry or fixing your hair a certain way [the necklace in your pictures was from your dad when he went to Haiti and I helped convince you to wear it] . You actually prefer pants over skirts most days.  I wouldn't say you are a super girly-girl at this stage. We're trying to help you understand the importance of modesty even now, and when you have on particularly tight pants you'll ask, "Is this shirt long enough to cover my bottom?" And I want to strike up the band at how proud I am of you in that moment. I know the battle for your modesty will be a long one, but as one of the traits we pray for you we hope you hold on to these little things. 

You really love music. You can hear a part of a song one time on the radio and immediately recognize and sing with it the next time. You love your drums and harmonica and just singing in general. You also really love sweet stuff. A lot. But overall your appetite has gotten a lot better and you'll eat more of a variety. However, you don't like your food touching at all and I've noticed that you've even started wiping your fork off in between foods. That's weird. But I guess we can live with it. :). You've really started to stretch out and thin down over the last couple months too. Your face looks so thin and old to me now. And beautiful. You are just so beautiful to us, Blythe. 

I know this year is going to be another year of big changes for you. A new baby sister to love, for starters. I know, without a doubt, that you will grow into your role as big sister in new and beautiful ways, and you'll show us how to love our newest family member in ways we hadn't thought about until you taught us. I know you'll be a great example to Becks of what it looks like to be selfless sometimes. This is also our last year at home together, you and me and your sisters. I've decided not to send you to an official preschool. I don't think you really need it, and I just plan on working with you some here. I know you would love preschool, without a doubt. But I'm hoping that in ten or fifteen years you and I both look back on this last year at home with each other and are thankful for that time, for that season.

Just yesterday, in the wee hours of the morning, we had to take you to the doctor. You had spiked a crazy high fever and developed a hacking cough. Your sparkling eyes were dull. And as we drove in the early morning light, I watched your dad hold your hand, and read to you, and give you sips of water. He sat with you in the hospital bed and, in a weak and raspy voice you were still so polite to the nurses and doctors, saying "Excuse me" before you interrupted them to ask them a question, or "thank you" when they listened to your breathing. When a couple of them left the room you looked at me and said, "They were really nice." When the x-ray tech came in she said she was going to take a picture of you and your dad and I had to step just out of the room into the doorway. We watched as she positioned the machine and then she said, "Okay. It's ready." And you tried to smile. Your dad and I wiped the tears from our eyes in that moment because it was just so you. We're thankful it wasn't anything major, and that you're such a champ, but seeing you sick always reminds us of how precious your life is and how much those sparkling eyes mean to us. 

You know this by now, without a doubt, but your dad and I are just figuring out this parenting thing day by day. We do things wrong. We will continue to do things wrong. But we hope you always feel loved. We hope you always understand the why behind our no-s. We hope you feel safe in the boundaries we set. We hope you feel freedom in the wide open places we leave for you. We hope you see God in our actions and words. We hope when you leave our little home for good and go out on your own that you'll look back on this simple little life we had together-- chaos and mistakes and messes and all-- and see that it was Grace that held us together; that you see that it was God's daily bread that provided it all. 

Oh sweet Blythe, you are something else. We love you intensely and deeply and more than we could have dreamed that day back in 2012 when they laid you on my chest. 

Happy 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
*Third birthday letter HERE

1 comment:

*carrie* said...

Happy 4th birthday, Blythe! Hope you're feeling better.