I didn’t get a chance to write to you on your birthday. So I wanted to take and make the opportunity now to write to you.
I know you’re three years old and even if I read this to you, you’d probably be on to playing before a paragraph was complete. But some day later, if you want to make the time, you can look back and see and hear and read.
Rachael, I adore you.
You are my little Mommy look-alike, with Daddy’s nose and character. Your patience blows me away sometimes. You have taught me so much in giving someone time to work through something, without pushing them to “get over it” at your own speed. I admire that about you and am really challenged by that in you.
Your nurturing heart is so alive that you just can’t help but care for others. This precious little person in you finds such joy and contentment in serving and caring for others, especially those younger than you. I could not ask for a better “first child” to lead the way by example and grace. But even beyond that, I hope and pray that your compassion never changes as you view others with love, respect and delight.
We have found our clashing in three years old too. You challenge me to learn how to love you, while letting go and letting you feel and sometimes be “in control.” Your autonomy is blooming. You’re trying to find your identity outside of us – while still remaining tapped into the family. It’s like the budding of your teenage years as you try to figure out leadership and followship. Sometimes your autonomy comes off as disrespect, flexing your wills with a selfish motive. But sometimes that autonomy has opened my eyes to the little girl you are becoming and the independent little character that has become alive in you. Even in the moments of fluctuating balance between “your wild side” and your need to be quiet and calm, I want you to know that I am working hard to love you from a confident distance. It’s a new learning curve for me too. I want you to feel my confidence in your ability to try hard, even if the success is variable at this point. I want you to feel my love in me letting you go to make your mistakes and celebrate your successes. You don’t want me to do things for you anymore, unless you’re in a pickle, and I am trying to learn what it means to bless and release. Sometimes it’s more hard than at other times. But loving you the way you understand love is well worth the challenge.
Oh and the delight of your joy – your raw, utter joy. Rachael that joy is so contagious. I just want to soak it up and delight in those moments to their depth with you. Life is so vibrant and exciting for you. Your little body wells up until you explode with uncontrollable delight. Thank you for running to me to share those moments with me. I’m so blessed to be your playmate in those times of excitement to the full. That kind of thrill makes me want to work harder to come up with surprises and ways to make even the ordinary extraordinary. Your energy and light on your face… that is just plain fun.
And then there’s those shy, quiet moments. The timid, reserved Rachael that we have known since birth. Your contentment to take it all in and then choose your time to participate. Sometimes it’s just a bit overwhelming to watch all the business. Sometimes I can see you studying and deciding where you fit into the play group. And while your ambitions tell you to dive right in with confidence, sometimes your calm preferences over-ride. Your ability to sit and be fascinated by books, learning, and wanting to know more. Your desire to accept the challenge of learning a new skill, observing the world around you and figuring out how something works. Sometimes it’s curiosity that fuels your quietness and other times it’s just your desire to study life, and absorb your world. I am thankful for those times of “just sit with me” and “just experience this with me”. I will try to see those more in the chaos of caring for my responsibilities. Those times that are so contrary to your loud independence catch me off guard sometimes and remind me that the difficulties of autonomy come in phases. And even in the toughest looking, most confident looking child is a small person seeking affirmation and quiet love. I love that you are learning the balance of reckless abandonment in a project and reservation. Life calls for both.
Oh Rachael, there is so much depth to your character. There is so much life in your “big girl” world. Your changing and challenging needs followed by your “that’s just our Rachael” consistencies. And even in the most friction-built, power-struggling moments, I see my Rachael in your eyes…
My Rachael whom I delight in. My Rachael whom I love to be with and find such joy in studying, learning and watching. My Rachael who has such passion for life, drive for discovery, and fascination with learning the depth of your own abilities. My Rachael who “needs space” away from and cannot play without her sister in the same moment at the same time. My Rachael who seeks independence, while clinging by Mommy’s side in the same moment. My growing, thriving and delighting Rachael…