happy birthday, my little

My little love,

Happy 4th Birthday to you, sweet one! I am so happy to celebrate you on this day. 

This birthday seems big to me, bigger than the first 3. I think it's because you're truly a little girl now. There's no more baby-ness to you. 4 feels like you are now officially a "kid" and that excites me and makes my stomach fall all in one fell swoop. People tell daddy and I all the time not to blink because we'll miss it, you growing up. In a sense it does feel like just a blink -- how can you be 4 years old now? I was just holding you in my arms for the first time, my perfect, blue-eyed, rosy baby girl. However, in that "blink" I have countless memories of you stowed away, moments where time stood still just long enough to soak up the smells, the sounds, the feelings, the thoughts of those moments, moments that my mommy heart will keep wrapped up forever. I've written many of them down, but some of them I keep treasured up just for me, and I'm so thankful for every single one of them. 

This year has been a constant state of growth and change, my AK. The way that you communicate, so thoughtfully and so strongly, and in that I'm learning to communicate back to you in a way that always displays the patience and understanding of Jesus. The way you imagine, the ways I see your creativity, and in that I'm learning how to always make our home a place that nourishes that beautiful creativity. The way that you love to help and learn and ask "why?", and in that I'm learning to let you try, to treasure the memories and chill out about the messes, to patiently answer your questions and encourage your curiosity. The way that you are learning to be braver, to step outside of your comfort zone, and in that I'm learning to be brave with you, to not hold too tightly, and to remember that you belong to Jesus before you belong to me. The way that you are learning to obey, to speak kindly, to love unselfishly, and in that I'm learning to give you grace, to be faithful and consistent, and to always show you that I love you vastly more than I love myself.

I realize more as time passes the true depth of the gift it is to be your mommy. The Lord was so kind to choose me to be the one who held you for the first time and who gets to adventure through everyday with you now. The Lord reminds me often to trust you to Him and my greatest prayer will never cease to be that you trust Him yourself. Watching your understanding of what He has done for you grow is so beautiful and I pray that so soon you will know Him as your Savior. 

You are a delight, my precious Little. Your giggle is throughly contagious, your scrunchy-nosed smile would melt any heart, and your hugs and kisses are magic. I adore how you thrill at being my sous-chef, how you sing everything like I do, how you are so thoughtful and jump at any change to help, how you continually ask and pray for a baby for our family, how you never cease to let us know where your heart and mind are at ;), how you are so attentive and aware, how daddy is your hero, how you like to dream along with us, how excited you get about taking trips, but how much you love being home. You sanctify us and you make our hearts burst with joy. You keep our home lively and our hearts so humble. I treasure all the days with you. 

Happy Birthday, my darling Anna Kate. I love you forever.