Right now you are fast asleep, still recovering from a late night at Daddy’s basketball game last night. Your presents are all laid out, and a breakfast is waiting for you when you wake up. So I’m just sitting here, sipping coffee, and wondering how on earth it is possible that today you are four. The past year has been by far the most challenging to parent you. And I say that with all the love in the world. It’s not just that you’re growing up, it’s that you are developing this entire personality that is a force to be reckoned with. And it’s changing every single day.
There are some moments where I feel like I know you inside and out, that there is nothing you could say that would surprise me. And then there are times where it seems as though you are developing by the minute and I can’t possibly keep up with all your adventures. You certainly got my strong personality, and your Dad’s stubbornness, so that’s been fun to negotiate with. Your energy knows no limits either, and there are plenty of days where I’m ready to crash before you are. You write your name, count to 20, speak more and more Spanish every day, know all your colors and shapes, and you are better at playing Memory than your Daddy. You say the funniest things and the way your mind works entertains me to no end.
You still say “Tora” instead of “Cora”, and you hate having your hair brushed in the morning. You could watch TV all day if I let you, and we’ve gone a few rounds when you don’t want to walk somewhere any more. This age is such a battle of the wills. You KNOW what you want, but I know what I want, so some days it seems it’s a fight to the death to see who will win. But still, when it’s finally time to sleep at night, you cuddle up next to me for a bedtime story and all is right in the world. You always come back, that sweet little girl who is as tender and sensitive as she is smart and compassionate.
And then I remember that YOU made me a mom. YOU are the reason we are a family. You take care of Issa like the most amazing big sister, and you notice when I’m tired or cranky and ask me what’s wrong. You make me a better person, and you’ve helped me to grow more than I knew was possible. I always heard people say that their kids taught them lessons, and didn’t really believe it. But it’s true. You’ve taught me to be more patient, more understanding, to think outside of myself. You’ve brought out the best in our family, and I hope you know that we would do anything for you.
Someday I hope you read this and have fun learning what you were like at this age. But more than that, I hope you discover that I loved you fiercely, as did your Daddy, and we were happy. We would not be the same without you. May you always remember that, and know that we are honored to know you and be with you through every stage in life. Here’s to three, and here’s to four. If this upcoming year is anything like the last, it’s going to be one for the books.