And Then She Was Four
a letter to my daughter on her fourth birthday
My sweet Riley Mae,
You have been counting down the days to your birthday for more days than I can count. I just tucked you in your new big girl bunk bed and it truly hit me how far we’ve come in four short years. The days (and years) truly fly but I try to hit pause in the sweet moments that make me appreciate how truly lucky your Daddy and I are to be your parents.
I remember hearing your cry for the first time in the hospital and that overwhelming sense of relief, excitement, fear, love, curiosity, exhaustion and more — all wrapped up in one moment. Ahh — my little love.
I love you with every ounce of my being.
While pregnancy wasn’t my absolute favorite thing in the world, I can’t deny how absolutely magical and significant it was to feel you move inside my tummy. I’ve loved you from those first moments and will never stop loving you — no matter what lies ahead of us from here.
You are kind. You are beautiful. You are strong. You are stubborn and you are smart. You make me proud to be your mom. Inside and out, my dear — you are so beautiful. You truly light up a room and are so loved by so many people in your life.
You say the most ridiculous things that make your Dad and I laugh out loud almost daily. I hope you never lose your confidence and ability to radiate joy to others.
In this season, I think what I love most is how much you love to help. Just the other day we were out in the garage painting the wall and you looked at me and said — “Mama, we’re girls and we’re busy and we have a lot of work to do but we’re strong.” You are truly a wonderful helper and always willing to step in and give whatever I’m working on a try. Yeah, the project might take me twice as long and the laundry usually has to be folded more than once but these sweet memories I have with you will last for the rest of my life.
I love how artistic you are. You are always working on something and the light that radiates from you when you show me your piece of art is something I can’t adequately put into words. As I type this you have about 10 pieces of your most recent art projects taped on the walls of your new bedroom upstairs and while my OCD self really wants to take them down, I simply can’t bring myself to do it — not yet, anyway. I can’t wait to show you your art bin someday when you’re older because I keep almost everything you create with those precious little hands of yours.
If I can teach you anything, Riley — dream big. If you want something, sweetheart — go for it. You are capable of anything and everything all at the same time and I hope you never let anyone tell you that you are anything less. And if they do that you have the strength and confidence to never let it derail you from achieving great things in your life.
I want you to always stay true to who you are and remember that at one time in your life you were given a toy microphone that played your favorite song, Let It Go, and you ran through the entire store of Target singing and dancing along to it on repeat for a solid 30 minutes. I loved every second of it and so did you. You didn’t care about anyone else but the blissful moment you were in and I’ll never forget how beautiful that was to witness. Please just always stay weird and silly — because it’s the most amazing kind of weird and you wouldn’t be you without it!
I know right now you’re just four and the world is still so new but someday I look forward to sharing with you just how much you have made an impact on my life in these four short years. You’ve pushed me to be a better person and I count my blessings every day for that. I don’t think I would have ever found my true passion for what I do now without your existence. You’ve given me a title and badge of honor to be a Mom and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I love that I get to call you my daughter.
Happy Fourth Birthday, Riley.
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