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A birthday letter for Elizabeth

2010 September 19
by Pamela

Dear Sweet Elizabeth,

Happy birthday, my little ray of sunshine.  You are TWO years old today, although you keep insisting it is your 4th birthday.  That is so you, always eager to be the “big kid”. 

We are celebrating your day with some of your favorites:  Bacci, Papa, Gamma, Megan, Mo-rah, Alaina, and of course your beloved CeCe (sissy).  It has been a busy week for us, so I was especially relieved when I heard your birthday dinner request: “hot dog, chips, pop, bun, cupcakes, pinkalicious”.  Your sister’s last birthday dinner request included steak and creme brulee so making cupcakes will be a breeze.

You have grown up so much in the last year!  It’s hard to believe a year ago you looked like this:

You still had so much baby in you then.  Maybe you’ve grown up so much because of all the new experiences you’ve had this year.  People sometimes say that every stage in their child’s life is their favorite.  Me, I know for certain that having a 1 1/2 – 2 year old is my absolute favorite.  You approach every new experience with such joy.  You are fully in every moment, whether it be taking a walk down the street or playing in the sand.  I’m learning from you in that regard.  You truly live in the present.

This year you started riding a bike, learned to jump on a trampoline, went sledding, played at a beach for the first time, went camping, petted a horse, rode on your first merry-go-round, and decided there is nothing more fun than wearing someone else’s shoes.  If anyone can’t find their shoes, even guests know to ask you where they are.

You are quite agile for your age.  You can do perfect somersaults and jump on the trampoline in a way that makes everyone stop to watch you.  Your method is to puff your chest out, point your toes so your legs curve slightly behind your body, and then leap as if you are a bow who might be able to pluck an arrow straight into the clouds. 

Your coordination includes fine motor skills too.  You have quite a knack, for instance, of using markers to color all over yourself, including your ears.  You are able to sit still for longer periods too.  Even a couple of months ago I couldn’t get you to stay at the table when Mary Claire and I were doing school.  Now you will stay put the entire time, as long as I give you a steady supply of craft materials. 

But the way in which you most excel is your speech.  You’ve been speaking in complete sentences for so long I don’t remember when you first started.  You have lots of funny Elizabeth-isms though.  I still can’t bear to correct them since they are so cute.  My favorite is “take a hand”, which means “hold my hand”.  Then there is “my do it” and our least favorite, “my don’t want to”.

In some ways it seems like someone forgot to cut the umbilical cord between us.  Whether it be the middle of the night or first thing in the morning, I often wake up 30 seconds before you do.   Even though we sleep in separate rooms, I will lay very still, willing you to sleep longer.  But inevitably you bound into the room a minute later saying “Hi Mommy!  I seep (sleep) all night Mommy!  Can I watch a show?  Can I have some chocate milk?  Can I get dressed?”

You are usually the happiest first thing in the morning.  Cece (Mary Claire) sleeps for at least an hour longer than you do so you have me all to yourself.  We sit and have our “chocate” milks, mine a protein shake, yours a good old Hershey syrup laced sippy cup.  You love this special time and I’ve learned how important it is for me to sit with you, even though I’d like nothing more than to slap Dora upside the head at 8 a.m.

We spend at least an hour together, snuggling, looking at stories, fighting over the blanket, and watching Dora and Big Bird.  It’s pretty much the only time you sit still the entire day so I’ve learned to cherish those moments with you.

When we went on vacation to Manistee and Bay Harbor this summer, you got used to sleeping in a big girl bed.  We figured that since you were going to have to move into one soon anyway, we might as well transition you into Mary Claire’s room and the bunk bed now.  It turned out to be one of the best decisions we’ve made for you.  You started sleeping through the night.  We were starting to wonder if it was ever going to happen.  Believe me, you are still not up for Sleeper of the Year award.  That honor is forever going to your sister.  But until the last week you have been sleeping through the night 4-5 times a week and waking up only briefly on the other nights.

I have no idea what’s going on with you this week though.  I’m not going to dwell on it since this is your birthday letter and all, but for GOODNESS SAKE, QUIT WAKING UP FOUR TO FIVE TIMES A NIGHT FOR NO GOOD REASON AT ALL!  And also, please don’t pretend like none of it ever happened and wake up extra early the following day, using your usual wake-up greeting of “Hi Mommy, I seep all night!” 

Sorry, I had to get that out.

Not only do you test limits on how little sleep a toddler can get and still function, you test limits in every other way too.  If we tell you to stay away from the street, you will edge your little toes  up to the dividing line between the driveway and street, then look over at us smugly.  When it comes to some things, like asking you to turn over whatever contraband you have in your hand, you just look at us matter-of-factly and say “No, my don’t want to” and then walk away.  Which is one of the many reasons you have the nickname Stinker Butt.  If we still call you that in 7th grade, well, it’s your own fault.

Elizabeth, you are the little girl who LOVES to have people around.  You have your little neighborhood entourage and you never get weary from noise, friends, and action.  Your motto seems to be “Life is about finding the next party”.  It’s gotten to the point that your mother, who loves quiet, actually prefers to have children at our house because it makes you so happy (and less needy of me, frankly). 

You are full of energy, hardly ever fearful, willing to try anything, full of “I yove you”s, and always ready to greet everything with enthusiasm.

It goes without saying that you take after your Daddy in all those ways, including the not needing sleep part.  I’m praying your sibling in my womb takes after me when it comes to sleep though. 

Elizabeth, I’ve learned so much from you this year.  I am learning about what is truly important and what can wait.  I’m learning how a positive attitude and paying attention to what is happening around me – instead of what needs to happen next – can help me truly live in the moment like you do now.

I can’t imagine our lives before you came to be with us.  I thank God that He entrusted you into our care and I am thankful for every moment we have together. 

After we sing “Twinkle twinkle little star” at night-night time, I make the sign of the cross on your forehead and pray this over you:

May the Lord smile upon you and be gracious to you, the Lord turn His face upon you and give you peace (Numbers 6:25-26)

It will be a prayer I pray for you always.

Because of your love for me, my own heart has grown bigger.  I have cherished this year with you and can’t wait to see how you grow and evolve as my two-year-old little girl.

I love you so much,

Mama

P.S.  I spelled a lot of Elizabeth’s favorite words phonetically in this post so I could try to remember her speech patterns.  Spellcheck didn’t fail me, I just ignored it.

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9 Responses leave one →
  1. September 19, 2010

    Beautiful!!!

    P.S. Can I have a birthday letter from you too?? :)

  2. Jane Browne permalink
    September 19, 2010

    Hi Pamela,

    Your kids and family are very lucky to have you in their lives. What a beautiful letter to Elizabeth. You need to start writing a book, become famous and earn lots of cash and not forget us when you’ve made it!! Good job Pamela and Happy Birthday to Elizabeth. You know I love that little girl!!

    Love, Jane

  3. Stefanie permalink
    September 19, 2010

    What a great idea – writing a birthday letter. Your children can go back to those letters and will always know how loved they are. Beautiful pictures! Happy Birthday to Elizabeth!

  4. John B permalink
    September 19, 2010

    That’s awesome, Pam!! Happy Birthday to Elizabeth!!

  5. Carrie Harrison permalink
    September 19, 2010

    This is such a good idea! It makes me want to start this with Carson. I was doing update posts but I love the letter form idea. Elizabeth has grown so much this year… looking forward to seeing her grow in the many years to come.

  6. Jenny Baugh permalink
    September 19, 2010

    That was a beautiful letter Pamela. It makes me think back to my kids being that little. It is such a blessing to look at the world through their eyes. You are an awesome Mom and Bob is a great Dad. Your girls are blessed!

  7. denise gonzales permalink
    September 19, 2010

    what a beautiful idea to start something that meaningful….something that you and she can go on doing forever. as she gets older she will really realize how much her mom and dad want her life to be so special.

  8. Tami permalink
    September 20, 2010

    What a great letter!!!

  9. Papa Petros (Peter) permalink
    October 8, 2010

    Bob, I must say that the photographs of you and the family, especially of the girls (I would like to hear your version of the birthing scenario, by the way) are truly precious, adorable, and speak volumes of the kind of guy, father, and husband that you are!

    Check out also, the book titled, “The Council of Dads”, but don’t share it with anyone in the family any time soon, and better still, never. May our precious Lord, God, and Saviour, Jesus Christ allow you to see your children’s children in health, with happiness, and abiding in Love, with an abiding unity of your marriage: bed and covenant and beyond. I pray that the Lord also gives health to your loving wife, mother, and partner (albiet un-managable with money and such). Practically, one thing I would hate for you to regret in your long life, is not having taught Pammy (forgive me, Pamela) how to handle finances.

    In addition, the girls may not be able to find a good guy as you.

    As I will continue to pray for you and yours, please do the same for me. Love ya, brother! p

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