Dear Big Girl,
I know it’s been a while but well, that’s just kind of the way things go these days, right? I wish I could be better about keeping up with you, however, I don’t think anyone other than another four year old could keep up with you! It’s a pretty big deal, isn’t it? This being four years old? Being three, well, that’s for babies. Four years old means in just another year, you’ll be five and practically grown. You’re already in preschool now and that’s really close to being in real school. I mean, come on, when you’re in first grade, you’re practically paying taxes!
At least, that’s what you’d have your sister believe. Because being a four year old big sister is all of a sudden made you into this really big kid. And sometimes I have to agree with you, on your being big, even though there’s a part of me that will always see you as this tiny little thing that fit perfectly into the crook of my neck. If I think about that and how little you were just yesterday (I swear it was just yesterday) I’ll be in tears. Then you’ll come over to me and ask what’s wrong and why am I crying? And I’ll tell you that they are happy tears because I love you so much. And I’ll remind you that you cry at the end of Beauty And The Beast because it’s the most perfect movie ever and you’ll say, “Oh yeah mama, I know what you mean.”
As you’ve gotten closer to being four, I’ve seen some of the dramatics I was warned about start showing through. The disaster, and end of the world, and I can’t get it right the first time so why even try emotions start showing up. That’s hard for me to manage, it really is. Because in the meantime, your sister is screaming how she’s not going to wear socks or pants for that matter and we’re already seven minutes late to leave and for the love of all that’s good in the world, please, just pick up your water bottle even though it’s the wrong color and just get out the door won’t you? So that’s hard for me; I’m not the most patient person in the world and slightly prone to dramatics myself (or so I’ve been told.) I try to remember though, on the flip side of that coin, are the most incredible and amazing emotions I’ve ever seen in a child your age. You radiate sweetness and caring, you really do. You surprise me with just your innate desire to have everyone around you happy. See Eliza, she doesn’t really care as long as she’s happy. You, on the other hand, sometimes at your own expense, want to make everyone around you happy. Mama, you said the other day, Eliza is having a rough time so I let her snuggle Mr Brown Dog because she needed him.
The radiating sweetness bit, not an exaggeration. People meet you for the first time and they tell me, man, she’s just the sweetest child, isn’t she? And I have to say, yes, yes she is. We walk into Target and you slip your hand in mine (you’re way too big to ride in the cart now unless it’s standing up on the outside of it) and there’s just this perfect contentment that comes over me. Just this feeling of rightness and wholeness and you make me happier when you are with me. And in the middle of Target, that’s sometimes a pretty overwhelming feeling. You say things to me like, oh mama, I like this dress, but I have enough dresses at home, don’t I? And I look at you and say, how, how did I get this lucky that you are mine?
You make me want to be a better parent, a better person. I don’t think many parents look at their kids and say hey, I want to be more like my four year old. Which just points out the fact that trust me, there is very little I have done to “make” you this way. We just got blessed; no special mommy magic that I possess or anything like that; we just got very, very, very blessed.
You have your moments of course, you are just four years old after all. You really don’t like sharing. You firmly believe possession is 9/10ths of the law and you certainly aren’t opposed into convincing little sister to leave something for just a minute while you’ll hold it for her. Sure you will. And she’s not getting it back for the rest of the day, sucker. You don’t understand why you can only sleep with two blankets and five babies. That’s not nearly enough. You don’t understand that “spinny dresses” aren’t appropriate attire for every single event. You don’t understand that sometimes, you just have to wear panties because we said so.
You’d eat your weight in raspberries if we could afford it. You mostly love the color pink but as long as it’s on a dress, you’ll wear it, whatever color it is. You like nightgowns, but are amused by pajamas with feet in them. You’ll wear two piece PJs as long as they have some princess related something on them. You are firmly in the princess obsessed category. You don’t really like “The Paper Bag Princess” because it doesn’t end the Disney has brainwashed you already into believe stories should end. But you did tell me you wanted to be a dragon for Halloween, so it gives me hope all isn’t lost. You can’t wait to run your first race with mama. You wanted a real bike for your birthday, one with pedals. So you got one, but it’s green not pink. You were okay with that because it came with a cool backpack instead of a basket. You wanted me to make you a teeny tiny elephant for your birthday and then picked out this cheap horrible sparkly gray yarn for me to use. And I made you one, even though the stuff was so awful I thought it was going to make my fingers bleed. You love and adore your Papaw and beyond a shadow of a doubt your most favorite thing in the entire world is Mr Brown Dog. Still.
You still don’t like going to sleep. You really really don’t like scary stuff. You don’t like spicy food, which is a shame because you used to like but something happened to turn you off of it. You don’t like asparagus. You don’t eat the crusts of bread, even though we never ever have cut the crusts off of bread for you. You think you’re supposed to like sweet foods, so you try them, but you really don’t have a sweet tooth. You don’t like ants. You don’t like flying bugs. Once I made you cry because you were annoying me so much by being incredibly whiny about this fly that was in house. So I told you the bug just wanted to be your friend and was coming to say hello but you hurt the bug’s feelings when you tried to smack it. You cried, a lot. And I felt kind of bad but it was also really funny, so I posted it on facebook.
I’ve realized I probably need to get you your own email address and facebook account, although I’m sure there will be something much cooler than facebook by the time you get old enough to start using things like that. You look at any computer screen and assume it’s a touch screen. You look at phones that don’t play videos like you have no idea what they are used for. You’re more used to video chatting with your grandparents than you are talking to them on the phone. Your life is chronicled in status updates, blog posts, tweets and filtered instagram photos.
And sometimes I get scared by the world you’re growing up in these days. How so much seems wrong and scary and big. I worry for you. A lot. It hurts my heart to think about the life lessons you’re going to start learning soon, much sooner than I’d like. I still want to protect you, to keep you safe from everything, to do all I can to make this world as perfect of a place as you deserve. But then, you ask to read “Gorp and The Space Pirates” and everything settles back in to place. My dad read that book to me a thousand times if he read it once and he had the same worries and fears I have for you. And I turned out okay, well, pretty much.
You’ve changed a lot this past year but that goes without saying. It’s always a fun game for dad and I to play, saying, remember when Marion liked this but now she can’t stand it? Or remember how since she was born, Marion’s always been this way? We get these occasional glimpses of what you’ll be like as you grow up. Sometimes it’s a look, a glance, something you’ll say and I think to myself, man, I cannot wait to see this girl grown up.
We are both so lucky now; we get to spend every Wednesday together in just a mama and Marion day. Beans is in mother’s day out and your preschool is only on Tuesday and Thursdays so we get five awesome hours of just one on one time with each other every week. It’s pretty awesome, at least for me. We do a lot of the same stuff that we did before there was a little sister in our lives but of course, that was years ago, and I have to admit, it’s a lot more fun and easy now with you. There’s a lot that I miss about how little you used to be but it’s a lot more fun now to have your (constant) narration of telling me what you think rather than just trying to guess, why is she crying now?
I love you so much Marion. You really are one of the best things that has ever happened to me and (most days) it’s the biggest joy of my life to be your mom.
Happy fourth birthday Widget