Happy Third Birthday, Angel Baby!

My sweet Ella Jane, 

You are turning three years old this week! How has it been three whole years since I first held you in my arms? Every moment of those three years has been a joy. There have been lots of moments where I’ve been frustrated. There have been lots of moments where I’ve felt like I can never be a good enough mommy for you. There have been moments where I’ve been so proud of you my heart could burst. Every single moment I’ve loved you with everything I am. As you’ve grown, I’ve watched God develop personality and character in you, despite my shortcomings. I’m so thrilled I get to watch you grow into the person He’s created you to be. 

You are keenly aware of people, emotions, and social cues. Just a few nights ago we were hosting weekly bible study. We use a stack of identical green plastic cups and after supper has begun there are usually at least ten identical cups of water on the table. You know exactly whose cup is whose. In fact, the other night you asked a friend why she had two cups, because our friend picked up her son’s cup for a drink. It made us laugh and my friend said, “You have an observant one!” I adamantly agree. When we are watching movies or reading books you quickly notice the character’s emotions. You even pick up on little things like lighting, setting and, in the case of movies, background music, and comment that something is sad or scary. However, your observational skills and emotional awareness don’t stop with fictional stories or cups on the table. You notice those who are hurting around you. You offer your siblings encouragement exactly when they need it. You rejoice with them when they are excited. Which brings me to my next point. 

You are thoughtful. Your awareness of others doesn’t end there. You take action. When you notice someone hurting, you stop what you’re doing and take time out of your day to comfort them. If they are happy, you take the time to rejoice with them. These days especially, most of your imaginative play focuses on caring for the needs of others. You’re almost constantly, “taking care of your babies”. Your baby dolls and stuffed animals receive the tender care that you offer to all people. You also love to play doctor and I’m so excited to see you use the toy doctor’s kit you got for your birthday. You understand that your sister is learning to talk and you exuberantly praise her when she strings together an understandable sentence. When your brother is upset you instantly go to him, make a goofy face and say “Booga! Booga!” This almost always makes him laugh. Certainly not always as you are a flawed human being, just like your mommy, but oftentimes you choose to look past your own desires and see the needs of others. 

You are a leader. Today at church I was walking past your classroom and I hear you proclaim, “I’m the mommy, ok! You’re the baby!” I’m pretty sure you were directing your order to all five of your classmates. It made me laugh, smile, and think about how best to teach you kind, servant leadership. You fill your role of firstborn well and assume that those anywhere near your age want to take orders from you. As I try and look forward, I am so excited to see how God will use your gift of leadership. Whether you are leading your kids towards Christ, leading a women’s bible study anywhere in the world, or leading a company, I’m thrilled I’ll get to watch. 

You love: people, playgrounds, church, learning and pb&j sandwiches. You love being around people. You always do a “headcount” and notice when someone is missing, because you genuinely care about others. Your favorite places are playgrounds where you get to explore, exert independence, run and get muddy. You love the fellowship of believers we get to be a part of and look forward to it each week. I see you thrive as you’re beginning to learn your letter sounds and how to blend those sounds into words. It makes you so excited to know that one day you will be an independent reader. Your favorite food, the only thing I can guarantee you will always eat, is peanut butter and jelly. That’s been your favorite for a while now because I remember you had that for lunch on your first birthday as well. I guess I’m glad it’s decently healthy. 

You dislike: having your hair washed and vegetables. Having your hair washed is in your opinion, one of the worst experiences a person must endure. How dare your eyelids have clean water on them! You’re rather dramatic when it comes to things like hair washing and stubbed toes. I have a hard time deciphering whether your sister poked you or if you sliced off a limb. The noise level you emit would be fairly similar. Though I think you might be getting slightly less picky, I never know what you will and won’t eat. I can offer you the same meal two days in a row and you’ll devour it once and turn your nose in disgust the second.

I’m trying to pinpoint a favorite memory of you from this year, but I’m struggling. I’m struggling partly because my memory needs work, and second because I love the little moments with you. I love playing games with you and seeing how you win Uno almost every hand. I love watching you take care of your babies, both stuffed and human. I love watching you develop and learn. All the little moments with you add up to so much. I think my most cherished times from the last year are when you ask to sit on the couch and hold your baby brother while I read to you. I see your caring and studious personality so alive during those times, and I cherish those moments. 

The scripture I’m praying for you is Psalm 96:7, “O nations of the world [and my sweet Ella Jane] recognize the Lord; recognize that the Lord is glorious and strong.” I pray you will not be like the Israelites when God spoke through the prophet Isaiah saying, “Even and ox knows its owner, and a donkey recognizes its master’s care – but Israel doesn’t know its master. My people don’t recognize my care for them.” I’m praying that even at a young age you begin to recognize the Lord. He is glorious, strong, and caring. He is the one who heals your booboos, who gives us food to eat and air to breathe. He cares for you more than I ever possibly could. I’m praying that you see prayers answered this year, and that that will cause you to recognize God for who He is. 

I love you with my whole heart, sweet angel baby. I’m so glad God made me your mommy. Thank you for all you teach me daily and for being the gift you are. You are loved with an everlasting love. 

– Mommy (10/25/19)