Even though you won’t be reading or embarrassed by my blog for a few more years, I wanted to document your special day here anyway. Plus, the princess on your card took up all the room where I wanted to write, and I knew scribbling over Belle’s face would be frowned upon.
I cannot believe you’re SIX!! That’s a whole hand plus one and I am in complete disbelief we’ve made it this far without cracking. I’m sure you don’t remember, but when you were a baby, life was, how do I put this delicately, INSANELY DIFFICULT. You only wanted ME. You refused a BOTTLE. You cried ALWAYS…unless you were in my arms. I wore you. I rocked you. I nursed you. CONSTANTLY.
Once, I left you with Daddy for a few hours and when I came back, he was pacing back and forth with your screaming pink face in his arms. As he handed you over, the look on his face said, “Don’t ever leave us again. EVER.” Or maybe he actually said it. Don’t judge us. We were tired. So tired.
Unfortunately for Gramma and Pap, we had to leave you with them for a whole night when you were only 5 months old! Gramma tried everything to get you to eat. The woman fed you my breast milk out of a medicine dropper! Even with her stellar efforts, you ate only about 2 ounces in a span of 24-hours. So much crying. So very little sleeping. And I’m talking about me. I was hours away squeezing my boobs into a hotel toilet because I could no longer function independently of you. That’s a crazy kind of love right there.
You’ve got a big ol’ personality to match those big brown eyes. You are going to do incredible things because of your tenacity. You just get people. It’s like you know how they work before anyone else does. Those powers can be used for good or evil, but judging by your sweet smile and impromptu hugs, I think you’ll choose the former.
As the middle child, you’re constantly hearing “just a minute” because we have to cater to your little sister’s needs or because we try to get whatever your older brother wants “just real quick” before tending to your requests. And let’s be honest: your requests are normally poorly timed, exceptionally involved, and maybe a bit unreasonable. “I’d yike to ride a horse today” in the middle of December just doesn’t work. As much as I’d like to make every day your birthday, please hear me out: IMPOSSIBLE. I can’t do it. Neither can Daddy so don’t bother asking. Having to wait your turn means you’re patient, understanding, and independent. You may quietly resent us but you’ve yet to show it. Thank you for that.
Brave beyond measure. Willing to try something new (unless it’s food). Always wanting to paint or draw, play pretend, or entertain your sister, you’re social and creative by nature. But when you crave solidarity, you steal away to your bedroom for the kind of peace offered only by a quiet, still space. You’re so much like me it hurts.
I often wonder how much longer this Mommy Only Phase will last. You’ve loved me bigger and better than anyone else and although at times I’m silently screaming GIVE ME SPACE, CHILD, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY!, I sure do love the way you love me. I hope you feel the same sense of security and contentment that I feel when you sidle up beside me. I don’t know if Motherhood is supposed to feel as selfish as it does with you. It’s just that you’ve given me so much, I can’t help but reflect on the many ways you’ve changed me for the better. God gave me you because He saw my potential; I was a fixer upper and you were my double vanity and hardwood floors throughout. That was an HGTV reference only you’d understand because you actually watch those shows with me. I love that about you.
You’re always telling everyone how beautiful they are or how much you love them. Don’t ever change. Flattery will get you somewhere, but sincerity will get you everywhere. People like you are so rare these days; I pray you stay true and real and sweet peppered with do-not-mess-with-me-or-you-will-feel-my-wrath.
You are kind. You are good. You are loved. You are a reflection of God’s grace and I am madly in love with you.
Happy, happy sixth birthday, Ella Faith!