Friday, July 12, 2013

The Big 4

I get just a little bit sad every year around Dannika's birthday.
It's just a yearly reminder to me on just how fast she is growing up, and how fast time is flying by.
I say it every year, but "Where does the time go?!?

This year, I'm a little more sad than other years.
Something about 4 seems so much more "grown up" than ages 1 through 3.
I feel like at ages 1through 3, she was still a toddler.
But this year, it feels like she grows out of toddlerhood.

Please stop growing so fast, little one...
Mama's not ready.

Dearest Dannika Jane,

Has it been another year already? So soon? I feel like this has been our craziest year of your short little life thus far. Between mommy and daddy being stationed on separate coasts of the U.S. (which entailed a long separation from daddy), to mommy getting out of the Marine Corps and moving us to Massachusetts from your birthplace of California, this year truly feels like it's just flown by. 

You're growing entirely too fast for me to even keep up with your milestones. I know every parent says how smart their child is, but little truly are a genius. You love to learn new things, and as annoying as it can be sometimes, your constant and inquisitive, "why?" questions make me smile because I know you're just curious about the world around you and want the answers to everything. People could not believe that you were only 3 years old after interacting with you. I've been told more than once how mature you were for a 3 year old and how smart you were. In fact, the staff at vacation bible school told your Gigi (on the down low) that you were their favorite student and that YOU were the smartest. You were in a class above your peer level with the 4 and 5 year olds since you were "almost 4", and you exceeded everyone's expectations. That's how brilliant you are, and you make us so proud. 

You've graduated from your love of Dora the Explorer and Peppa Pig to more "sophisticated" cartoons like Jake and the Neverland Pirates and Sophia the First. 

I no longer have to decipher or translate to strangers what you are saying, because you speak so eloquently and clearly. You're honest to a fault, and your love of God and faith in Him is something that even your 50 something year old Gigi admires. My favorite thing about you is how you close your dinnertime prayers. You always say, "In Your name we pray, Amen. And as for me and my house, [I] will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)." 

It's hard to believe that this will be your last birthday as an "only child". Next year, you'll have an almost 1 year old little brother around, and I know for a fact that you're going to make a fabulous big sister. No worries though, little one, you'll always be our first love, and you'll always be our "little princess". I can't wait to see what kind of big sister you're going to be. I know you weren't too thrilled about having a little brother around at first (and you let us know!), but it's amazing how much you have grown to love the little guy in my tummy, and he's not even here yet! He's going to be one lucky brother to have you as his sister.

This year, you'll have many changes (as we do every year). You'll start real pre-school. You'll meet new friends. You'll be a big sister. You'll amaze us. You'll make us laugh. You'll make us smile. You'll make us proud. 

We are so privileged that God chose us to be your parents and raise you in all His glory. We hope we are making Him proud, because you sure as heck make us proud every single day.

Happy 4th Birthday, little one. 

Slow down a little, ok?

We love you to the moon and back...and back and forth again...

Mama and Daddy

P.S. Your birthday party tomorrow is going to be AWESOME!!!! We can't wait to celebrate!!!!

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