Katherine’s fifth birthday

Hello, darling!

I just reread through last year’s letter, curious how things have changed in the last 365 days.

Mostly, you have become more you. And I know that’s how it goes, but it’s fun to see you become. You are a delight. You’re full of fire, light, spunk, and determination. There is might and sweetness. There are cuddles and fits. Your skin is still baby-soft and your grin is as impish as ever. You fear almost nothing right now, which is both beautiful and terrifying to your mama.

Sweet girl, a few weeks ago, you and Jenna got into a discussion in the car. Jenna asked which parent she was most like (me) and you asked, too (your daddy.) Then Jenna, being Jenna and the oldest and sometimes less than gracious, was taunting you, holding over your head that she was more like me than you.

You spent the next several days doing and saying things, followed by “am I acting like you, mama?”

It was both flattering and heartbreaking.

I told you this then, but I want to have it in writing:

I don’t want a version of you that is more like me.

I mean, in the ways I’m growing to be like Jesus, by all means… follow me as I follow Him. But in all the other things?

I want YOU. Just you. The you-est version.

I know it’s not always easy to be you. You’re close enough to your sister to feel compared to her frequently, but tailing her by just enough that you feel less-than. (For the record, I don’t see you as less than Jenna.) Your personality is big and your feelings are big and your voice is big and your impulse control isn’t quite developed yet and that causes some friction.

Can I be honest with you? I am ever so excited to see what all of that means as you grow up.

You’re strong and fierce.

That makes you challenging to parent, but it also means you are going to be unstoppable as a big person. (Well, you’re basically unstoppable now.) And now, while you do the hard work of pointing all that strength and fierceness in the right direction, you manage to be delightful and hilarious.

I adore you, my girl. You’re growing up just right. I’m praying for you this year, that you grow in grace and wisdom and self-control. You’re doing a good job.

 

they draw me smiling

(photo credit: Sarah Lewis)


I’m not the Super Fun Mom.

I am not, in fact, a super smily mom.

I’m super sensitive, easily overwhelmed, and have, in the last couple of years, been prone to depression and anxiety in ways I haven’t dealt with since before my oldest was born. I am pretty much winging it here.

I pray a lot.

I try really hard.

And a lot of times, I’m still just not that good at it.

My target is always “calm, compassionate, consistent.” But I fall short of that all. the. time. I’m forever apologizing to my kids.

My oldest gets the brunt of this. Jenna’s amazing and kind and lovely. She’s also so much like me. Because we’re so similar, her tendencies irritate me much more quickly than, say, her little sister. (Katherine is so very much like her dad, and he tends to have just a little less patience for her, not so surprisingly.) So I frequently find myself examining my own heart (unfortunately after I’ve acted) and finding my selfishness and irritability hurt my sweet girl. Again. So… another chance to model apology! Hooray!

It’s okay. God is making me and my kids into the people He wants us to be. I’m growing and stuff. (Yay.) But sometimes I’m discouraged by how hard it is to be the mama I want to be.


You know where I’m finding grace in this fight?

The girls’ artwork.

They’re forever drawing us, or random representations of us. (“Look, mom! We’re all fairies!” …or jack-o-lanterns, caterpillars, butterflies, flowers, or cats.) My life is a constant fight to figure out which drawings are going to be important and which I can bury in the trash ASAP, which sounds awful, but we’re talking dozens some days. It’s a lot of paper, and I can’t save or display it all.

And in every single picture they draw that contains me?

I’m smiling.

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(This isn’t the only way they know how to draw faces. They draw mad people. Just not mad people in our family.) 

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This is so encouraging to my heart. I’m praying this is what they remember. That, rather than all the times I screw up (which seem so prevalent to me), they see that I love them and they delight me. That they look back and see the lovely.

I’m praying that His grace covers my (myriad) mistakes.


This post is part of the write31days challenge… I’m trying to post every day in October. Or, you know, lots of days in October. The rest of the posts can be found here.

it’s your day, Baby K!

Hey, Katherine!

Today is the day we celebrate four years with you! Okay, I lie. You think that your day was yesterday. I didn’t lie to you, exactly… but I may have told you “Woohoo! Today’s the day we’re celebrating the day you were born!” Which was true. Because Daddy’s out tonight, so we did our celebrating early, so he wouldn’t have to miss it.

Anyways. 

I kind of like having a day to celebrate you privately. To reflect on your teeny self when you were born and all the ways you’ve grown. You’re such a blessing to me. You delight me and challenge me and baffle me. This makes so much sense to me, because you’re very, very like your dad, and he delights, challenges, and baffles me all the time. He has for years.

You have the mind of a tiny engineer and the heart of a sprite. You must know how things work. You’re fascinated by everything and not afraid of anything. You have an irresistible drive to deconstruct. But also you have an irrepressible sparkly smile and a crazy sense of humor and a contagious giggle. You are  so spunky and goofy. Hilarious. And you’re always moving. I can’t believe how many pictures I’ve gotten of you this month, but when I look through them, I guess I can. Most of them are when you’ve been settled. Doing something, watching something, eating something… in the picture above, you were… on the toilet. (Sorry.) (But look how cute you are!) It’s not easy to catch you still enough to get a good picture. (Even that one isn’t a good picture, as pictures go. But it’s still one of my favorites.)

I was blessed lately by a review from your teachers at forest school. It was so much fun to hear how other adults see you. It made me laugh out loud to read “Katherine never (ever, ever) takes the easy path.” You have GRIT, little girl. You’re mighty. I’m so excited to see the places God takes you. It’s not easy to know how to guide you with this amount of grit, honestly, but your dad and I pray for wisdom to do just that all. the. time.

There’s so much I love about who you are right now. I love your grin and that dimple that shows up on your right cheek from time to time. I love your independence and your inquisitiveness. I love your Katherinese. I think your speech issues are my fault (because moms) because I didn’t heed advice about sippy cups and you can’t quite get your tongue out from between your teeth when you talk. I really think you’ll figure out how to say all the sounds eventually, but dang, it’s cute. So I’ll keep working with you a little at a time, but I sure enjoy it for now. I love your enthusiasm about… everything. When you speak right now, about a third of your words are definitely in ALL CAPS. Also, as much trouble as it causes, I love your undying devotion to Wil Fedadoh… the tiny puppy you took from Brian before he was born but now cannot live without. You love her so much you daily hide her from “monstoes” for her protection… and then can’t remember where to find her.

I sure love you, baby girl. You’re not so much of a baby anymore. You’re growing up just right, and I’m excited to see you keep becoming more you this year. I love that I get to be your mama.

 

And then there’s how much your brother loves you…

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..and the way Jenna sees you. She took these-

You are loved, darling girl. Happy birthday.