life at four. a letter from her mama.

In honor of what makes Mother’s Day so sweet…

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Dear Skyla,

Happy 4th birthday to my favorite little girl. A girl who I delight in, adore, and calls out the best in me. I write this with a deep sense of gratitude for the life God breathes in you and the role I get to play in it. I think back to the years we were trying to conceive and who would have known it would be this good, this honorable, this splendid, this transformative.

Skyla Rae, you’re a girl who grabs onto life with both cautiousness and boldness.You’re a helper and initiator, filled with ideas and intent. You’re simple and straightforward, yet diligently charm my heart with your words and smile and eyes. Your spirit is tender and your mind is sharp. Your love for me melts me. The love I have for you, it changes me. I love all the ways that you remind me of who Jesus is and all the ways that being a mommy to you draws me to him. His wild love for you and the ways you express that love bear witness to how good he is. I feel him chasing after me through you. Stunning.

In the most honest and honoring way, I can say that this year with all its joy and love, has been a really hard year. Whatever “they” say about “the terrible two’s” (and perhaps three’s), I’ve often times found myself swimming in whatever these years are defined by. It’s felt like you’ve been in this process of finding who you are…your charm, your boundaries, your capability, your strength, your endurance, your voice. I have this understanding that the place all this comes from isn’t “bad,” but really, just part of being human…figuring out your place in this world, in our home. But for me, the mama that parents you every day, it can easily feel like determined push back…on every thing. From your clothes and shoes and hair and where the most comfortable place for you to sit on the couch is, to your choice in food and sippy cups and volume on the TV. There is no hesitation whatsoever in telling us what you want or how you feel. Oh, the “good girl” in me feels stretched each time. And then, God reminds me that you’re just learning, that you’re only three, that it’s about how I respond…to your strength, your growing need for autonomy, your figuring out how capable and loveable you are. So, I try to gather myself and breathe, inhale some perspective, and step into each little episode offering what I’ve learned, what I’ve discovered your little spirit needs, and who I’ve become. My mistakes, my imperfections…yup, they’re clearly evident. The ways I can “miss” you, over-correct you, over-compensate…they enter in at any given moment. But my heart for you is to offer you the consistency and structure and nurture and connection that I believe you need, that you were created for. My prayer is to be the kind of mommy that while teaching you about the world, how to step into the world, to also be a place, a person, who you feel safe running to as you offer yourself to the world.

My heart soars when I watch you with your daddy, you’re favorite man. The way you laugh when he “plays rough” is authentic and pure, fearless and sweet. I giggle when I see you come alive with Zane and the sweet little smile I catch you giving him when I look in the rear view mirror. I totally get sucked in to singing and dancing and laughing and hiding and seeking with the two of you. We have so much fun together! You teach him how to talk, splash, draw, brush his teeth, and about Micky Mouse and Curious George…how good each of these things are, how essential each of these things are. You’re learning to share…your toys, your space, your parents, your time. You offer him so much of yourself. You’re the perfect sister for him.

You’ve leaped into this little girl phase with all the energy and life that brought you to three. Your “firsts” of chewing gum, flying in a plane, saying “bye” to diapers, riding the merry-go-round by yourself, visiting the dentist, venturing to the “windy city” and Disney World, taking gymnastic and swimming lessons, navigating your way on the computer, riding a bike, your first sleepover…they all represent the unstoppable growth and the way you represent your exit from being a little toddler to your entrance of being a little girl.

Totally loved.

Utterly adored.

Pure delight.

Here’s to birthday #4…all that has passed, and all that is to come.

Love you girl!

Love, Mommy

A song that helps me remember and honor my mom as I make memories with my little girl“How Could I Ask For More” (Cindy Morgan)



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