Today you will turn 4 years old. You won't understand much of this letter until you are older but I felt it was important to write. 4 years ago you made your daddy and I parents. I remember laying in the hospital overwhelmed with emotions-not really knowing what to expect. It was a long day of waiting. They broke my water at 6am, but you were in no hurry to enter this world. Even through your birth you showed us that you would do things your own way and in your own time. I remember the Dr. checking me close to 7pm and she said, "I think the next time we check you, we will be ready to push"...."things are looking great". However, when she came back about an hour and a half later, her face changed and I could see that something was wrong. She asked me repeatedly if I had felt you move. I politely reminded her that I had had an epidural since noon, I was feeling nothing at the moment. She looked at the nurses and immediately my thoughts were racing to horrible things. She asked me again, "did you feel the baby move?" I not so politely said, "what is wrong-why do you keep asking me that??" And she replied..."In 14 years of practice, I have never seen this. I've read about it, but never seen it. When I checked you last time that baby was head down and in position. That baby is now breech-the baby has flipped and I just felt that baby's butt." So the next words were, "we are going to have to do a C-Section" and she followed with, "I will never in my life forget your birth story-I will always remember this stubborn little baby". And at 10:37pm, the dr. proudly held you up and announced "it's a girl!" I can remember your daddy's tears and the overwhelming emotions as I suddenly realized he and I had made this tiny little person.
You have challenged us in ways I don't think either one of us ever imagined. You stopped breathing when you were 2 days old, resulting in a week in the Special Care Nursery. I remember your daddy very upset and ready to have us home with him. He loved you in a way I don't think he was prepared for and he still loves you so much. The truth is, I think he pretty much melts if you look at him just the right way. For most of the first year of your life, you didn't really grow. You were under weight and they were very concerned. We cried lots of tears and we felt like every ounce you gained was like winning the gold medal in the Olympic Decathalon. Finally at a year, after so many specialists we found out you had a rare severe milk allergy. And suddenly with the right formula and elimination diet, you flourished. Now at 4 years old you are as tall as most 7 year olds and you love to eat broccoli, brussel sprouts, and hot dogs.
You are stubborn. and truth is, you probably have the worst of both your daddy and I in that regard. You have your daddy's temper and you do not like to be told "no". You love the Disney Princesses and you love to color. You color our world in so many rainbows and our house is covered with your artwork. You say prayers at dinner and your sweet spirit prays for "baby Landry", "the people of the world" and for "God to live in this world" and I think we must be doing something right. Every Sunday you make us sit on the front row in church (until you were born we sat in the back) and then you politely wave to us from up front during the childrens sermon. You love to dress yourself and you hate to wear pants. And you think we must always wear a bow-whether it matches or not. You call your daddy "Mr. Pickle Pants" and he loves you so much he lets you paint his nails with marker. You ask "why" 900 times a day and you do not like to be ignored. You are honest and we get nervous when you say, "mommy/daddy, I have something to tell you..." You love to catch fish with your daddy. You love to cook with mommy. You have already announced to us that you will be a "gamecock" for college, despite your daddy's attempts to brainwash you into being a part of the "wolfpack" family like him. And we are all praying for your daddy as you get older, because you are already chasing the boys.....
I'm reminded that in a little over a year, you will enter Kindergarten. You will go out into the big world and I will have to admit that you are growing up. I will lose the control that I have tried to keep so much. I will worry about whether or not you will accidentally drink cow's milk-despite that we have taught you to only drink soy milk. There will be mean kids who tease you because you are tall or because you don't wear exactly the right thing. There will be people who claim to be your friends, but will try to get you to do things that you know you aren't supposed to do. You will do them and ultimately there will be consequences-and we will always love you, despite the fact that we will discipline you. Our prayer is that we raise you with enough knowledge of the world that your mistakes are not deadly or irreversable. The world will disappoint you and we as your parents will continually disappoint you. But you must know that it is because we love you. We want you to understand and grow up in a world where you aren't given everything you want. You will have to earn things and work hard for your goals. But the reward will be high-it's our prayer and hope that you will be successful one day. We don't care that you may fail a test, a class, or anything-we only ask that you try your best. We have committed to give you our best each day-even when it's the hardest. job. in. the. world.
You are our first born. You are our fire cracker and an independent spirit. You challenge us daily and there are definitely some days where it is not easy to be your mom and dad. But we made you and we love you beyond any love we ever thought fathomable. In 4 years you have made us grow and challenged us in many ways. You have made us laugh and made us cry. And this last year, as you got your wish for a baby sister, you have made us proud as you have loved her and helped care for her. (I'm quite certain there will come a day when you are going to regret that wish coming true :)
This last year has been tough for us all. But you have been a rock star-we've moved houses, we gave you a sibling, and you lost your Poppy. I worried a lot about the changes we made around you, but you took them in stride. You are resilient and you have taught us a lot about accepting change. You are tender hearted-you understand that we are sad about Poppy but you are wise and surprise us with your ability to know just what to say at the right time. You are an amazing child and God gave us an awesome gift when we got you. Happy 4th birthday big girl. We love you beyond measure!!