My precious Ella, you are turning 4 today! What a past year you have had my dear! You started preschool, got a new brother, got your first haircut, and can now put all your clothes on by yourself. You are growing and maturing so fast. You even like to paint your nails now. I love to look back at videos and pictures of you as a baby and pre-toddler, but I wouldn’t trade today for the world. The older you get the more I am learning about who you are, your God-given personality and interests. It makes me so look forward to the years to come. I know you will continue to grow in character and beauty.
Sometimes when I look at you I see myself; what I know in many ways I was like at your age. I see many aspects of my own natural personality in you. It is a very strange feeling that you will likely experience for yourself one day when you are a mom. Looking at a small version of yourself.
You are learning that it feels good to do the right thing, and you are proud of yourself when you (finally) try that new food, or let Avery have a turn with your things, or say thank you to an adult who says something nice to you. You still very much love people, and Daddy and I remark sometimes how sweet it is that you love young adults and our friends, and consider them your own friends. Some of your favorite people (there are many!) are Stacy Johnson, Linsey, Bree Deatheridge, Ms. Jovita, Tien, Cozette and Miss Casey.
You also love, love, love your preschool teachers Miss Keri and Miss Miranda (“Buranda”). When you started Kiddie Kampus in November of last year the transition was so easy because you loved it so much. Daddy goes in early to wake you up and as soon as you open your eyes you often ask “is it my school day?” and then you jump out of bed and get ready. I remember that first day watching you walk to daddy’s car with your backpack and ponytail and you just looked like a miniature 16 year old. Be still my heart.
You are starting to begin to understand context, like days of the week, months of the year, and our weekly family rhythm. Such as when we have BayKids, when you to go school, what are weekdays and weekends. I think this knowledge will help you a good deal because you very much like to know the plan. You have been known to fall apart when you ask what we are having for dinner and I have to say I don’t know yet or I haven’t decided. Might as well have taken your teddy bear. Plans are good for you. Especially plans you like. This makes it a bit challenging when there is a plan you are not especially fond of. We are working on communicating without whining and having a happy heart 🙂 You are very routined and structure is good for you. Even at such a small age. Daddy and I think its so cute how you get into the habit of asking the same thing every day at the same time, for example, for about 5 or 6 months you asked us almost every night the same question . . . “Mommy (or daddy) . . . when its morning time . . . can I have cereal?” And you also often say “Mommy and daddy I’ll be quiet” when we leave the room at night. (Whether or not you actually will!) And you had a long stent of waking up in the morning asking if it was “fwamwy day.”
You LOVE family day. You love to go places as a family like restaurants and go to the beach or the park. But your favorite thing to do at home is to watch a show or movie. Your favorite shows recently are Cat in the Hat and Octonauts. We often get pizza and pull you and Avery’s chairs into the living room so we can have movie night. You are in heaven.
You also LOVE BayKids. You are learning so much and we can truly see your faith in Jesus budding in your heart. You can tell us stories you’ve learning and you like to read the Bible. For a long time your favorite story in your Jesus Storybook Bible was the story of Joseph. You understand that Jesus is with you, that you can be brave, and that God made everything.
One of your most profound moments this past spring was when you had your first dentist appointment. Daddy and I tried our best to prep you for weeks in advance and help you prepare for what to expect (without really knowing too much!). I woke up that morning and prayed a spirit of bravery over you! I took you to the dentist myself and daddy stayed with Avery. Ella you were such a big girl. You blew me away. You looked at the nice ladies when they talked to you, and you never even cried. You started to when we first put you in that big chair all by yourself but you were ok with it if you could sit in my lap on the big chair. So you laid down on me and wore your eye protection glasses and watched Curious George while they worked in your mouth. Praise Jesus for flatscreens with Netflix. After it was all over I took you to target to get a special reward and you picked out a blue baseball bat 🙂 Girl after my own heart.
Another defining moment for you happened the day we went to the pumpkin patch to buy our pumpkins for fall. We did a hay maze, got ice cream, and rode a hay ride all together as a family. They had a train there with traincars made of blue barrels. There must have been 20 cars on that train, pulled by a huge tractor driven by a man you had never seen before, and you wanted to ride that train all by yourself. There were no other kids in line. Avery would have gone but she wasn’t tall enough. Daddy and I couldn’t believe you wanted to go by yourself, and it was even going to take you all through the corn fields where you would be far away and couldn’t see us. Probably an 8-10 min ride! We let you go on the condition that the driver would watch you closely and stop if you cried. I was so prepared for you coming back in tears, but we saw your little Bermuda hat coming around the corner and you were all smiles and thrilled with yourself for doing it! Daddy and I were so proud of you. Even writing it now I still can’t believe you did that! You showed how brave you really are. Made me so thankful for your BayKids teachers, who are helping us teach you that you can be brave because Jesus is with you.
I look forward with anticipation to see where life takes you and who you become. The future is so bright for you. The older you get, its true that life will bring many challenges, and fear knocks on the door of our hearts. But you can always remember that no matter what Jesus is with you so you can do hard things. You have what it takes because He made you and you are His. He always has the plan, and His plan is always good.