For weeks, months now it’s been a frequent refrain: “I just can’t wait any faster. I just can’t wait!” Can’t wait for Anthony to arrive. Can’t wait for Grandma to come. But most of all: “I can’t wait for my birthday!” (Often accompanied by tears and wails.)
Well, my sweet girl, your day has finally arrived. Now you are three. But in my mind I’ve been rounding up for quite a while. You may be small in stature—hardly bigger than Ben with whom you share a diaper size and shoe size—but you seem so much more mature these days. A big sister.
Can it really be three years since you came into our lives?
You are a joy to me in so many ways. Here are a few of the things that brighten my days:
Your love for singing. You sing all day long from the time you get up till it’s time to go to bed. “Sing the butterfly song!” “Sing Amazing Grace! Sing Immaculate Mary!”
Your affectionate nature. You love to cuddle up to me. Put your arms around me for a hug, lay your head on my shoulder just because. And you are so tender with your brothers and your sister. And oh how sweet it is to hear you say: “I just love Baby Amphony!” and “Amphony is so impressed that I’m his sister.” The way you kiss his head so gently.
Your kindness to your brothers and sister. Your generosity and selflessness. You are usually the first one to give in when there’s an argument over a toy. You often will go and find a toy for Ben to play with. Always willing to lend a hand to someone in need.
Your sense of responsibility and thoughtfulness. Yesterday I noticed when you came in from playing outside you put your coat, boots, and hat back into their proper bins without a word or prompt from anyone. You’ve been doing that pretty consistently lately.
The way you imitate your big sister. Everything from the names of your dolls and imaginary playmates: “My Gina is having a birthday.” to echoing her sentences and questions and mannerisms.
The things that are uniquely your own. Your love of puzzles. Your sense of poetry. The way you say that sweet hings are “Soft and Silent”. The way you recite nursery rhymes and deliberately jumble them up. Your possessiveness over “My St Therese” and “My St Jophas”. The way you make your “scrunchy face” and “lobster face”.
I adore your smile. The way it lights up your whole face. The way you’ll make it whine for me if I catch your eye and smile at you. Our own secret language of smiles.
I adore your sense of fashion. Stripy tights with stripy shirt. Classic! Today it’s a beautiful lilac sweater underneath a floral print corduroy jumper. Even if the sweater under the jumper is a bit unusual, the colors match beautifully.
I love how excited you get when I put your hair into a ponytail. “I look like Dahlia!”
You are stubborn. You are intrepid. You are my Sophie and I love you.
This morning you came into my room and announced: “I’m three!” Then you climbed into my bed to give Anthony a kiss, “Anthony is so sweet!”
Dancing in the living room, singing, with your sister to Irish punk music.
You knew your own mind. You insisted on chocolate cake. I’m so glad we were able to oblige. What a delight it was to work with you and have you help make your own cake. (And so glad we were able to find the perfect recipe for a half-cake so we won’t be eating it for the next week. Not that I’d mind having chocolate cake for a week, really; except that we’re trying to eat healthier and not keep sweets in the house both for the sake of Dom’s diabetes and my post-partum shedding of excess baby weight.)
And you knew your own mind about dinner as well. Mac and cheese, you decreed. And so it was. Mac an cheese at Halfway Cafe. With a side of broccoli to lessen my mommy guilt.
And then cake and presents and oh we stayed up way too late tonight. A few tears at bedtime, you didn’t want to take off your new pretty dress up dress. The one you declared immediately you could wear to a wedding. (I’d thought it was a princess dress; but what do I know. Obviously it’s a wedding dress!)
And sound asleep before I finished your lullabies. Oh my sweet princess, sleep well. May God bless you and keep you and bring you many more years full of joy.
Thank you, dear Father in heaven, for my sweet, sweet Sophia.