A Letter For My Daughter on Her Third Birthday by Jennifer Andersen
Sometimes, when you are upset, all you have to do is put your cheek to mine as as we snuggle and you quickly calm down. Your body melts into mine and your breath becomes even. So does mine. Your arms wrap around my neck and an we bounce; lightly, calmly, knowingly.
These moments, this effortless solution, perfectly represents our journey together. I am your home; your center, your balance, your world. Still.
At an age when I might have sent you to preschool, I appreciate how much you still need me, how much I ground you and make you feel safe. I am not rushing you and am trying not to push you.
It is different the second time around. I know more. I have learned. The pressures of perfection are hazier and my desire to know you is clear.
I know that your sense of humor is witty. Your laugh is easy. Your sweetness and imagination are plentiful. You are strong willed and uninfluenced by those around you. Including your dad and me. Mostly I am grateful for this, but sometimes I wish that you would do as I say- at least so that we could leave the house with you clothed.
It is these very characteristics though, which make you who you are. I have committed to knowing you.
As I sit upstairs typing this, I hear you and daddy talking. You are asking daddy if he likes your costume. When he tells you yes, you explain that you are a beautiful Prince. Daddy agrees.
I hear your little voice, so intentional with words, and remember before you could speak. I remember that you liked to be on my hip nearly all of the time, and that as long as you were there you were happy. Mostly.
You frustrate easily, like when you cannot do something that you want, or when you do not understand the way things operate. You do not want to be limited. When this happens you cry. A lot and hard. Your little face breaks out in red splotches and your eyes look just like they did when you were a newborn. And I remember what it was like not to know how to comfort you.
I do the same thing now that I did then; I offer you my arms, my love, my understanding.
I pray that this is the same when you are twenty three and forty three; that you can come home, put your head on my shoulder and cry when things are not going your way. Though I know you will be able to cope on your own, I pray that you remember that home is always here. For as long as you want it.
When you no longer do, I will support you in a new and different way. Though my feelings as your mother will be no less intense than when you were 3 days old.
I will wish that I could offer you something as sure as nursing or our cheek to cheek snuggles. Instead, I will remain uncertain. But my commitment will be the same; to know you, to support you and to let you move freely.
I love you so very much, Sydney Grace. I give thanks every single day that you are in our lives. These three years have been bright and challenging and ones for which I will forever be grateful.