To Our Sweet Olan

Hi Sweet Bro!

It’s your turn to celebrate turning three! And what a year we’ve had to cherish you. You may find this letter has the word “sweet” many times throughout it. If I could choose one word or theme from your stage in life right now, it would be sweet. You have the sweetest spirit about you, and I truly count it a delight to be chosen as your mom. As much as you have grown physically this year, I still find myself calling you our baby bro. You might be big, but you are still snuggly, smoochy, and sweeter than syrup.

I’ll be the first to say that you are polite beyond what we’ve taught. Words like please, thank you, excuse me, you’re welcome, and I’m sorry all come very naturally to you. I am hoping this baby trait will be morphed into chivalrous character as you grow into a man. God has big plans for you, I can already see that through the unique personality he’s gifted you with. Gentle, kind, loving. You are different than many, if not most. I’m praying that God has set you apart for a task that uses your gifts in a rich and full way, both now and in the future.

You might be sweet, but you are also all boy. There’s no doubt that your manliness is innate. Throwing balls, swinging bats, being strong, running wild, iron crossing, playing cars, loving big machines, being a hero… You didn’t need much guidance to be in love with all these things. I am impressed that you’ve got sweet and tough down pretty well.

With all of that to say, with age comes fear. I’ve already witnessed some of that in you: fear of being left alone, fear of being hurt, fear of sounds. Something I want you to remember is that in the midst of your fear, God is ever-near. You can be brave because he is fighting on your behalf. I am praying that in fearful moments, that you would feel the presence of the Lord with you. This year marks a time in your life that you haven’t yet experienced. This year, you’ve begun to function without the surveillance and  protection of your big sister for the first time in your life as she goes on to conquer the world in kindergarten each day. But I am asking God to hold you up. It has already been a year of intense change for us all (you can bet that it may be scary at times), but with change comes growth. I look forward to watching God make you strong in your weakness.

Oh, Olan. I just love you so much. I could smooch and squeeze your cheeks all day. And ya know, I might just do that, because I know soon you’ll be four, then five, then twelve, and you won’t let me squeeze your cheeks anymore. You won’t have those jiggly puffs forever. You won’t have that soft squeaky voice for many more years. You won’t call out, “Momma!” each morning to get you out of your crib for too terribly much longer. You won’t invite me to play cars with you every waking second of every single day. You won’t need me quite like you need me right now. Watching you grow up is so fun, and so bittersweet.

I am just soaking and savoring you as you are: my sweet three-year-old baby boy. I can’t get enough!

Happy third birthday, bubbaloo.

Love,

Momma

Evie’s First Day of Kindergarten!

Evie got to experience something we’ve been talking about for what seems like a thousand days… kindergarten! She was so excited about being a big kid at Southeast. She kept saying, “WOW, I CANNOT believe I’m in KINDERGARTEN!” Adorable.

Her teacher, Mrs. Trimmell, made her feel right at home. Evie got to be the star student today too (because of her birthday)! She had a great day. After school, she gave me a big hug and did not want to let go. Oh baby girl, I could hug you forever. So thankful for this one. Evie, may your experience during your school years be full of adventure, growth, and good clean fun, girl!

To Six-Year Old Evie

Evie! It’s your sixth birthday! I am so glad you are a part of our family, and that we can celebrate another year of life with you. It has been a year of unforgettable memories that I will cherish for a long time. You have come so far in just one year, and you have so many wonderful traits that make you special.

First of all, I have been very impressed with your perseverance in many areas of your life. You have a strong drive to accomplish whatever is in your mind. Your will to keep trying in the midst of failure is better than my own. Keep solving problems, girl!

Your creativity in building things, fixing toys, and imagining scenes is so unique. How many rolls of tape did we go through this year? Ha ha! I love to see your imagination blossom as you go on adventures with Simba, Stripes and the gang. I love to see the crazy forts you dream up in any given room in the house. I love to read your little notes to friends and family that show them how much you care.

Do you want to know something that makes my heart fill with joy? It’s watching and listening to you be a gentle and compassionate big sister to Olan. The times when I walk by your room and you are reading a book about trains to him, or when you’re in the dining room building a tower for him to knock down over and over again, or even when I see you are trying to protect him from a dangerous or naughty situation… these times are a glimpse of what I hope is the start of an undying friendship between the both of you as you grow up.

I am still so proud that you are a lover of books. It is not uncommon for you to be completely lost in a book for hours. I wish I had your zeal… I love reading and all, but man! You could read all day long! That’s pretty cool. Think of all the things you will learn from books after a lifetime of reading! What a gift from the Lord it is to be literate.

My hope for year six is that God would continue to develop your capacity for self-control, and that we would start having more and more conversations that dig deeper into your heart and mine. I know that He is going to do some amazing things in and through you! I have already seen glimmers of Jesus getting a hold of your heart. Praying that you will love others well and that you will choose to love God most of all. What can God do with one girl whose heart is sold out to Jesus? I can’t wait to find out!

Daddy and I love you an incredible amount and for always, and we are thrilled to have been entrusted to be your parents. I hope you feel that love each day, and especially today, on your birthday! Have a happy day, sweetie pie!

Love,

Mom

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