I was recently telling a friend about our tradition of writing Henry letters on his birthday and she said, "Oh, I might have to steal that idea."
My response was, "You HAVE to!"
Seriously, I recommend it to anyone.
What a great gift for your child someday.
Three. THREE! The baby days came and then went so fast. All you prepare for when you're expecting is a baby, and then, very quickly, that's over and you've got a toddler. Toddlers are fun. Toddlers are hard too. You can't reason much with a toddler. In the past year, you've grown from a toddler into a preschooler. You've changed dramatically, though I have to admit, I hardly noticed while it was happening. This year has been a big one for all of us. You turned two and just a few weeks later, Caroline was born. In my memory, you were the same then, but when I look at pictures, you were so much younger!
It was a tough adjustment for you. As your third birthday approached, I looked back at this year with a lot of guilt and heaviness. For you, this was the year of "Hold on," "Not right now," "Be gentle," and "Shhh." That had to be hard. I was completely unprepared for how hard it would be and how much she would cry, and how many times I would have to disappoint you when you wanted to play and I just COULDN'T.
So I sat in that guilt for a while, and I felt terrible that I couldn't go back and change this past year; to be more patient, to work up more energy when I was running on empty, to just stop more often and look into your eyes and listen to you, and to just notice that you were changing. But I can't go back. And that's ok. The grace of God swept over me in my guilt and reminded me of a few things:
1. I'm always going to fall short as your mother. I'm human. There is only One who can meet your every need and my job is to point you to Him.
2. Having a sibling means I can't give you as much of myself, but now have a live-in playmate and a friend for life. Cherish her. It truly is a gift worth the sacrifice.
3. I have not ruined you, (not yet!). I am so proud of you, My Son, and of the person you are becoming. At three, you are compassionate, kind, respectful, polite, obedient, tender-hearted, curious, funny and smart. You have been forced to learn patience and how to play by yourself, but those are skills you need. So really, how can I look back and wish to change a thing? I LOVE who you are at three. I love who The Lord is shaping you to be. He made you, He loves you dearly and with Him, we can't mess this up.
"And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28
He takes our messes and he makes them good! Therefore, I will continue to point you toward Him and His grace.
I love you, Henry.
I am proud of you.
3 years old! Wow! How did this happen? Well, I love you more today than I did yesterday; this is how I know you're special. You are the most impressive, funny, caring, giggly, joyful three year old I have ever seen. Your originality surprises me everyday. You are so polite too. Always saying please and thank you. And most recently, you have been saying "I love you, Daddy!" a lot.
You make every day special and we are so blessed to have you in this world. You have so much love in your heart and you love to share that love. In fact, you don't understand what it would be like to not share that love.
This year, for your birthday, you said you wanted the theme "to be about Jesus...and baseball." What kind of three year old says that! You are so full of joy. You even decided, (with a little help from your mommy), that you wanted to help sick kids, so we donated money to the Make a Wish Foundation in your honor. Henry, you make me so proud.
Every day you are learning more and more. Your curiosity for life is amazing. This last year has been a little different for you with the birth of your sister but you are always proud to be the big brother. Your sister adores you. You can bring a smile to her face sometimes when no one else can. Please always love her and take care of her. You're her big brother, after all... To go along with this, every day when I leave for work, I say "Take care of your..." and you respond, "Take care of my mommy and be good to my sister." You make me so proud.
The best part of my day is still when I get home and you greet me with a big hug and say, "Daddy's home!" You have a very special way of being just you and you are full of "Henryisms". My favorite right now is when you say, "It's not a big deal." or "May I have just a little bit of milk?" as you fold your hands and make a sweet little 'pretty please' face. Also, you like to say, "I'll just play for two more minutes" whenever it is time to stop something or move on to the next, especially bed time.
Henry, you inspire me to find the good in the world and always look at life as the glass being half full. You have a great way of reminding me that joy is really what matters in life and that "it's not a big deal" no matter how big or small. You bring great pride to our family and I am more than blessed and grateful to call you my son. I promise to always be here for you, support you and love you every day of your life. Happy birthday Henry. Here's to many more to come!