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On this day five years ago, I met someone truly special and unforgettable, someone who has totally changed my life in wonderful ways: you!  On this day, five years ago, I knew you were going to be born that day and I was so excited.  On the way to the hospital, we stopped and got you a special toy and a special outfit—little did I know then that clothes would become one of your favorite things!  It always makes me smile how you go into your closet and look at all your clothes, and still you come out wearing the zebra dress, or the pink Hello Kitty one, every day.  One day, you were trying to decide what to wear and you couldn’t make up your mind so, at one point, you just said, “okay, that’s IT: I’m just wearing my panties!”

You have grown into such a beautiful and sweet and hilarious little girl.  I cannot tell you how much I enjoy watching you climb EVERYTHING in the house:  you climb on the windows, you climb on the bookshelves, you even try climbing the refrigerator!  You have the most infectious laugh, ever.  Lately, you’ve been on a Toy Story kick, and it is so fun watching you watch Toy Story 3: you laugh out loud when the potato head uses a tortilla as a body!  Joy and energy fill the room when you walk into it, and it delights my heart to see you so happy.  Confidence is beginning to shine more in your personality—you’ll say, “okay, Mama, here’s your choices, I either eat shells and cheese or Sloppy Joe Pizza”  (which really means Papa John’s). And you say the funniest things in the world. This time next year, I hope with all my heart that you still love all your “little toys”, and “squishies” as much as you do now.  Who knew how much fun Squinkies can really be?

Alight, there are many things about you that are very, very special.  You’ve shown me what real courage is because, no matter what you’re afraid of, you always want to face it.  You’re scared of ghosts—but yet you want me to play games with ghosts in them with you, like having a ghost trap a Barbie doll.  You’re scared of skeletons, but you always want me to hold you and show them to you when we pass one. That’s real courage, and I hope that it shines light on the fears for you, and helps you see that there’s nothing to be afraid of, because I am here with you.  I will always be with you.  No matter what scary things might come your way, I will be here to help you up and to hug you and to shine light on the shadows for you.

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You’re not only courageous and funny and energetic, though, you are always so sweet. You always want to play with Breathe, and you always want me to hold you.  You said that you wished that today you were turning 3, instead of 5, and that next year you could turn 2.  I can’t tell you how sweet and warming I find it that you want to stay little.  But you don’t have to try so hard for that because no matter how old you grow, you will always be my little baby.  I wish that I could freeze time too, right now, and keep you exactly as you are: bubbly and joyful and full of energy.  I wish I could freeze time so that your hands would always be so little and when I ask you to do your daily affirmation, you always come back, saying, “I said I love Jesus!”  The other day, I saw you walking on your tippy toes, which you’ve done all your life, and it melted me.  I see you swish your little body back and forth when you are excited, and I wish I could freeze life and just watch you, because you are so wonderful.

But on the other hand, if you stayed little forever, some of your dreams would never come true.  Like, you wouldn’t be able to ride the Sea Dragon at Beech Bend (which hopefully you can do THIS summer!).  You wouldn’t be able to ride a bike like your friends.  I’d miss watching you learn to read your first book all by yourself, or how to swim. I’d miss watching you discover new hobbies that would become life-long joys for you.  I’d miss getting to eat a meal that you’ll have cooked all by yourself (for real!!)  And I’d really miss getting to know how incredible your mind is, and what kinds of things you’ll come up with all by yourself.  I love having you little, but I love  watching your dreams become reality even more.

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You are one of my bestest friends on the planet.  And you’ve taught me more than I can tell you (who knew that I’d have to learn how to unlock a bedroom door for the twentieth time;  I’m a pro now!).  I never would have guessed that my heart could fill up with so much love…. it’s like you’ve taken a pink crayon and drawn a HUGE heart, one that fills up the whole page, and then drawn yourself inside the heart over and over and over until it’s full of Alights: that’s what my real heart feels like every time you ask me to read you a story, or play Squinkies with you, or give you an Elephant in the Jungle ride. I also love the special things about you that make you you, like how you still walk on your tippy toes and how you tip your head just so. There truly is no one like you in all the world.

We treasure innocence because it’s fleeting, and because it shows us something about God.  Thank you for being one of the most beautiful treasures I’ve ever had.  Thank you for laughing with me.  Thank you for being the best little sister Breathe could ever hope to have.  Thank you for being a picky eater and for laughing at all my silly attempts to try and get you to eat (remember when we pretended you’d swallowed the mama and so you HAD to eat the next bite so that the little girl could find the mama!)  You love everything Princess, especially the beautiful Belle.  But not even Belle is as pretty as you.  Not even Belle is as kind as you are.  And no princess is as special as you are to me.  Thank you for filling my life with joy, with love, with silliness, with pillow-made tents and EVERYTHING pink. Try to find a window right now and look outside; do you see the sun?  Do you see how bright it is?  It is so bright it lights up our whole world–just like you make me feel lit up.  I love being your mommy.  I love getting to sing you to sleep, and feed you.  I love getting to brush your hair and watch you take a bath.  I love playing with you and then, late at night, I love watching you sleep.  God must really like me because He let me be YOUR mommy!

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I hope you have a wonderful, beautiful, happy day today and a fun week too!  I hope you feel like the special princess you are, and I hope that this year finds you growing in every way. I love you, Light Light, with every beat of my heart.  Happy birthday!!

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