To Juliet, On Her Fourth Birthday

Dear Juliet,

It is your fourth birthday, and I am grateful. Your party invitations say “Let us celebrate the friendliest child on the planet.” I stand by that. You have never met a person you aren’t hoping to make into a friend. You just love people.

You have always been tuned into our emotions, probably since before I saw your tiny face for the first time. It matters to you, how people are feeling, what is happening in their hearts. When you do something wrong, your biggest concern is if it “made mommy sad.” You are always sorry if it made someone sad.

I love this about your heart, but it also make me nervous. I love how big you love, but I sometimes worry it will hurt you. That there will be days and times as you grow up, where you will make people sad and there will not be anything you can do about that. I don’t ever want you to choose the thing that is not right for you, because it will make fewer people sad. I guess on this fourth birthday of yours, I want to tell you that the way you love, with total abandon, will hurt you sometimes. I hope you will continue to love like that anyway. I hope you find it is worth it.

The other day you looked at me, after giving up the plate you wanted to your crying sister, and announced that you are a good sharer. You are a good sharer. I have been writing about scarcity lately, and I think the person in my life who best practices abundance, and radical generosity is you. You love to share, you never worry if there will be enough for you, you love to take turns. Of course there is room. Of course that other kid can have some. Of course we can find some more. This, my love, is a radical act. It is beautiful, and subversive, and brave, just like you.

Recently, there have been an influx of babies in our life. I got to explain to you that you are my baby, and so is your sister. You now regularly refer to yourself in the third person as my baby. I am glad that is the piece of the conversation you have latched onto. You like to talk about how you once did not talk, but now you do talk. And boy do you talk. From morning until night, in the car, at home, with your sister, with us, to your teddy bear, as your dolly. You have so many words. One of my favorite parts of the day, is coming home from work and asking you to tell me all about yours. You always have a lot to tell me.

As you grow from baby to girl, I am able to see tiny glimpses of the woman you are destined to become. I can see your heart and passion, and this year has been the year that your gift of encouragement has shown so clearly. “Mommy,” you sometimes tell me as you stare intently into my eyes, “I am so proud of you. I am so glad you are my mommy.” I hope you are always proud of me sweet girl. I am a better woman for having been your mom. My heart is growing as you lavishly pour your encouragement out on me. It is a gift you have for the world, and I am grateful to be the first to receive it.

I love you, my giant-hearted four-year old. I am so glad I am your mommy too.



10 thoughts on “To Juliet, On Her Fourth Birthday

  1. Happy Birthday, Juliet. Birthdays are special days for the birthday person and their parents. So many fun times to remember and so much love to create!

  2. Thank you for putting down in words so eloquently your thoughts. I love reading these love letters to our children. I mentioned just last evening that you referred to Juliet as “The World’s Friendliest Child” as we had dinner with my parents. Juliet had been waving to a waitress at the restaurant, who couldn’t resist the cuteness and gave her a balloon. Juliet made sure to tell her how nice she was and that she was her friend as we left. I have watched her start conversation with random women on the train by telling them that they are beautiful. It is amazing to watch a person who looked like she did not want to be bothered on her commute one second smile in appreciation of a genuine compliment the next. I learn repeatedly from my girls the power of a friendly gesture, expecting nothing in return. I hope we can continue to encourage our children to love radically as they grow. I am thankful that I have a partner in this venture who I also see love those around her. The girls and I are blessed that you are their mommy. And we are all blessed by the people God has placed in the lives of our family who have shown such love to our daughters. Thank you to everyone who has loved them and us.

  3. Treasure this precious letter forever! You will blink a few times and you will be writing a graduation letter to her!

  4. Beautiful, Abby. Looks like you’re learning a lot from each other – which is one of the greatest gifts of parenting. Thank you. (And HAPPY BIRTHDAY to your big 4-year-old. I’ve got one of those, too – our youngest grandgirl.)

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