To Priscilla on her 4th Birthday

Dear Priscilla,

Yesterday you turned four. This year you were ready. This year you had discussed your party and your cake to great lengths. This year you had practiced putting up four fingers when someone asked about your age. Four is a big year for you I think.

Four is a big year for us all it seems. When I was pregnant with you, asking God to give me a clue about who you were, I just heard over and over again, this one brings change. Change. You were born two weeks into your dad’s degree, a month into me at a new school. Next year you will be going to school yourself, and the whole family will be changing again. New career for mom, transition out of student status for dad. We don’t know if our location will change, we aren’t sure what we will leave behind, what we will bring with us.

But you have taught me so much about change, about things not going according to plan. I know what a delight a surprise can be. I know how confusion breaks way to understanding. I know how dim my plans are compared to the glory that is painted by God. I do not want to imagine a family without you. I don’t want to imagine what kind of a mom I would be without you. I can’t imagine your sister without you in her life. You were supposed to be with us, right here, right now. You weren’t planned by me, but your purpose has been written in the stars since the beginning of time. Priscilla means set apart, venerated.

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Classic four year old

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You are still growing into your big feelings, but you are learning about the world and how to navigate it. I learn a lot by watching you. This summer, on the beach, after a full week of cousin fun you had simply had enough. I bent down to ask what was wrong and how I could fix it, when you looked me dead in the face and howled out: I’m Just Having a HARD TIME! I’m just having a hard time. Your recognition that you were struggling, but you just needed to feel through it, was just so perfect. It is okay to be having a hard time. It is okay to be struggling, you just need time to get it together.

You have such a strong understanding of who you are and what you want. You like Ariel and Sleeping Beauty. You like pajama dresses, not pant, all things pink and sparkly, your hair long and down. You insisted on growing out your bangs this summer. It looked so good I decided to join you. You like lunch foods for breakfast and lemonade that is not pink, just regular. You like anything dipped in ranch. You like your family, your sister, and riding the dog even though you aren’t supposed to. You tell me she doesn’t mind, you seem to be right but lets not push it. You like having time with your babysitters all to yourself. You like Bayley the wrestler, and Fluttershy the Pony. You know what you like, you won’t be deterred. I would tell you to hang on to this trait, but I don’t have to. You will, it is inherent in your being.

You are learning so much, so quickly your dad and I often talk about what is going to happen when you go to school. You know most of the kindergarten curriculum already. One of the things you are still most interested in is how to make people laugh. At less than 2 years you threw the bowl of whatever it was you were eating on your head and declared “It’s a HAT!” You learned how funny it was and have been trying to crack us up ever since. This summer you learned how to tell knock-knock jokes. Your rendition of the interrupting cow totally slays.

This year I noticed that your birthday comes just as the seasons are changing. The sun is slowly coming out later, moving to night sooner. The trees are just beginning to be kissed with autumn shades. I often begin to struggle in this time of year. I become depressed as I just don’t get enough sunlight, my body struggles to adjust. This year I haven’t had as much trouble, but have become infatuated with the quality of the light at this time of year, the warmth and golden tone is glorious, and I tip my face to the sky and breathe.

My wish for you on this birthday, is that you would tip your face to this life and breathe. This world is glorious, and the change is inevitable, but the moment the golden glow hits your face is worth every moment of having a hard time.

All my love,


2 thoughts on “To Priscilla on her 4th Birthday

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