Dear Ava... You're 4!!
Can it really be that my little baby girl, the one who made me a Mama is FOUR already?! In so many ways, I find it so hard to believe that we are here already... That people weren't lying when they told you to cherish the little years because THEY REALLY DO FLY BY! But then I look at you and realise you really are growing up.
You are no longer our little baby so needy for everything, no longer our questioning toddler... You are a proper little girl... In every sense of the word! You love dresses, pretty hairstyles, Princesses and playing Mamas and Papas. You are vivacious and enthusiastic... Always up for trying new things, always friendly and welcoming. Confident in your own skin and kind-hearted... Sweet-natured and eager to please. How do I attempt to sum up your character in this short letter? There are so many aspects to your character...
And I love to spend time with you. Not just because I have to because I'm your Mama... But because genuinely you are just such a great little friend. I love listening to your chatter... Your thoughts on life. I love it that we can have deep and meaningfuls already, and also that we share private jokes. I love the way you catch my eye across the dinner table when Heidi says something funny, and the way you look out for your little brother and sister. They are so fortunate to have you.
Of course, you have typical four-year-old moments too... You have a bit of a stubborn streak (inevitable, given that it's carried by both of your parents!) and are learning self-control when things don't go your way. Oh my Ava... These will be lifelong lessons (take it from someone who knows!!)
But the thing that brings me most delight, Ava, is your softness to the gospel. Your Papa and I love to hear you pray... Such sincere, genuine prayers... And I am always challenged by your simple faith. You pray expectantly, something that I need to grow in. You are open about following Jesus, and unafraid to ask hard questions. Our hope and prayer is that this early faith will grow as you do, and that you will find your hope and strength in Jesus.
I thank God every day for you my darling girl. I know we both have our moments... But we are learning together... You are learning how to grow up into a kind, caring, responsible grown-up, and I am learning how to be a kind, caring, responsible Mama. You are our forerunner. Everything is new with you... And we won't always get it right. The adventure of "first times" is one of the advantages of being the eldest, but also one of the challenges. Mama and Papa don't have the wisdom of experience yet... You are giving it to us, and that means we will mess it up sometimes. It isn't always easy, but this year's been a good one, and as we've moved out of those trying twos, it's been fun to see your character and personality unfold.
You are my precious big girl, my little friend, my eager helper; my eldest daughter.
I couldn't love you more if I tried.
Happy Birthday Ava M