In just a little over a month, my baby will be 4 years old. It is bittersweet. Turning 4 makes her officially school age eligible, but that also means she isn’t really a toddler anymore…she is a preschooler. It is all going by so fast. I just want God to grab hold of the world every now and then and slow it down. When she turned 1, I couldn’t even imagine her 4th birthday. I was just so consumed with our little lives, and the joy that she brought me, that I just never thought about her growing up. Now, it is hard not to think about it; and not in the sense that I’m ready for her to grow up like parents sometimes feel, but because it makes me sad. I miss having my dependent baby. I miss cuddling her up, and having to stop and play with her. Now days, she is very independent and does many things on her own, and she doesn’t want anyone’s help. She definitely gets a lot of that from her mother. She has recently been saying how she is so ready to grow up because she wants to be a grown up and a mommy too. I try to encourage her to enjoy being a kid because it goes by a lot faster than we think it does. I can’t help but to think back to my childhood, and how quickly I wanted to grow up as well. I always wanted to be independent, and never wanted help from anyone for anything. I always wanted to everything myself, and to deal with everything myself. I’m not sure why that is…genetics? Anyhow, I specifically remember being a kid and sitting in front of the tv on the floor, drawing a picture of myself as I imagined I would be as a teenager. At that moment I paused and thought to myself that surely the world would end before I would turn 16 years old, much less become an adult and have a family of my own. All of this I see in my daughter, and it brings tears to my eyes because I remember being that very same little girl. I can’t help but to hope that she will not have the same inner struggles that I did with having such a desire to be independent. It is a trait that you always deal with. Even as a wife and mother, I still struggle with allowing people to help me. When I am upset about something, I still at times struggle with letting my husband in to help console me. I’ve definitely gotten a lot better than I use to be. I guess my dad’s constant encouragement to become a better communicator and to let people in has really been what helped me the most. God has also played a major role in teaching me that I am only human, just as we all are, and that not one of us is meant to do it all on our own. This struggle will be one that remains in my life forever, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a major struggle. I get better about it everyday. So it is only evident, and understandable, that I would have the same concerns for my daughter. I even sit down with my husband sometimes and disscus with him how our reactions to things either encourage or discourage our daughters lines of communication with us. My parents did a great job encouraging me to communicate, but so many times I just didn’t. It wasn’t because of them, but because of me. That is something I am trying to teach my daughter to ignore. In order to not have such a desire to grow up fast and be so independent all the time, she has to ignore that desire and rely on God. Yes, she is very young and doesn’t completely understand the concepts, but the important thing is the message I’m sending and the seed that is being planted. I can’t help but think that I feel so much about my baby getting older. How do other moms feel? Are they eager for their children to grow up and be more independent? Are they hanging on to every moment as they watch their kids grow up? Regardless, I think that as mothers, we have to learn to enjoy our kids while they are kids, and not worry about them growing up. No matter what we do, or feel, they will grow up. It is a part of life, and they will grow up, go to school, become hormonal teenagers, go off to college, move out, get married, and have families of their own. It will happen and there is nothing anyone can do to slow it down or stop it, so why not enjoy it; praise God for the children we have and embrace the phases of life that we are able to share with our kids.
So, in honor of my daughter’s upcoming 4th birthday, here are a few photos from her 3rd.