How is it possible that you turn four years old today? When I think back over my life, four years of any other part of it seems as if it lasted a long time. But these last four years of being your mother have gone by with lightning speed. I wish there was a way for me to force things into slow motion. For me to capture and hold forever all the things you do today, things that I take for granted, things which I will realize how much I enjoyed when it is too late, and they have disappeared.
The first thing that comes to mind is the "Dana Wiggle". Anyone who knows you well knows what I speak of when I refer to this. Whenever you are deep in thought, concentrating on something, or listening intently to someone you have a tendency to sit up straight and wiggle your buns back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. It's hilarious, and so precious.
I also think of your vocabulary, and how no matter how much it grows and expands with every day that passes there are certain words which you are determined to say a certain way. Your Daddy's and my favorite one is how you consistently call potatoes, tomatoes. Even though you can recognize and identify tomatoes from a mile away (because of the way you completely loathe them), you still insist on calling any form of potatoes a tomato. There's also "melisin" for "medicine", "last day" for "yesterday", "probally" for "probably", and a whole new set of lyrics for your Bible Songs CD that you love to sing at the top of your lungs as we're driving along. I also find it hard to keep a straight face when you tell me, as you're crying for being put in the "naughty corner", that I broke your heart, and God's going to be mad at me. You are a little girl to be treasured.
It's hard for me to come to the grips with the fact that you will be leaving my constant care soon as you head off to school. I will have to make a conscious effort on a daily basis to let you go, as all I want to do is to keep you here with me always. It has been a joy mothering you almost all day, every day for the last four years, and the thought of anyone else having influence over your life and your decisions scares me. I know that is probably (probally?) the wrong attitude to take, it's just I've never had to trust such a valuable possession of mine into the care of someone else for more than a day or two a week, and then it's always been me leaving you with your grandma's.
(You do know how to write your name now, and I've thought about drafting up a contract and having you sign it stating that you will never intentionally hurt anyones feelings, you will never lie, cheat, or steal, and you will always do what I tell you, but I have a feeling it may not hold up in a court of law. So I will continue to do my best to trust that the values your Daddy and I try to instill in you everyday will be carried out into the world with you.)
My prayer for you today, on your birthday, is simply that you feel loved. You are so blessed to be surrounded by a huge number of aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins who love you and only want the best for you. Add that to the unconditional love of your Daddy and me, and compound that by infinity for the eternal love Jesus has for you, and you should never have to search anywhere else to know that you are held sacred in the eyes of many.
Stay true to yourself, my little sweetheart. Keep your tender heart open to the people around you, dare to try new things, explore this world around you with excitement and anticipation of what's to come, and know that you are being prayed over and protected with every step you take. I promise you that for as long as you walk this earth you will never be alone.
I love you, Dana Jae. Thank you for opening places in my heart I never knew existed, and filling them with your smiles, your hugs, and your love for me. I pledge to you to never take your love for granted, and to do my best to help you fulfill the purpose Jesus has for your life. There are great things in store for you if you trust Him and follow Him, and I will eagerly await the pleasure of witnessing His plan unfold for you.
You are joy to me.
With all my heart,
MommyDear Lord in heaven,
I pray this day for our sweet Dana. You did a wonderful work when you created her, Lord. She is sensitive, and kind, she is full of smiles and laughter, and above all she is a girl who loves to love.
Lord, I ask you for the wisdom to raise her to be the person You have made her capable of being. I'm afraid of messing her up, afraid of squashing parts of her I don't see or understand, and afraid of not doing her justice when it comes to parenting her. I know I will fail her many, many times over in the years to come. I ask today that my errors will not limit who and what she can become, but that Your presence in her life will overshadow any mistakes I will make.
Through it all, help her to know in the very depths of her soul that she is loved by You. Help her to understand that no matter what hurts may befall her, whatever heartache heads her way, whatever times may come where she doesn't feel good enough, that she is valued by a King, and made for a purpose by Your very hands. This alone will allow her to overcome anything this world may put in her path.
Please be with those of us to whom You have entrusted her. Show us the best ways to nurture her, to guide her, and to support her. Help us to know when to step in and when to step back, when to push her to continue and when to trust that she's done all she can do, when to lift her up and when to let her fall. These are all things which You alone know the answers to, please continually share them with us so that we may in turn point her back to You.
She is Yours, Lord. And I will trust that because she is Yours, You will do everything in Your power to make sure she grows up with a deep understanding of this. I will rely on You to be there for her in the ways that we cannot, and to fill those places inside her with Your spirit of mercy and grace. All I ask is that you just let us know what we can do to help.
Thank You for our wonderful daughter. She is our blessing with no bounds.
In Your Wonderful Name I pray,