My sweetest girl

Birthdays in our family have ushered in some traditions. Traditions aside from the cake/candles/gifts/party ones (although we do those, too). One thing we do is let whoever's birthday it is choose what we're having for dinner. Another tradition of ours- begun when our daughter was one- is that for each birthday, Mark and I both write a birthday letter. Those letters go into a binder that will someday- in some form- be given to our children.

Today is my daughter's birthday. On the menu tonight was meatloaf and mashed potatoes- her choice. And here is that birthday letter.

Dearest sweet girl of mine,

You are five years old today! This morning you said to me, "Now that I'm five I'm probably too heavy for you to carry me." Nope, sweet girl... I am thankful there is strength in my arms to hold you-- even with you at the big age of five!

Why does five seem such a landmark? Five whole years. That's half a decade. I get a little teary on these occasions. It truly is going so fast.

As I prayed this afternoon over lunch, I thanked God for blessing us with your little self five years ago. Who knew then you would be such the little woman you are now? I see so many qualities God is forming in you, and my heart overflows with gratitude for how He is growing you up.

You are very responsible. You take instructions very seriously, and follow them to the letter (most of the time ;)).

You have such a nurturing spirit, tending to others' needs so well. You have this wonderful ability- even at five- to see a need and move to meet it. When I began going to prayer meetings during our lunch hour this year, all of a sudden once a week it was just you, daddy and the boys. Daddy told me later how you would walk straight to the fridge, begin pulling out leftovers, and telling him what you'd be eating. And then you would sit at the table with him, and so grown-up, say: "Daddy, how is work going? Who did you talk to at work today?" You were filling in my role. I love this.

You have the gift of service to others. You delight very much in helping- especially with your little brothers. Or with me in the kitchen. "Mommy, is there anything I can help you with?" is something I hear often. This summer you helped so much with the harvesting of our garden- snipping beans, husking corn, gathering apples, pulling carrots. And if I give you a task, or if it's time for your chore, you do it joyfully.

Your spirit is sweet and compassionate. When someone gets hurt- daddy, mommy, or your brothers, you often burst into tears right along with them. You are so empathetic.

You have an incredible memory. It really does astound your daddy and me... you remember things spoken long ago that we've since forgotten.

You are so social- always chatting. Even when it's quiet time, you are chatting with your baby or Flopsy or your dollhouse guys...

This year you have taken to answering the phone every time it rings (which I don't mind, except for when you're chattering all about what's going on at our house and I'm still wondering who it is, (and hoping it's not a stranger!)). You also love getting the mail, and you know good and well which mail is the fun mail and you tear those things open first. (This, I do mind!) And you've also taken to telling daddy all the important news of our day.

You began doing chores regularly this year, and am I ever thankful for your help! Right now you make your bed, get yourself dressed (and my oh my, you do come up with the most interesting outfits!), unload the clean silverware from the dishwasher, clean up the toys (you're my best cleaner-upper), clear the table, put your dirty clothes away, and recently: sort and fold all your own laundry! In addition to all those things, you are often running to and fro for mommy- retrieving a diaper, helping your brothers turn on a light, assisting in finding something, etc. What I am especially thankful for is your happy heart as you help. Thank you, my sweet girl. May your hands never tire in loving and serving others.

This past year we went through the ABC Bible Verses book, and you learned all those verses with such ease, we have tagged on many new verses. We continue to marvel at your ability to remember God's Word, and are so thankful you are hiding these words of life in your heart. Oh, how I pray that you will love God's Word. And that you will not be just a hearer, (and a knower) but a doer, too.

You joined me many times for my quiet times this year. There are days that I head off with my Bible and my journal, and you come in moments later with your Bible, and your "journal". You have joined me, laying on your tummy on my bed, praying with me for others. Your prayers are earnest, and full of faith. Your prayers are also consistent, and I have learned much from you in this. While I tire of bringing the same requests before God, you never do. You pray for the same thing, over and over and over again. Many times a day. More than any other thing, I pray that your love for Jesus and your trust in Him will grow.

Some days you will crawl into bed with me and take a nap. Oh, how I love this. It reminds me of when you were a little baby and you'd nurse and then fall asleep beside me. And I look upon your dear face and am so, so thankful. You are a joy, my girl.

This year you began sitting with us through our church service. This was instigated by you, (yet as I ponder this I wonder that it wasn't God's idea, surfacing through you wanting to be near us.) What a delight it has been to have you worshiping beside us. I have learned from you in this, too. You come to church, ready to worship. You take your coat or sweater off, climb atop your chair, and immediately raise your hands in praise to God. No matter the song. Or if you know the words or tune. :) You belt it out, delighting me and surely your Father in heaven who hears your voice. You listen to the sermon, too- and mark in your journal your own "notes". You- always my shy girl in groups- have grown in this, too. At church you are confident beside us, and shake hands and smile and give hugs and run across the church to greet Grandpa and Grandma and Gary and Diana.

I love you so much, my Ella girl. Happy birthday to you. I am thankful for a year full of precious memories with you.

Happy to be your


1 comment:

  1. Dec. 3, 2006 - Happy Birthday, Ella!!
    Posted by Michelle
    Stacy, what a beautiful letter!! So many of the wonderful things you describe in Ella, are obvious reflections of YOU! Goodness, girl, you have a FIVE year old!


    Dec. 3, 2006 - Untitled Comment
    Posted by CountryMomof4
    What a precious, PRECIOUS, letter. You had me in tears. I remember when my oldest turned 5. On the eve of her birthday I watched her fall asleep and just cried. She was growing up so fast. I should have written down my loving thoughts for her as you have done.
    Your daughter will treasure that letter forever. What a beautiful tradition. ~K


    Dec. 4, 2006 - Untitled Comment
    Posted by MicheleinNZ
    Thanks for sharing, Stacy. What a great gift these letters will be when she is older.


    Dec. 4, 2006 - so sweet
    Posted by Dana
    beautiful letter!
    What a blessing for her as she grows up.


    Dec. 5, 2006 - Untitled Comment
    Posted by foxvalleyfamily
    She's adorable! Five IS a special milestone, and I agree it is a bittersweet one.
    It's like they cross a line from preschooler to "school aged child."
    It's exciting, but sad at the same time. My daughter will be 4 in a couple of weeks.
    They grow up too fast, don't they?
    Michelle W.


    Dec. 5, 2006 - Love this idea
    Posted by Sarah
    Your letter to Ella was beautiful!

    We started doing this for our boys's so fun and I think they will love reading back when they are a little older.


    Dec. 5, 2006 - Untitled Comment
    Posted by Anonymous
    What a beautiful tribute.
    She sounds like a precious daughter - those things you wrote about - your quiet time together, the way she helps you in your chores - I so look forward to with my daughter(s)!
    Thank you for sharing!
    Elise - Joy in the Morning


    Dec. 5, 2006 - Delightful!
    Posted by AussieinAmerica
    What a sweet letter, what a sweet daughter, what a sweet mama! Thanks for sharing your letter with us. You have given me some ideas of things to do with my own girl.
    So glad you are blogging here again.


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