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My Dearest Girl,

These letters are getting fewer and further between, but my moments with you grow more vibrant. More alive. More complex as your imagination and creativity soar.

IMG_8598.JPGOne of your favorite activities right now is to “float away” in a cardboard box. After emptying it of all its contents, you fill the “boat” with your favorite stuffed animals, supplies for your trip and any number of toys to keep you company. Then, you climb in and wave goodbye to me in the middle of the kitchen: “Bye bye, Mama! Abby is floating away!

IMG_8601.JPGMy heart knows this is true in so many ways. You are growing up. Floating further away from the person of my needy baby toward an independent, determined preschooler. I would not hold you back, but sometimes I wish I could just snuggle and rock you without you wiggling away. Sometimes, I wish I could dress you and make you obey without a lengthy negotiation session. Sometimes, I wish I didn’t see my hormone fluctuations reflected in your exaggerated tantrums. Yes, I know you were sleepy last night and probably experiencing a sugar crash from that apple fritter that we shared, but did we really need to have a drawn-out weeping session over an orange shopping bag you wanted from the car and the fact that we couldn’t find your missing sock?

I think the proverb “Don’t cry over spilt milk” resulted from someone’s experience of parenting a toddler.

But, I digress.

View More: http://rachaelhopephotography.pass.us/hasz-family-collectionAs I suspected from those first early months of your life, you are not a child who is content to sit and ponder the world. No, you explore it. Taste it. Jump into it and on it and over it every chance you get. You climb up and fall down. You are a whirlwind of perpetual activity. Reading books is a rarity, but singing and dancing to silly songs is a daily occurrence.

Since I began working full-time, I’ve gone through phases of mommy guilt for the time I spend away from you, mommy guilt for the relief in the hours I don’t have to negotiate with you, grief as I drop you off in the morning and miss you in my empty quiet car, grief as I see you sleeping on the monitor when I get home at night but didn’t have a chance to tuck you in. I’m crying now even, as those emotions are fresh and raw, often occurring and confusing. I may also be pregnant and hormonal, but that’s another story.

THIS is the story of YOU. You and me. Our ups and downs. Our highs and lows. How I miss you and your constant conversation, as I drive away from your early learning center. How I am proud of you, as I watch videos of you riding your balance bike with Grammy and Pop. Your mind absorbs new ideas and new words, reshaping them and fashioning them into such delightful perspectives. You keep us laughing. You keep us praying. You keep us realizing how little we know about parenting. But, we will learn and pray and laugh. Cry, too, but that goes without saying these days.

IMG_8556.JPGAbby, when you are grown and look back on this season, my guess is that most of your memories will be very fuzzy except for what pictures and our stories of you reinforce. You are just two-and-a-half. Just barely coming into your own. Just barely asserting yourself in this big amazing world. But, I pray that you read these letters and find the strength to chase after your dreams. To be a stay-at-home mom if that is your calling or to pursue a career. To not be confined by stereotypes or people’s expectations. To remain humble before your God, but to proudly revel in the strong woman that you are. You are brave. You are smart. You are beautiful. Embrace all of those characteristics. The strength. The intelligence. And the beauty of being a woman.

I love you, Sweet Toddler Girl.

XOXO, Your Mama

{Photo credit Rachael MacPhee of Haven, Life & Photo}

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