Today you are 4 years old. I can hardly believe how quickly the time has passed. I remember the excitement I felt when I found out that I was pregnant. It was a long awaited answer to prayer. I loved to feel you kicking and moving. I wasn't so excited about the fact that you like to keep your foot in my ribs at all times, but you were so tall and had no where else to go. You had the hiccups a lot (and still do, as a matter of fact). I remember the last ultrasound before you were born. The tech got a really good shot of your foot (in my ribs, as always). I thought "wow that is a big foot!". And I remember seeing your long hair moving in the amniotic fluid. We suspected that you were a girl, but we didn't know for sure.
Your birth was a bit unexpected. Dad and I were convinced that you would arrive late, so we were a little unprepared when my labor started 2 days before your due date. You really do like to keep us on our toes! The labor was long and hard, but when I got to hold you in my arms I knew that it was all worth it. You had dark spiky hair and you were very chubby (with big feet, I might add). You had a rough start in this world, but you showed us right from the start that you were strong and determined. Those traits have continued to serve you well as you have gotten older.
We have loved watching you grow and learn new things. It brings us such joy to see you discover something new. Seeing the world through your eyes has taught us SO much, that I am not sure I could ever put it into words. You face each day with excitement and enthusiasm, as if you cannot wait to see what the day holds. You take such joy in the simple things of life. You love to be around people and if you can be the center of attention, even better! You seem to see the best in people even if they are doctors or therapists who make you do things you aren't happy about.
This past year has brought many changes in your life. The biggest change: you started school! I was nervous about that because it is hard to see my baby grow up. You weren't nervous at all! You had a good start last year, but this year has been even better. You started riding the bus (we won't talk about how hard that was for me). You get SO excited about going to school each day. It makes me so happy that you are having fun at school and look forward to going. You have not hesitated to try new things like, pulling seeds out of a pumpkin, tasting lemonade and popsicles, playing musical chairs and of course, riding the bus. You have also met lots of new people and in your true social butterfly fashion - you have happily befriended them all.
You also started therapeutic preschool this year. That program has helped you to grow in ways that I never would have imagined. The biggest change: you have figured out that you have a voice! It has been wonderful to see you find new ways to express yourself. We have found that you can be very opinionated! This shouldn't surprise us, but it has been an adjustment, at times. We cannot wait for you to get your own communication device (and hopefully that will happen in the coming year). We know that you have a LOT to say and we are anxious to hear it! It has also been so fun to watch you try new things with your body. You got to ride a bike this year, walk on a treadmill, use a gait trainer and use a power wheelchair. You haven't always been happy about these new things, but we know that you have grown tremendously because of them.
Today, as we will celebrate you turning four, I cannot help but think back to where we have been. I also look forward a bit to dream about what lies ahead. Just know that no matter what the future holds, we will be with you every step of the way. We love you and we are so proud of you. You are a beautiful girl, inside and out. We count it a privilege to be your parents and hope that we teach you half of what you have taught us. You have blessed us beyond measure. We thank God for you each and every day.
Happy Birthday, my sweet baby girl.