Hayleigh’s 5th Birthday

Last month (already!) Hayleigh turned 5 years old. 5! I feel as if I have never been without her, as if she has always been a part of me. I struggle to remember myself before knowing her and being her Mommy. Yet, I sit in amazement (and tears) at how quickly the past five years have gone! I look at her, getting all tall and long-legged, and wonder “when did this happen?! When did we have a big kid?!” She will go to Kindergarten next year. It is a 5 day a week, full day program. I don’t really know how we are “here” already-with a school age kid-but somehow time keeps going and I keep being amazed at the little people I get to spend my days with.
Since I am flooded with emotions and thoughts lately (and every year at this time: birthday season), and since I am very “behind” on keeping up with this blog I decided not to attempt a long letter to each of my birthday kids (Braxton being next). It seemed too intimidating right now which I why I have been putting it off. So instead I figured I would just jot, or type, some blurbs and random thoughts to each of my kids, starting with the one who made me a Mommy: my sweet, beautiful Hayleigh Grace.
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Some of your favorite things: The movie Frozen. On your actual birthday I took you and your best friend Brynlee to see the Frozen sing along movie in theaters. You had a Frozen themed birthday party with your friends from school and church. You have pretty much the entire Target toy aisle of Frozen toys now. Apparently your favorite color is blue now-because of the movie. Nearly every day you ask me when we can buy the DVD (not out yet) and if we can watch the songs on You Tube. I usually don’t mind because I secretly (or not so secretly) am obsessed with the movie as well.
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Crafts and coloring. Playing elaborate pretend games with Braxton-usually restaurant, or birthday party, or recently Robin Hood or Pirates. (You are always the most feminine and delicate character.) Royce. Yep. She is still one of your favorite things. She can do no wrong. You love to squeeze her face and do “nosies” or try to pick her up (really just pull her back on your lap and put her in a choke hold until she has to scream and punch her way out).  You sing lullabies to her in your shared room at night (usually Frozen ones). You get excited every time she does something new and have asked for months if she is a “tobbler” now. I know I should correct you and say toddler but I want to hold onto the few things you still say wrong because it reminds me you aren’t quite as big as you like to act.

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You are full of questions about God and Satan and Heaven and Hell. You get very bothered and emotional whenever we talk about or read about Jesus dying on the cross, and then very elated when we get to the resurrection. You are so moved. It is as if you are living through it fresh each time. I have tried to learn from you on this one. Not a day goes by that you and your brother are not asking me spiritual questions. You have taken it upon yourself to ask the kids at school if they go to church, if they believe in God or Santa or Satan (still working on the Santa thing…but Daddy and I may have made a breakthrough with the help of some props including a parmesan cheese shaker the other night at dinner. If you are in your twenties and still thinking of Christmas every time you eat spaghetti this may be why.) You even told some kids that they are going to hell. Yeeeah…working on that one too. I love your passion though. I love the faith of a child. The reasoning of a child. The urgency of a child. The honesty of a child. We could all use more of that. You though, you could use a little more tact. Maybe by the time you are six. hehe. I love that God and spiritual things are some of your favorite things. I love that the truth of God’s word is what you want to filter life through. Oh how I pray that never waivers!

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A few questions I asked you: favorite song? My God is #1 (from Hot Spot)
favorite animal? piggies and those birds that are pinkish… me: flamingos? you: yeah. Cuz they’re pink.
favorite color? pink and purple and coral (this was before it was apparently blue)
favorite food? pancakes, tacos and taco mac and strawberries
favorite movie? Frozen!
favorite toy? mostly my Disney princess dolls and my Sofia doll and my Felicity Doll
favorite book? The Jesus Bible and Princess and the Pig
favorite place to go? my preschool
What do you want to be when you grow up? A virtue and a bakery who bakes dinners and desserts and a Mommy and a teacher.
What you want for your birthday? Frozen things and a flutterby fairy
How will it be different to be 5? I will get to wear earrings all the time and get my ears pierced.

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Some of my favorite things about you: Your spirit. You have such a tender, sensitive spirit. You are intuitive, compassionate and wise beyond your years. I think sometimes you sense and feel more than you are capable of understanding and managing. Your feelings and perceptions are older than you are. Don’t shy away from your feelings. Don’t hide from the things you are able to pick up on. We need to learn how to manage them, together. It will probably always be somewhat of a challenge for you, but I see this an an incredible strength, a gift from God. He wired you to be able to care for people in a wonderful way. You can sense their needs, beyond the surface. That, coupled with your genuine love and compassion for others, gives you a unique and beautiful ability to love others as Jesus did. You often inspire me. What I have to discipline myself to do comes so naturally to you. I love that about you. I pray I can nurture it in you and that you never lose your ability to see others and put others first.

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Your imagination and creativity. You are always dreaming something up. A party, complete with decorations, invitations, a menu, a schedule etc. A wedding dress and bridal party. A game that you get so entranced in, it consumes all of you attention and energy. I see so much of myself in you in this area. As a little girl I remember being so captivated by my own ideas and games that they seemed so real And I wanted them to be real. And for moments in time, they were. I still find my mind spinning with more ideas than I can juggle. Sometimes it paralyzes me. Sometimes it excites me. Sometimes it frustrates me. Sometimes it fuels me. I know you are the same way. You are always asking me if you can make something or throw a party or some other big, elaborate idea. You even have mental lists of all the things that are spinning around in that brilliant brain of yours. I love your passion for your ideas. I love your passion for life. I love to see you creating and imagining. It brings me back to a time where I thought nearly anything was possible. I don’t want to crush that in you. Some day God will use your talents and exuberance and endless ideas to do big things.

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Your leadership capabilities. A year ago I may not have said this, but you have grown so much the past year. You are a leader socially, here at home and also at school and church. You are much more confident and outgoing. You are friendly and enlivened by social settings. At times there are still insecurities that sneak in and come out to me. I love being able to hash through them with you and give you simple solutions that you get so excited to implement. Because we are so alike I hope to be able to guide you as one who has been there before. I know you have to learn some things for yourself, but hopefully I can point you in the right direction and hold your hand along the path as you need it. I want to give you the tools so that your leadership ability flourishes, so that you are confident enough to not follow the wrong people in the wrong directions, but rather lead people the right way-even if sometimes it is unpopular or you feel as though you are leading no one but your own wandering heart. It isn’t easy to have people look up to you, I know. It is a weight and burden we may feel we never asked to carry, but I hope to help you carry it with grace.

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These things about you are characteristics that are true of you now, at five years old, but will also be true of you however old you are when you read this. These are characteristics that God created in you. And He created me as your Mommy to first see them in you (to see how God wired you), to help you see them in yourself and to channel and direct them in the right direction. Our greatest strengths can easily become our biggest stumbling blocks if we do not harness them, if we do not use them for good-for God’s glory. I have seen this in my own life and in the lives of many others. My prayer is that you are confident in how God has made you and thankful for the gifts that He has given you. I pray also that you will be determined to not be controlled by your personality but to direct your strong abilities as you serve God, that you will learn how to have your emotions, your sensitivity, your compassion, your intuition, your creativity, your imagination and your leadership work for you (and for God) and not against you. That you will control them and not the other way around. This is so difficult, knowing and controlling yourself, especially when you are wired to be such a thinker and a feeler. But my sweet girl, God knows. He made you this way. He thinks it is beautiful. He has a plan and a purpose for you. Consult Him. Consult the maker and the author and the sustainer. And consult me and Daddy. We are your biggest fans and want to be your biggest allies and helpers on this winding journey. We love you. Every piece of you. Nothing could ever make us stop loving you.
I love you. I love you. I love you.
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You are my jewel, my precious Hayleigh-Girl. My little Momma. My sweet Angel. You filled a hole in my heart-one I always knew was there,. one I begged God to fill but didn’t know the answer. He knew. He knew that it would take a 9lb sweet cheeked girl born at 11:42 on February 11, 2009, to fill my arms and fill my heart. You are on of God’s greatest, greatest gifts to me. So many of my smiles begin with you. So many of my passions and visions of the future are about you. I consider myself blessed beyond what I deserve to be your Mommy. It is all I ever dreamed of, and yet better than I could ever imagine. You are a beautiful person inside and out, my love. I am not just saying that. I believe it as strongly as almost anything. Your beauty radiates to all who know you. I am proud to call you my daughter. Sometimes I still find myself catching at that word, “daughter”. You are my dream and wish and prayer incarnate. My heart walking outside my body. I ache with love for you. 

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Happy 5th birthday to both of us-the anniversary of the day we met, the day you took your first breath, the day I became a Mommy. Ever since then I have felt as if I am in the groove, living the purpose god intended for me. And it is all tied up in you, in that day that our lives became intertwined. I love you more than I can say, my sweet girl. And I always, always will.
Love, Mommy
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