Four years later, it's hard to believe that so much time has passed. Wasn't she just born? Didn't we only just become parents?
And yet, it feels very much as though she has always been here, that she has always been part of our family. I remember the time before her, the time before we were parents, but it feels like another lifetime. That couldn't possibly have been us, not really: we've always had this little firecracker in our midst, surely.
The past four years have had more than their share of drama. Pre-term birth. Nursing struggles. House fire. Oral aversion and weight loss. Mild speech and motor delays. Apartment mold. "Spiritedness" (read: epic tantrums). Food allergies. But they've also held so much joy, so many moments of grace and blessing and love. Always love.
The past year have witnessed Peanut shake off the last vestiges of babyhood and blossom into a real girl. We've seen her blossom as a sibling. She'll often tell us, "I'm a big girl now. I'm a very good sister." And it's true, so true.
She's a vibrant little person. Paradoxically, she manages to be both adventurous and timid. When she is happy her laughter bubbles up and overflows and when she is sad her sorrow spills out in torrents, her anger explodes. She's a girl of many extremes, and Jon and I are still learning that her extreme joy comes with extreme opposites. We cannot have one without the other with our Peanut, it would seem, and so we learn as we journey through her life with her how best to work with her as she learns and grows.
She is very loving, easily hurt and offended, makes friends easily and enthusiastically, loves to learn and is proud of new achievements. She often tells me she wants to have a baby. Now. She tells me she is going to be as tall as Daddy (which, at 6 feet tall, would be somewhat unexpected). One of her favourites lines is "When I grow up...", used as an excuse to try and get out of anything. "When I grow up I'll eat vegetables." "When I grow up I'll have a hair cut." "When I grow up I'll cut my fingernails." It's one of the most frustrating things we hear on a daily basis, though I do admire her ingenuity and persistence.
She loves music and dancing and has developed a fantastically varied taste in music. She'll watch classic Disney princess movies with the same enthusiasm as old musicals. She requests Funny Girl and knows all the words to Don't Rain on My Parade and My Man. She asks to listen to Florence and the Machine. Her movement is nearly constant and so joyful.
It is such a wonder to watch her grow into a complex person. Discovering, uncovering the many facets of her personality, witnessing her learn and change and mature, we are both able to see how the roots of who she is were present in her infancy as well as appreciate all the ways in which she is evolving through her days and years.
Four years. Such a short time, and yet so long. We are so blessed - I am so blessed - to have her in our family, the first child of our hearts. Happy birthday, dearest Glynis!