Dearest Dani, how can you be 4 already? I swear, just a few days ago, you were just a little bitty bit, red, and screamy, an angry little newborn. And you were angry, probably, because your mommy had no idea what she was doing. Yours was the first diaper I ever changed.
And the time has just flown, my little sweetie.
You were, and still are, our cautious child. You crawled until you could walk without falling. None of the stumbling, falling, figuring-it-out that new babies do when trying to walk. When it looked hard or too far away, you crawled.
You weren't quick to speak. Again, you were figuring it out. Sure, there was a word, here and there, but they were slow to come. I used to joke that you'd have your Helen Keller moment where language would just make sense to you and you'd start talking. And you did. And now you never stop talking. And your words amaze me.
You are loving and kind. You are the friendly child at the store that says hello to everyone and asks their name. You are happy to help, always.
You've picked me a thousand dandelions, because you think they are beautiful. I think they are beautiful because they are from you, wilted, and with short stems, handed to me by a little cherub whose nose is yellow with pollen.
You are a master of disguise. Always game for a costume or an adventure. Many days you whisper to me, "Mommy, I'm not Dani," and you wait until I can guess what character you've assumed for the moment.
Your first reaction is to be afraid of the unknown. From the spider on the web, to the hairball under the couch, your first reaction is retreat, rather than bravado. But you face your fears. The cat, who I know secretly terrifies you, is met with a stubborn smile, and a "Hello kitty, I love you," as you pet him. And then he moves his paw too quickly, and you can't hide that it's scary, but still you sit, and assure him that he's a good cat and he's your friend, as you are internally assuring yourself that he is indeed, and won't hurt you.
You usually tell the truth. Other times, you blame Tori. She doesn't seem to mind--and will often apologize for the things she didn't do.
You love to be the focus. As Tori began to stumble through the alphabet and counting, you saw our encouragement. You were right along side her, saying it perfectly, not to help her, but so you'd hear our praises too. Sometimes, it's got to be hard to be the oldest. There's always someone who is just a little bit more needy than you, so we have to tell you to wait. And you do, usually with a smile, because you know we'll have some special time just for you, a little bit later.
Yesterday, when we were driving to the store so you could pick out your first Christmas ornament, I told you that we would get one every year, so that when you were a big girl, you could have them all for your first Christmas tree. You insisted that you would not--that you would always want to live with me, and have the same Christmas tree as me and Daddy. As much as I know that answer is because you are four, it made me intensely happy, as I know the inevitable day it is no longer your wish will cause me intense sadness.
And you are bright, so bright. It never stops being overwhelmingly wonderful being your mommy.
Dani, you are my light. You bring us so much joy my four year old girl.