Dear Brianna,

I can’t believe it’s already been a year since I wrote the letter for your second birthday. And I know it was only last week that I wrote you your first birthday letter. Surely it can’t already be time for another one? And I know that you can’t be three because I swear it was only yesterday that I was positive I was going to be pregnant forever. But now here you are, my gorgeous, stubborn, smart, creative, spoiled and oh-so-loved baby girl.

This morning, you woke up and whispered into the monitor, “Mommy, I’m ready to go to daycare and have my birthday.” I rolled out of bed, convinced you were going to have the best day ever. I sang Happy Birthday, we picked out your clothes and your big girl panties, laid in bed and giggled and talked, you told me you had teeth to chew with and then pretended to chew on my neck, then you asked me, “Why do we have hands?” Geez, aren’t you too young to ask questions like that? And then, because you’re three, you got whiny and I had to threaten you to keep you moving, to get shoes on your feet, to get you to blow your nose…to get you to do anything. Best day ever? I don’t know about that, but certainly one not unusual for a three year old!

Over the past year, you’ve gotten so big. You’re not a baby anymore, you’re a little girl with a definite mind for what you want. Full of questions, the past six months we’ve heard “why” probably more than we ever wanted to. Because you want to know why about everything!

I can’t believe how much you’ve learned in a year. Colors, shapes, numbers, the alphabet. At this time last year, you were just starting out learning animal sounds and now you know all of those and more!

One of the big changes for us this year was for you to start daycare. Once you turned two, I started you two mornings a week only. I felt so guilty and was so worried about how you’d do. I wanted to make sure you were home every afternoon for your nap, and I felt guilty about not keeping you home with me. Slowly, your two mornings a week increased to three mornings, and then three full days and now you’re going full time and there are days I still have that mommy-guilt, that I should still have you here with me. But then I see how much you love daycare, the teachers, the kids, the activities and the playground, and how much they love you, my little charmer, and I know, even if just for a minute, that I shouldn’t feel guilty at all.

Some of my favorite times in this last year have been hearing some of the things you say, how your mind works, and being constantly amazed at how smart you are and the things you’re learning. One of the funny things you said that I often shared with people was a conversation in July, where your dad and I were tired, but you wanted to go outside and play. I suggested to your dad that we could just throw you in the backyard and watch you from the sunroom. Your response? “Don’t throw me, I will walk outside!” That still makes me laugh when I think about it.

So much has happened, so much has changed. Going from diapers to panties. Learning how to say the cats’ names right and telling them now that they’re your best friends, learning different songs and singing them every night at bedtime, then walking around during the day singing them. Last week it was “Come on, baby, do the locomotion.” I wonder what it will be next week or a year from now?

The beach is one of your favorite places to go, with anywhere you can swim being a close second. Every weekend this summer you’d ask if we were going to the beach. You get that from your grandpa.

You love to read and I love that about you, because it’s something that’s so important to me. You still love “your book” and look for it on the bookshelf, then ask me to read it to you (we only do the first few pages and never the swear words!)

Your daddy has been taking you to soccer every Saturday this past year and the two of you love those Saturday mornings. You know that when you wake up on Saturday, it’s time for soccer. It’s so cute to see you dressed up in your soccer clothes, your hair in pigtails, ready to go run around the field. We also took you to see your first “big” soccer game where you got to see the mascot, Talon, and also got to see “Beckham David” play.

You love your Mima and Poppy and have spent a lot of time with them over this past year, going to their house on Wednesday nights and some weekends, getting spoiled rotten and adoring ever second there. Sometimes not even wanting to come home (I think they let you have a lot more candy than we do πŸ˜‰ )That’s going to be a big change for you coming up, because they’re moving away, to New York, and you won’t get to see them every week, every weekend. I worry about how much you’ll miss them, and how much they’ll miss you, because you’ve been a big part of each others’ lives.

Every year brings big changes for us. You get taller, you get more words, you get smarter and more stubborn and more defiant. But something that never changes, that will never change, is that you’ll always be my baby. Every day I try to get you to snuggle with me, because you’re growing up fast and I dread that day where you’re too big to sit in my lap, too big to want to cuddle and let me smell your hair. Every day I notice something new, something funny, something smart that you do or say and I think “this, this is something I’ll remember”. But I can’t remember every small moment, every little change so I’m holding on to the ones I do remember as tight as I can.

Last month we went to Disney World on our first family vacation, and then to Daytona Beach where your daddy was the best man in his friend’s wedding. You were fascinated with the idea that someone was “getting married” and a few weeks ago, as I was kissing you goodnight and tucking you into bed, you looked at me and said, “I’m going to get married tomorrow.” At that moment I knew that, years from now when you do get married, it will seem like it really was “yesterday” that you said those words to me.

I thank God every day that he sent you to us and I hope someday you can read this letter and know that no parents were ever so blessed and no toddler was ever so loved.

I love you, baby girl. Happy 3rd Birthday. I can’t wait for our next year of adventure.

Love,

Mommy

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