I had just finished stirring my coffee when Girlie bounded up to me, and declared,
“Mama! Mama! It’s my birfday, and that means I get to do whatever I want, and have a Frozen cake, and open all the presents!”
Four. My tiny little Girlie is four. The difference between three and four sort of threw me for a loop. Three just didn’t seem that big of a deal; she was still little, she was still tiny, and she was still technically a toddler. Four though? It just feels like I went from having a baby girl to having a kid. Suddenly, as though I had no proof before, she was growing up, and no longer my baby Girlie. She’s a kid now.
Three wasn’t a great year for her. It started out with a police investigation shortly after she confided in me that she’d been molested by a family member. We tried to make the summer as fun and carefree as possible for her, but between the nightmares at night, and the fear that swept over our little family, we struggled to hold on while we found our new normal. Somehow though, she’s managed to be far more resilient than I imagined she could be. She still has bad dreams, but now she’ll tell us about them, instead of just sobbing into our shoulders. Consistently, she asks both my husband and I to reassure her that what happened to her was bad, and that we won’t see that person again. She’s taught us the enormity of communicating properly with your children, especially when it comes to the matters that none of us really even want to talk about. When I tell her she’s brave, I mean it with every fiber of my being. For her to be able to talk about the darkest moment of her little life, and still manage to smile moments later, as though nothing happened? It humbles me.
In her world, her big brother is still the sun, the moon and the sky. She loves everything he loves, and misses him when he’s at school. Unlike last year, she’s begun to stand up to him when she’s had enough of being told exactly what to do. She’s not afraid of telling someone if she’s uncomfortable, or doesn’t like the way something has been done. Sometimes, she’s certain and insistent that she knows better and knows the answer, which has led to a few arguments because she’s so confident in herself and her thoughts.
We, like every other family, saw Frozen in early December. Now, even six months later, she is obsessed. She’s memorized lines, and the songs. She has the Frozen dolls, and the soundtrack. Every night before bed, she asks me for either Elsa hair (one french braid) or Anna hair (two braids). Often, I’ll find Girlie sitting on her own, playing quietly while softly muttering the lyrics to the song. If I ask nicely, sometimes she’ll do a performance.
In the fall, she’ll start preschool. Something that we hemmed and hawed over for the last several months. I’m certain she wants to go because her big brother goes to school, but I also know that she needs it. She’s ready to soak up information, and unlike her brother, she seems eager to socialize and make new friends. When we visited her new school this spring, she happily pranced from room to room, asking when she would get her own backpack and lunch bag.
Girlie may be tiny, but she makes up for it with her huge personality. She is funny, and creative. Sometimes, she is a little dramatic. She’s always eager to play a new game, or give you a cuddle. Her empathy for others astounds me too; during the soccer season, I’ve witnessed her stop playing just to go kneel down beside someone who was hurt, and make sure they are okay. Her obsession with cats still remains. If she sees one anywhere, no matter what, she shrieks in delight and makes sure that everyone around her knows that there is a “KITTY!”
As I tucked her into bed that night, after all her birthday guests had gone home, I asked her what her favorite part of the day was, a normal tradition that we do nightly. She paused to reflect on the day, and as the sleep became heavy on her eyes she mumbled,
“The Frozen cake. No. My friends coming. No. The presents. No…Mama, I loved it all! It was the best birfday! Can we do it again tomorrow?!”
Happy Fourth Birthday, my dear Girlie.