Thursday, January 3, 2013

Letter to (Three Year and Nine Month Old) Ann Peyton

Dear Ann Peyton,

This has been a great month with you.  December brought us lots of joy and so many smiles.

You loved The Nutcracker. So much so that you daily imagine yourself as the graceful protagonist and  request that we call you "Marie" and tell us that Baby Graves is "your" nutcracker. Until you remember that he's Fritz (Marie's brother).

You dance to it for basically the entirety of your rest time. Graves sleeps still in his crib and you put on your ballet shoes and tip toe and leap and plie while he slumbers and I eat lunch and fold laundry and type words. In the evenings when we put you to bed, you remind us to put on a different CD because "it makes me dance". We are so smitten with you, Tiny Dancer.

You also quite enjoyed The Twenty Four Days Before Christmas. Lots of words for a little girl, but proof positive you're ready for bigger and better things on the literature front.

You like the cold, just like your papa. And you ask me why I don't. You also like fires, though, and soft warm blankets and snuggling close.

You were more than pleased with the simple Christmas we determined you'd have and I have not a regret when I see children who received so much more. Your little dollhouse was perfect. You and Graves both seem to adore it and your Little People are the perfect inhabitants for it. It's simple and in its own way, very quaint. It also takes up only a little space in our house. Incidentally, for my sanity's sake, I only had a a little space to accommodate y'alls gifts.

Furthermore, you were caught up in the magic of having pancake breakfast with sprinkles and candles and sparking grape juice all to celebrate a baby king. I'm relishing in a time where you're a little person and little things still mean a great deal and trying to intentionally help you grow into a big person who takes joy in simple pleasures and isn't too worried about the new enticing thing. There will, hopefully, always be time for adventure in your life and my hope is that your imagination will only continue to expand. But at the end of the day, I want things like a good book and a cup of hot chocolate to mean as much as any big, grandiose gift.

Best of all, though, was watching you as you picked out gifts for other boys and girls. You had been talking all month about the presents we'd give them and you really wanted to give a dollhouse like yours. We packed shoe boxes full of toys, so you certainly did have the opportunity to give in that way, but that night, Christmas night, Papa talked to you about how a dollhouse isn't so important if you don't have a real house. Such a big conversation for such a tiny girl and Momma would be lying if I told you I didn't have tears in my eyes- "Won't that worry her, honey?". "She's you. She'll worry anyway. Why hide this from her?". And I told myself that this was okay. That you growing up with us slowly sharing the real, gritty, scary world with you is really the only way for it to be. The best way, anyway.

You chose to give clean water, mosquito nets, and a loan for three women, based on pictures and descriptions we read to you from the World Vision site. We also decided to sponsor a child, whom you refer to as your penpal. 

I worried about you this month, Annie. I cried for the first time over watching you worry  this month, sweet girl. It actually wasn't you worrying so much, but I saw myself so clearly when you told Papa you wanted to leave your new Little People at home because you were afraid they'd get lost on a short overnight trip we were taking. For some reason, it broke my heart that you were that sensitive about it and thinking in that way already. It just seemed to grown. Too serious. Too much.

Minnie told me that you were like me, but in some ways not. She told me that she was proud because you were protecting yourself from worry and grief in a way it took me much longer to learn. I hope my words will help you through things the way Minnie's help me.

I'd be remiss to end this letter without telling you how deeply proud of you Papa and I are. We've seen a change in you lately in the way you treat Graves and it's been beautiful. He's had a rather hard, fussy time lately and is just what you'd call a bother of a brother, to be frank. He's little and he has few words and when he's grumpy there's not a lot we can do for him. But you. Darling, you, have been showing your brother such patience. It is something to watch your older child love your baby, it's another to watch her extend grace and forgiveness to him. Annie, you teach us and humble us so much and we couldn't be more excited about a new year with our precious girl!

Momma (and Papa)

P.S. Your pjs are a 3T.

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