You've been strong since day one.
You entered the world calm, peaceful, and robust. You grew from a little baby into a brave and courageous toddler, fearing almost nothing and no one, with just an edge of caution to your exploration. As your voice gained strength, breaking from the toddler years to the preschool, your heart and soul know nearly limitless bounds as you test and explore the world around you, constantly straining and yearning for more.
Your testing at times pushes me to my very limits. And yet I know this strength will one day serve you very well, my darling. Once you fine tune this strength and begin to use it for the benefit of others, to be a voice for the voiceless and a warrior for those who are oppressed, you'll find no greater satisfaction in this gift you have been given. So for now, I learn to be patience as you push back against me, knowing you are slowly maturing and learning.
You test and push, and we accurately call you our "Spicy" girl. But you also love big. When you open up your heart, your affection is nearly boundless. I treasure the feel of your soft little hand linking fingers with my own. I relish in your arms wrapped around me, revel in the cool wetness of a kiss or three you have left upon my cheek. I commit to memory your little giggles and laughs, the twinkle in your young eyes, the roundness of your youthful cheeks, the funny words you make up, your precious singsong voice as you sing to yourself as you play, "Jesus Loves Me" and your AWANA Bible verse songs we make up. I admire you so much in the moments you strive and don't give up and I'll continue to encourage you in your moments of weakness so you can continue to grow.
We sure have had our moments, especially this past year, but I love you with all my heart. I sometimes dearly miss the little baby you once were and long for those snuggles... but I so love watching you grow into this amazing, independent person. And I'm trying to appreciate how much you still need me, because it won't be long until you don't need me so much anymore and oh how my heart will ache and long for these days, exhausting as they are.
Happy birthday, baby girl. Keep learning, growing, and conquering these mountains you climb. I love you!