I can't believe Allie is 4. I didn't cry the whole week. Not even when Facebook reminded me what I posted 4 years ago. She was so tiny and squishy. But I kept it together until Sunday rolled around. She moved up to the 4-5 yr old class and when she lined up without even looking back at me, it really hit me how grown up and independent she is. So of course I walked back into big church and immediately started crying into Brian's shoulder.
I remember there were moments where it felt so easy. She would sleep so much, at 5 days old we thought "This parenting thing is a piece of cake". And honestly, it was when she was that small. I still maintain that potty-training was the hardest thing I've ever had to do as a parent. It's between that and disciplining her. Those newborn days were so simple. *Sigh...
Sometimes when I see her sin come out, I can't help but feel like a failure as a parent. It's easy to blame yourself but it's also silly. I didn't put the sin in her heart. Yes, it's my job to teach her to be fighting it but she is not going to be perfect, no matter how hard I try. The moments that keep me going and encourage my heart the most are when I see the grace in her life. When she says "Yes, mommy" with a good attitude. When she lovingly helps Maddie instead of aggravating her. When she cleans all her toys quickly and efficiently and then says "Mom! Look! It's all clean!" with such joy. She's not even bragging, she's genuinely looking for the smile on my face and the hug I sweep her up in to thank her.
Oh Allie. Someday you'll be a mother. I can't even fathom that. Someday you won't need me to direct you anymore. You won't need the correction and instruction. You won't need me to tell you what's right and wrong. What's rude and polite. What's kind and unkind. I pray that you will lean as heavily on God's Word as I have. I pray that you don't attempt perfection but that you constantly repent. I pray that your eyes will be open to your sins. That you will be humble in correction. That you will be kind in your words and actions. That you will be submissive yet unwavering.
When you're a mother, you'll see I did the best I could. You'll see how imperfect I was. You'll see the mistakes and flaws but I think you will appreciate that I honestly gave it my best shot and prayed that God's grace would cover the abundance of shortcomings. And I hope that you will always come to me with your burdens. Mothers... we bear the burdens of our children even if they don't want it. But I hope I can always offer comfort, wisdom, and if nothing else, bring your burdens before the Lord on your behalf.
I'm so thankful for the last 4 years that you have been in our lives. It feels like you've been around forever and yet not that long. It also feels like you've been 4 forever because I can hardly remember you as a baby. You are growing so quickly into a young lady, I'm sure I'll blink and you'll be driving. It's a sad thing to see these years flying by but it also brings so much joy to see the Lord at work in your heart. I love you so fiercely.