You'd think that after writing to you three years in a row, I wouldn't be surprised by how much you have grown in the last 12 months. But I still am amazed at the way you are changing, turning into a girl with a beautiful heart for the people around you.
Your memory is exceptional. Small details that Daddy taught you months ago seem to come to mind easily when asked. That is definitely something you got from him. He has a great memory and I hope you continue to exercise that part of your brain. It will make school a lot easier. And speaking of school, I love that you get so excited every time we talk about preschool at home!
I love the way you love your sister. Just today, when she fell over, you rushed to her side to make sure she was okay, giving her kisses in all the places she claimed to have boo-boos. Most days you are pretty patient with her and take the job of being a good example seriously. I'm sure as you get older that some days it will feel like too much pressure to show Mary the right way to do things, but just know, that your cheerful example now encourages me to make sure I am always a good example for you too.
One thing you are able to do is make the lights in your grandparent's eyes light up. When you see them from a far and then take off to leap into their arms, you bring them much joy. That type of enthusiasm to love people is a wonderful thing.
This year, you didn't get a big birthday party. And while you asked a couple of times for one, you were content with the plan to make it a family birthday. And learning to be content with what you have is a great way to live. I know you are learning this lesson by the excitement you felt when you saw your cake and heard Daddy and Mary and I singing "Happy Birthday" to you, not asking for anything else in that moment other than to give me a hug and tell me it was the "best cake ever."
Your hugs can make my day. And you are very free with them. I am already seeing the seed of a great capacity to love growing inside of you. I promise to do my best to nurture that growth and give you plenty of room to exercise it in the light of God's love for you.
And as I've said to you on your first, second, and third birthdays, I'll say it again:
Sweet Charlotte, you are only on loan to me from God, for however long he sees fit to let me have you. While I selfishly pray it is for a very, very long time, I also promise to always support you in following the unique path God has created just for you, wherever it leads.
You see, as much as I love you and as much as your daddy loves you... it is nothing compared to how much God loves you. He has a plan for your life that, while unknown to us now, will undoubtedly lead to indescribable adventures and certain challenges. But don't worry, he will give you all the resources you need to face them with courage and grace.
For your first second third fourth birthday Charlotte, it is my prayer that God will give you a mother worthy of such a special little girl. I pray that he will continue to grow me into a proper example for you of how a Godly woman thinks about the world, treats other people, worships, and brings glory to God.
I love you Charlotte Moon and can't wait to wake up tomorrow and see where 4 takes us!