Last night, you went to sleep a three-year-old, and I climbed up onto your bunk bed to pray over you just like I do every year.

And today you're four.

Days ago, you requested a doughnut for breakfast and so, because the universe wasn't in my favor yesterday but most certainly is on the occasion of your birth, we arrived at the shop in perfect time this morning. I got an iced latte and you got a chocolate yeast doughnut and we buckled ourselves into the car with squeals of delight. There was no traffic on the roads and we devoured our breakfasts and sang at the top of our lungs and then got to the office early and now you're playing quietly in the corner while I write this and it has already been the very best day.

I remember walking the halls of this building when I was first hired, back when you were barely a month old and I was still tender with the pains of giving birth and feeling like I would never get it right. It was a foggy mire, that season of hormones and healing and late nights and early feedings. I was anxious and frightened and battered by love for you. 

I wished for this moment then. I wish for those moments now. 

That is motherhood, I suppose.

Lucy Jane—lover of superheroes of all universes and galaxies far, far away—you are my delight. You care so deeply about the world and the people living in it, and already you're the person I hoped you would become. I think most children are. You don't need to become anything because, from the beginning, you were equipped with the goodness and joy we keep hoping you'll find later in life.

But we sometimes forget this simple truth: It's not really our job to help you achieve anything. It's our job to help you hold onto what's already yours.

All ready for your superhero birthday dinner!
On Saturday night, we hosted a special birthday dinner for you at The Flying Biscuit. Fifteen of our most beloveds showed up to celebrate and honor you, and it was what I think every birthday should be: relaxed and simple with tons of good food and laughter. You racked up on superhero stuff (your favorites were the Spiderman jacket and the Batman pajamas) and told me later than when you blew out the candles and made a wish, you wished only to "be brave and strong."

Sometimes I just cannot believe my luck. 

When you love others well and share their hurts (which is often), my heart soars. When you grab your guitar and scream/sing the theme song to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I belly laugh and try to capture the moment in my mind. When I overhear you reading books to baby Elliot or pretending to have a very important phone call with someone from your class, I smile to myself and tiptoe away with gratitude that God saw fit to give me you. What fun you have been, Lucy Jane. What fun you will be. What a life you have ahead of you.

Happy birthday, sweet girl. May you always be as brave and strong as you wish. 

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