Much belated, but better late than never, here are my thoughts to Hope on her fourth birthday.
Congratulations! You have reached your dream of being 4! For months now, I've thought of you as already four... not sure why... I always think of you as older than you are. Truthfully, that oversight on my part gets you into a lot of trouble. It's hard to remember to treat you as a four year old and have four year old expectations, when you tag along with your big sister all the time and are much taller than the average kid your age. But alas, you and I are bumbling along and I fully expect we'll emerge alright in the end ;)!
Hope, this year for your birthday you chose to have "bike ride birthday bash". You take great pleasure in riding along behind Daddy on the tag-along. You are pretty distracted and not much help in pedaling, probably because you are savouring the wind in your fluffy blonde hair or the trees whizzing by you in a blur. Bike riding is not exactly an athletic endeavor for you, but as in all of life, it is a magical adventure. You are such an emotional girl, and all of your adventures are either perfectly magical and bound in layers of imagination, or all together awful. It seems to be we are always riding the wave with you- to the heights of laughter, joy, and silliness. Then to the depths where you are nothing short of despondent and hopeless. What a ride!
Silliness. You have been such a fun kid to be around. We suspect you are the clown of the family (right behind Daddy, of course). You seem to have a knack for what will catch us off guard and make us giggle. You really get Eva and Esther going with your silly monologues or funny dance moves. Your friends seem to think you're pretty funny too, and they definitely motivate you to dig deeper (and sillier)! You and Hazel are still going strong as best friends. You are both extremely loyal to one another, and it seems a day at church or with friends just isn't quite good enough without Hazel around. Of course you roll together on the highs and lows of being four, so it is not always a tranquil scene to see you together. You always seem to make up though, and you spell out your great affection for each other regularly.
You seem to be a bit of a free spirit. I often wonder if there is any way that you and Eva are alike... the answer is probably only in your looks! You sort of wander carefree through life, taking it as it comes with a good measure of wonder and imagination. You thoroughly enjoy playing with others or by yourself. Your alone play is really amazing to listen to, so full of life and curiosity. Things that seem completely common and normal to the rest of us, fall completely dull on you. One example is food- our family likes to eat good food. You, however, don't really seem to care about food at all. You virtually refuse to eat meat, for the reason that it doesn't taste good to you, and you feel sorry for the animal. At a meal you usually ask, "Is this pig? or cow? or chicken?" Eva says, "it's pork, Hope. You'll like it!" And you respond, "Is that pig?", then you push it away. Hot dogs, of course, are a different story :). In fact, the only food you care anything about is junk food, as far as I can tell!
You love adventure, fun, and anything girly. On the flip side, you disdain structure, limits, and expected outcomes. This year, we continue to participate in the Preschool Coop. While you like to see your friends and listen to the story, you find the structure to be draining. You complain about calendar time, saying it is sooooo boring! I assume that it is good for you to practice paying attention to logical and sequential activities since, obviously, you won't be able to live forever in your fairy tale world. I am surprised, however, at your recent interest in letters and words! At your own pace, in your own time, I'm sure you'll come to love school and all that it entails.
Being the emotionally sensitive child that you are makes you a great snuggler and very affectionate. We can count on you finding your way into our bed almost every night, just to be near and snuggle! You really love a good wrestle with Daddy and or some time cuddling and reading with Mommy. In general, your emotional ups and downs are much less extreme if we keep that emotional love take FULL! You definitely challenge me to unearth the emotional, sensitive side of me, but I think it's good for both of us.
In general, you keep us guessing. Whether it's a new emotional roll, a mischievous act that catches me by surprise, wandering off to the neighbor's a few times each day, or your interpretations and opinions of the world around you. I'll think we'll be able to count on you to keep us on our toes and look at things from a different perspective!
I'm thankful that you are becoming a healthier child. Sometime in the last year, we took the plunge and tried giving you cooked egg whites. Your former severe egg allergy seemed to have been healed. You were so proud to be able to eat the whole egg with the rest of us! Last winter was pretty brutal with numerous ear infections and two ruptured eardrums, but you do seem to be getting stronger. You had a virus this week that ran it's course in only a few days, which was a real praise! Speaking of sickness, you remember to pray every day for your cousin Solomon Leo's fight with leukemia.
Things you love- pink, princesses, sweets and breads, jewelery, pretty things. You are a warm kid and always wearing the least amount of clothes possible... usually skirts and frilly shirts. You wear size 5 clothes, size 11 shoes, and your crazy self-imposed haircuts are finally starting to grow out so that we can do stuff with your hair. You are obsessed with boyfriends and people getting married. You tell everyone that you have a boyfriend named Isaac Boldt, even though I'm always responding that you don't actually have a boyfriend. You and Isaac do seem to like each other an awful lot though!
Oh Hope! You are wacky, fun, and full of new ideas. We laugh, shake our heads, sigh, and get white knuckles being your parents, but we wouldn't have it any other way! We're so thankful that God put you in our family and we pray for abounding grace for you in the future. Happy Birthday!
We love you so much,
Daddy and Mommy