by the time you're able to read this, i'll be older and you'll be wiser. you'll be smarter, more mature and with a good head on your shoulders ready to take on the world with the zest and excitement you now exhibit as a toddler.
when i look at you now - an adventurous, loving, hilarious, head-strong, affectionate, brilliant and stubborn 3 year old - i can't believe that three years has already gone by. it almost seems like yesterday that you were born; that we carried you home in a car seat that swallowed you up; that we held you as you cried while we frantically tried to figure you out; that we watched you grow, crawl, talk, walk, run. i remember wondering with excitement how you would be when you grew older, how your voice would sound, what you would do, how you would act, what your personality would be like.
now that you're approaching 4 years, i can't believe that you're no longer a toddler who is always needing her mommy. i can see your independence growing; i can see that invisible string that's always tied us together getting longer and i can't help but think of the pending days when you will prefer to be with your friends rather than your parents. while i will always want to be with you, to spend time with you, to hug you, to hold you, to kiss away the pain when you fall or scrape your knee, i know you soon won't need me to do those things anymore because you'll find that strength within yourself or turn to your friends for the support you need. in some ways, it breaks my heart simply because you are my universe and while i'm excited for you to learn the greatness within you, i'm also sad because as part of growing up, that discovery will likely be done without me or at the very least, away from me.
when i registered you for kindergarten in september, i nearly cried. this was a day that nearly 4 years ago i couldn't even fathom, yet in only a few short months, you'll be at the beginning of your education; the beginning of new friends, new discoveries and with that, that invisible string gets a little bit longer.
i look at you now and it's hard for me to believe that you were the tiny baby i held to sleep; how i spent endless nights fretting over you; those stressful days that i worried about you yet here you are, at the cusp of 4 years old - strong, awesome, funny and full of shining personality - and my heart hurts and swells with pride as i watch you grow.
and no matter how old you are, how independent you are, how great you are, you will always be my little girl, my little baby, the center of my universe, my life.