Dear Ellery…

Oh my dear, sweet, snuggle bug Ellery Jean. I can’t believe it. You turn three tomorrow. And what an amazing whirlwind of joy these last three years have been. This past year, in particular, has been your best. You became a big sister, and you are the best damn big sister you can be. You dote upon Finola like she is yours, and you even call her “mine only” because none of us can possibly love her like you do. You have discovered your sense of humor and make us laugh everyday. Your vocabulary rivals that of any second grader, at least, and you’re three. Your little body makes me smile, with its pudgy little belly and bubble butt. You love pink, all things girlie, and the Disney Princesses are your personal friends. You know your mind, your heart, and you won’t give in to anything that doesn’t please either.

You’re a pretty good little sister to Caelan, and you’re testing the waters of sharing and learning from her. To see both of you play together, it becomes obvious you were made for each other, to be each others’ anchor and light, to be that hand to hold and smile to share, to be the one to pick each other up and have each others’ backs. You two are truly more than sisters; you’re best friends, and no one can divide you. Three years ago, Caelan became a big sister, and her life was changed forever, in an amazingly awesome way.

Finola is getting in there, trying to be a big kid, and I am so proud she has you to look up to. With Caelan being in school, you and Finola spend a lot of time together without her, and it has strengthened your love and bond as sisters. Finola looks at you like she looks at no one else; the love is tangible. You make her laugh and squeal like no one else does, and I am so proud of you for being such an excellent example for her. She adores you. It’s so obvious.

You’re not always pleasant. Or quiet. Or friendly. Or nice, even, if we are being honest. You’re loud, pushy, demanding at times, and sometimes you can be downright mean. But you know what? ALL of those things make you who you are, and they differentiate you from your sisters and peers. You will start preschool soon, you will have friends and learn the ropes of being with kids your own age, and life will change for you in the social aspect. You will bring home lessons that you can only learn from being around other three year olds, and you will begin to see life through the eyes of a little lady who is comfortable enough to leave her mommy and daddy for a bit to start doing her own thing. And you know what? You’re ready. I am 100% sure of this. I don’t know that the world is, but you are, for sure.

You are so beautiful, it hurts to look at you sometimes. My heart gets really big in my chest, and I feel very warm inside, and then you get in my lap to snuggle me, and I melt. You have become quite the Mommy’s Girl this last year, and I am so, so happy about it. You reach for me when you are hurt, not feeling well, crying, sad, happy, snuggly…whatever. You just want me to be around. You greet me at the door if I have to leave with a, “MOMMY!!!” as soon as I get home. And you run to me, hugging my legs, and in that moment, I forget what the day has brought me, and I am with you 100%. We have quite the bond, you and I, and it will only grow from here. We’ve spent a lot of time together since I don’t work full time, and we have become quite the pair of pals. You ask me not to go to work, to stay home and have tea parties, and Babygirl, you have no idea how much I want to….

Which leads me to this. As happy as I am that tomorrow is such a big day for you, I am so, so very sad about tomorrow. See, Mommy’s semester starts tomorrow. That means I have to go teach the “big kids” at “big kid college”. And I have been so in love with being home with you the last month. My heart aches in my chest, feeling like it’s going to drop out, and I have a lump in my throat the size of Manhattan. I have to go back to work tomorrow, and while part of me will be so happy to be back in the classroom and with students, a larger part of me wants to be home in jammies, giggling and playing princess and tea party with you until we can’t play anymore. I only work part time away from you because my full time job is being Mommy to you and your sisters. The good thing about my job is that it is 16 weeks at a time (you don’t know what that means, but it’s not a long time, really, though it feels like it sometimes) . I love my job, my students, my life outside these four walls. But I love my life inside of them even more, and nothing will ever change that. I have to work for myself, for our family, and for you. See, I want you to know that a woman’s place is wherever she wants to be, and there is no limit to our potential, even when that woman has a family. I want you to have the courage to leave your children behind someday, to work for as long as you need to, to be able to do what makes your soul happy, feeds your family and your soul. Because it does take courage to be a mommy who works outside the house. Being a mommy isn’t easy, no matter what, but for me, it’s harder to leave you and know I am doing good works outside of the house, than it is to stay home and be with you. I have to be brave. For you. For your sisters, your daddy. And for me.

I wish my semester didn’t start on your birthday. That is the hardest part for me. But I will be home in the afternoon, as soon as Caelan gets off the bus, and we will do fun things. We can play princesses, tea party, matching, Yahtzee, dance party, watch movies, and laugh…being together. This will be your best birthday gift: time together, to do anything you want, after a long day apart. I love you, Ellery Jean JellyBean. You make me happy when skies are grey. You truly are my sunshine. And I can’t believe, in my heart of hearts, that you are three. I can’t wait to see the changes, the lessons, the laughter, and the liveliness that three can bring to you. Three was a great year for Caelan, and I am sure it will be for you as well. You are one of the best things I have ever done. You are my little lady. And you’re one of my greatest inspirations to be the best mommy I can be for you and your sisters.

Your laughter. Your light. Your smile. Your eyes. And your voice. All of these things drive me on. I can’t believe I have only been your mommy for three years. It feels like I have known you, and loved you, my whole entire life.
I think I have…

WERKThis face. These eyes. This little girl…
She is one of my reasons.
Happy Birthday, Ellery Jean.
Three is going to be amazing…

And how does this make you feel?

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