Haley Laine...I couldn't let tonight go by without penning how you filled my heart with joy and guilt and love and fear all in one fell swoop tonight. You, my special girl, made my heart melt into a puddle of mush. I want to tell you - I'm so proud of you. You're three, but you're so smart. So intuitive. So sweet. So innocent. And all the kisses in the world aren't enough to give you.
We've had a great few last days together. We've had tickle fests, dance-offs, you've helped me in the kitchen, you've given some good snuggles, and when you weren't whining or in time out, you have been an amazing three year old. I love your giggles, I love your sneaky grin, and I love it when you exclaim, "That's a great idea!"
I love it when you ask me if I can sleep with you. I love it when you don't want me to leave. I love it when you cling to me and tell me to stay. I love it when you ask if you can come with me. I love how excited you get to tell me all about your day. I love when you squeal and run to me. I love it when you ask me to turn up the radio because you want to sing along.
And through all of these activities, I always wonder, always question, always doubt, that I'm doing a good job as your mommy. I always fret you're feeling a little left out when I cry about missing Harlynn. Or when I tell you that you can't help me make your peanut butter and jelly sandwich because it's just quicker if Mommy does it. I always wonder, if given the choice, you'd want to spend time with me over Mr. Rogers or Reading Rainbow reruns.
When I took you trick-or-treating on Halloween, you were so well-behaved. (Save for the time you helped yourself into the single man's living room as he stepped away to grab some candy...we talked about just walking into stranger's homes...) We were surrounded by children who were not so behaved, and I found myself repeatedly thanking God he had given us such a mild-mannered little girl. When you didn't want to go to one house because it was too spooky, I was so proud of you for telling me instead of just going along with it because everyone else was. And when I told you that you had to wait until the next day to have candy because it was so late, yes you were upset, but you were so mature about it. You're three, and I have to keep reminding myself of that. Because you're such a stinkin' good kid, Haley. You really, really are.
So tonight, as Daddy and I were putting you to bed, you hugged my arm as I sat next to you, looked me straight in the eye and said, "When I grow up, I want to be just like you, Mommy."
It took me a second for what you had said to register. Surely you couldn't be serious. For all of my faults and shortcomings, you must have said something else. You want to cook just like me? Knit just like me? No...you really said you wanted to be just like me. And that's when my heart flooded with an entire spectrum of emotion.
I pray you don't have to learn things the hard way as I did. I pray your stubbornness only comes in to play to help you, and not to hinder you. I pray you have more patience and self-control than I do. I pray you learn to trust God a lot sooner than I did. I pray you understand what a personal relationship with him is before you're in your 20s. I pray you aren't as critical or as paranoid as I am. But I pray you hold fast in your faith in whatever circumstance life throws at you. I pray you find a man as wonderful as your daddy, and you know in your heart to hold on to him. I pray you sing at the top of your lungs, and love a-million-and-one songs. I pray you bake a pie from a pumpkin. I pray you learn how to make a mean meatloaf. And I pray you love your child or children as much as I love mine.
And I do, sweetie. I love you more than you'll ever know. And I love that God blessed me with a little window into your head and heart tonight with those sweet, innocent words you spoke.
And I pray I don't disappoint you. You grow up to be just like Haley Laine. And if you have a trait or two of mine, I'll consider my mothering a job-well-done.