I love you.
Even when you test boundaries. Even when you tell me no or refuse to do what I ask. Even when I’ve asked you for twenty minutes to put your shoes on and you’re still playing with your cars. Even when you wake up the baby after I just spent an hour trying to get him to sleep, or insist on pouring your milk and spill it all over the floor. Even when we are running late and you scream and flail while trying to buckle yourself into your car seat and refuse my help, I still love you.
Your independence amazes me. Whether you are getting dressed or trying to cut an apple, you have to do everything on your own. Sometimes I want to do things for you because I am tired or running late. My patience is gone and I’m frustrated because this is the tenth time you’ve insisted on doing something yourself, but you are determined, and that drive you have will move mountains.
I love your sense of curiosity. You like to figure out how things work. “Mommy, what does this button do?”, or “why do the clouds move,” or “how is snow made?” I don’t always have the answers or the patience, but because of you, I’ve found joy in the little things.
I love the way you help with your baby brother. You infringe on his personal space often and I find myself yelling at you to leave him alone, but I realize you love him so much and want to play with him like you do with others.
I love your public outbursts. They are always at inopportune times. Last week, you laid down in the middle of airport security screaming because I didn’t ask you to help open the little gate in front of the officer. I got your message, you want to help like your sister.
I love how confident you are. You will talk to anyone about anything and you inspire me to get out of my comfort zone, make eye contact with others, and smile at people. These actions make a difference in the world.
There are times I feel like I am mad for days. I get jealous of your dad because you seem to want him more than me most of the time and I am the one that handles the meltdowns and the chaos. I grow tired of arguing with you and weary of picking you up off the ground after your tantrums. I didn’t think there was anything I could do to help our relationship thrive except to muscle through these years. But I don’t want to merely get through the years, I want to live them with you and learn and grow along with you. I have started to see your strong-willed character as a blessing. I also try to focus on who you are now, not who you will be someday.
I am stronger each time you test me. Each time you refuse help, I pray for patience. Each time you scream at the top of your lungs, (and you have quite the set of lungs), I pray for help and guidance. You make me resilient.
I love that you know what you want and you fight for it. I struggle with making decisions and rarely put up a fight, but you are teaching me that I am worthy and have the fight in me too. As much as I wish things were easier, you help me see what I am capable of and highlight my personal strengths. You prepare me for what is to come.
Keep being your strong-willed self. Keep pushing boundaries. Keep fighting. I love you and I’ll always love you, no matter what.
(photo by Hill Smiley Photography)
Carrie Usmar is a freelance writer, photographer, and editor of Mama Daring Greatly. She lives with her husband and three kids in Rhode Island. She writes about parenting, homeschooling, and her battle with depression. She is passionate about sharing her stories in hopes others would feel comfort and remember they are worthy. She loves to find ways to foster her creativity. She is currently into dancing, hiking, and listening to disco on her couch while knitting her first scarf. Find her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Pinterest.