Dear Babs,

Someday you’ll understand, I hope, my amazement and wonder as I say, sometimes out loud, “You’re getting so BIG!” Someday, you might appreciate the nostalgia – and relief – that are behind my exclamations. Someday you could even say it yourself, about some young child in your life.

Was it only last year that you were just getting the grasp of talking? Is this really our fourth summer with you and your smile, you and your energy, you and your joy for life? Has the time really flown, or has it gone slowly? (I guess that depends whether we’re talking about the middle-of-the-night or the daytime adventures.)

It just doesn’t seem like that long ago that you could be contained in the circle of my arms, much as your sister is now. I remember you at her age, though I’ve been baffled at just how much I HAVE forgotten. I look back at the pictures of you and I put your little sundresses on her, and I can’t help but smile, just as she smiles when you look at her.

Babs, you are such a treasure, though I feel like my focus has been the baby. How did I do it with you, without a big sister to entertain and help and delight – both me and the baby? You add so much to the experience of having a baby in the house, with your enthusiasm for her, your energy for making her laugh, your ideas for ways to play with her. I cannot fathom where you come up with your nicknames for her – she started as “Mariss” and “You-you” and then evolved to “Youie” and now “Noonie” and “Chubbers” and “Maraliss.” You still mention how the baby came out of my tummy to see you, and, my darling, you are so right. I hold her and feed her and care for her, but YOU are the one she came out to see. I don’t blame her at all!

At the end of April, we sat by the burn pile in the back pasture, sparks and stars, and we made a memory on the tailgate of the truck. We were on the back side of our property, surrounded by pasture and sky, with the campfire smell around us.

You wanted to sing “Twinker Twinker Little Star” when you noticed the night sky. Your father and I wanted to freeze time, save the moment, cherish the wonder, thank God for the gift of YOU in our lives.

After we sang “Twinker Twinker” a few times, we told Ghost Bunny stories. Your dad and I will be using the phrase “Ghost Bunny” for years, I’m sure, to remind ourselves of your small face, upturned to ours in the firelight, full of all of my favorite Babs things – wonder and enthusiasm and energy and contentment. I remember how you leaned against him, and how you so often fit yourself to him, whether it’s the crook of his arm or the nest of his lap. When you were a baby, I called him the Daddy Recliner, for the way he just made himself your chair, and it’s never stopped.

There are plenty of times – and more to come, I’m sure – that you push me to the limit of my endurance and the far ends of my patience. But, my dear Babs, my three-year-old princess-scientist-artist, you also teach me how to let go of myself, how to forgive completely, and how to prioritize.

Your sister is making milestones, and she’s top-of-mind so often right now. And you are right there beside her, helping her and making your own milestones!

With love,
Your mother