Dearest Little One,
You are a gift we weren't expecting. We'd been in your life nearly since you were born but we didn't know then how God had it in His plan that you would live with us. This is our last full-time week with you and, when we settle into our routines without you, we will notice an empty chasm. Yes, we'll get more schoolwork accomplished. Yes, we'll savour the quiet. Yes, we'll jump up and run to where we want to go without a thought of naps or sippy cups or a stroller. But, we will pause when we make six snacks instead of seven. We'll glance at your empty little bed when the girls go to sleep. We'll talk in hushed tones after lunch and then realize you're not napping. We'll go to homeschool group, gym, dance classes and friends' homes without your raspy voice announcing, "We're here!"
We love to do your hair and put headbands on you like Mommy's.
Ashanti, you've grown so much these past few months. We celebrated you turning two and now you're more than two and a half! As often as we correct you, you call us Mommy and Daddy, simply because our kids do. You gained a large vocabulary here and your momma is proud. You learned to sleep through the night and stay in your own tiny bed. You use manners (most of the time) and no longer have half-hour-long screaming tantrums that we can't pull you out of. You are potty-trained. You know every one of our extended family members' and friends' names and consider them your own. Your momma loves this because she feels like they're hers too. You can fake sleeping like an award-winning actress, complete with heavy breathing. You sing your favourite songs like, "Jesus Loves Me", "Twinkle-Twinkle Little Star" and "Happy Birthday". You love the soundtrack to "Frozen" and can complete the lines in most of the songs. You can almost name the days of the week and can count to thirteen. Ashanti, we always brag about you to everyone. You are intelligent and have an excellent memory and seem to know where lost items are when one of us needs to find something (I wonder why :) Your momma is smart and strong and you definitely get those qualities from her. You have a new healthy caution for strangers when you used to scare us with your ability to walk off with anyone you didn't know. You love going for a drive, baths, cream cheese, pistachios, hamburgers, chocolate... well, just about every single type of food there is. You eat most of us under the table too!
Sweet girl, no one holds a candle to your darling disposition. You charm everyone you meet and people are consistently taken with your beautiful eyes and smile. You may turn without a moment's notice to a growling bear, but that's becoming less and less ;) You tattle on the kids because you kow all the rules and you like to be boss. Your favourite friends right now are Joella, Clara, Ava, Lily and Mayan. You speak of them often and know which one you're going to see as you notice landmarks on the streets. You're growing up. We've had the privilege of being witness to this and we're so grateful.
You love "Offie" as you call him, and want to do whatever he's doing.
You're a little afraid of the birdies still, but we'll fix that ;)
Okay, A LOT afraid. Here, you're covering your head and saying, "No birdies! No sit down!" You think they're going to land on your head.
Some phone pics of favourite moments...
Weekly library trip with Mayan.
Your crazy faces :)
Playing police in Oliver's costume.
Best buddy, Joella (who calls you, "Abanti").
Sewing with Mama.
In Mama's hot tub.
I walked by and found you like this, casually brushing your teeth.
"Painting" my urns with water. You loved it.
Morning selfie with Auntie Heather.
Visiting Uncle Terry at work.
Getting sparkles with Ana at Joella's "Frozen" birthday party.
Sneaking out of bed and realizing you're actually tired.
Creating a snowman.
Auntie loves you.
Fun with Clara.
Trying on boots in a store. You loved these!
Schoolwork at Auntie Hilary's house.
Ice cream with Mama and Papa at the beach for Papa's birthday.
On a hike.
Uncle Terry and Oliver building your first bike!
First tricycle! Don't quite have the hang of it yet :)
Watching a movie with Emily (whom you call, "Sissy").
Little One, it's time for you to return to your momma but she has asked us to keep you on weekends and we have agreed. We are grateful for your precious life. You've added something to this home we couldn't have predicted. We love God's surprises! May the Lord bless your life and may you grow to be a godly girl and one day, a woman who hears His voice and follows Him.