The gift of Charlotte

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This sweet face is how Charlotte feels about life.

Monday, baby girl turned 3. I say baby, because she is the Last Little, the baby of our family. The way I remember it, when I looked at three-year-old Shep, I just noticed how big he was getting, but every time I look at Char I still see Baby Girl. Let’s be honest, she’s way more self-sufficient than Shep ever was at 3, still… I have blinders on when it comes to her age. I can’t explain it any better than that.

Every so often, the curtain will part, like it did this week when I was cleaning out her old toys and clothes to make room for bigger clothes, and big girl dolls…and I will see Charlotte for what she really is: Three, going on ten. It sucked the wind out of me in that moment. I had a mild flash of anger at the odd mix of emotions mommas experience over birthdays. Sifting through her clothes, I was forced to admit my baby days really are over. Char has been looking forward to her birthday for months, and while I love celebrating another year with Sister in our life, I ache just little each time she blows out a candle.

Fortunately, the melancholy feeling didn’t last long as it’s just hard to feel sad when Char is around. She is such a gift to our little family, her joyful nature and appetite for fun balance out Shep’s thoughtfulness. Charlotte rounds us out and brings out the silly in all of us.  She is carefree and hungry for a good time. Shepherd is her helper and caretaker, but in turn Char helps Shep feel brave. I’ve seen him study her as she fearlessly scales a jungle gym at lightning speed and then ask her how she did that, would she show him how?  At her party, the cousins were taking turns working up the nerve to jump off a tall retaining wall in the back yard. It was a process for most of them. Until Birthday Girl came running down the path and launched herself off the highest point. We froze, unable to catch her in time and watched wide eyed,  as she landed hard in princess heels, then sprung up, ready for more.

And that’s Char in a nutshell. Happy Birthday, Baby Girl. We love you to pieces.

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A brief moment of sadness when her new lipstick broke. It was short lived.

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