There is something about four that is a bit harder to welcome than three. Maybe it has to do with the fact that there isn't even a whisper of her small baby self left in her now tall, thin body. The dimples on the backs of her hands have vanished, as have the bathing suits with ruffles on the bum and afternoon naps. With four comes underwear with the days of the week printed on the back, dreams of finally turning FIVE and kindergarten next fall, worries that Graham will somehow figure out a way to be older than her someday ("He is pretty sneaky, mom." She tells me when I tuck her in almost every night), and questions about whether or not I'll still be her mom when she has babies of her own.

"Will you be really super old when you're a grandma?"

"Does everyone die someday? Even me? I'll be really old and you'll be really old, right?"

"Mom, why do some people have to sleep under benches?"

"Geez, I wish everything I touched turned into doughnuts!"

"Dad! Dad! Look how pretty I am!"

Oh, four. I sure hope you're gentle with this mama heart of mine. Your questions are already a little harder to answer, the days seem to be passing a little faster than before, and I'm worried that I'll blink and you'll have come and gone forever.

Can I tell you what I love most about my shiny new 4 year old? It also happens to be the thing that drives me absolutely crazy, too (that's always how it happens, right?).

There is now halfway with this girl. 

No neutral ground, ever.

It's either wrong or right.

Black or white.

She's either in, or she's out.

She's either happy, or she's not.

She either loves you, or she doesn't.

But if she loves you? Man, she loves you. She will paint pictures of your cats and mail them the very same day. She'll call you as soon as she wakes up to talk about your favorite color. She will learn to write your name and will always include you in her prayers. She will hug you tight and kiss you on the mouth as you walk out the door. And she will never ever hesitate to forgive you if you've failed her in some way.

She loves you all the way, in and around and through everything you are, no matter what, no questions asked.

She's a pretty remarkable, totally ordinary miracle. She's bossy, stubborn, and completely maddening at times, but she's changed my life and changed my heart, both for the better.  And you know what? Not a day passes that I don't think how lucky I am to know her, to love her.

Happy Birthday, Sela!
I love you to the moony moon moon.

how are you, friends? well, i hope. things around my house have been CRAZY for the past month, but i hope to be sharing more regularly soon. have a great day, okay? XOXO


The Askeroth Family said...

I love how much you love your kids Rachel. :) Sela is a little doll, she seems so fun. I love the colorful party!

Faye said...

What a beautiful rainbow birthday for the most beautiful four year-old I know! Happy Birthday, dear Sela!


Aunt Faye

Emily said...

Dear Rachel,

I would love it if you would throw me a rainbow party for either my 26th or 25th retrograde birthday. !!!!! It turned out so amazing! The fruit kabobs are perfect and it boggles my mind you can actually make that cake. What a lucky FOUR year old girl, gosh, I can't believe that you have a four year old. :) she's a doll. Hope it was as fun as it looks!

Also, glad to see you back for a "hello."


BriannEm said...

This made my heart so very happy. I love your children. And you guys. Awesomeness all over.

Jacqueline said...

That cake is absolutely gorgeous! Is it homemade? If so, would you post the recipe?? The birthday party looks fantastic, way to go!

Rachel Swan said...

Jacqueline: I did not make this from scratch. I was a little nervous about all of the layers + the assembly that I just used a few cake mixes and they turned out just great. I did find a few different recipes for the cake though, and I'll be sure to post them some time this week!

Andrea said...

This is so well written! I can feel how much you love that girly and I can relate to how much I love mine. Beautiful post.

Haley and Lance (but probably just Haley) said...

So YOU'RE that person who's patient enough to make those fantastic rainbow cakes. Lucky Sela. :) Gorgeous, gorgeous pictures/party/thoughts on your cutie. Have fun with four!

Haley Snider (in case you can't tell it's me from the picture of my boobs in the thumbnail)

(V.Kerr) School Time Adventures said...

I love the pic of all the happy kiddos on the couch!