You are 4 today (or actually tomorrow at 2:36 am African time- a fact that only your Papa could be counted on to figure out). You woke up this morning and as usual got dressed by yourself and even accessorized with a snazzy headband that you dug up from somewhere. I made you pancakes for your “birthday princess treat” and you happily ate 3 in your crazy way of cutting them up and them placing each piece carefully around the edges of your plate and then pouring syrup in the middle to dip them. You said “Thank you mama for making these yummy pancakes” at least twice while I sat and nursed your sister. Then off you went to school, backpack and sparkly pink shoes on (you even make your boring uniform special). Today is your 4th birthday little girl.
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I am not sure when it happened but you are for sure more big kid than baby. I love that so much and part of me wants to cry for a long while that you are growing up so fast. I still remember feeling you kick in utero and day dreaming about what you would look like, who you would become, and what your little voice would sound like. I remember being terrified about being a Mama. That I would not know what to do in any number of scary sounding scenarios. That I would fail. And what I found out is I have, many times, but the awesome news is that God is good and He is molding and making and growing our family every step of the way. The day you were born was the scariest and most thrilling of my life. You changed everything. I thought I was prepared but I was no where near “ready.” But that is the beauty of family. We are pretty much a mess but we are each other’s mess and we figure stuff out together. The minute you were born I was completely overcome with love for you. It was immediate, intense, and disarming. The kind of love that just takes over and puts in perspective everything that came before. Papa and I are so blessed that God entrusted you to us. It is an amazing thing to see you grow and change and become yourself.
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You become more and more Annikah everyday. You make us laugh with your hilarious quotes and you make us cry sometimes with your stubbornness (wonder where you get that?:). You are intense in everything you do which I can see God using in your life. You are often shy at first but after about 10 minutes of trying something new you take it on with gusto. You love your cabbage patch baby named “Blueberry” and take her everywhere. You have strong opinions and a zest for life and are never content to sit on the sidelines. You are learning to show love and compassion to those around you which is amazing to see. You are thoughtful and kind and respond because you see that all kids do not have what you have. Your best friend in the world right now is Lusi and you play all day together mostly in your make believe world. You love cucumbers and beans and all things candy or cookie. You see the world through trust and faith and I love that. It restores my faith on days I am hurting or stretching to see. You love pink and all things girly including but not limited too; sparkly nail polish, shiny lip gloss, tutu’s, fancy shoes, and dress up jewelry. You love to dress like Evy and show off your sister to everyone. Your favorite books to read are Bernstein Bear books and they are best enjoyed snuggling with Papa before bed. You are a great big sister (when you are not pelting the kid for ripping your book:) and helper to Mama. You do love to please and to be noticed. You love to sing songs that you learn in school or ones that you make up and then pretend you learned in school šŸ™‚ and you are a pretty awesome dancer. You can write all your letters and numbers and love to read books and do crafts with friends. Your Kiswahili is awesome and still shocks me some days when I hear you talking to someone. I am amazed at your ability to thrive in this life that our family has chosen. You are a strong, sassy, brilliant, funny, and loving girl.
I gave birth to you four years ago and it has been and will continue to be one of the most worthwhile and difficult adventures in my life to be your mother. You have taught me so much about myself. How to love, how to forgive, how to be more vulnerable, how to laugh, how to be so proud you think you might explode, how to deal with my own past pain, how to be (a tad) less selfish, how to live in the moment more, and why to be called “children of God” is such a privilege. Thank you for being patience with me as your Mama. Thanks for understanding that God is still working on me too. I cannot wait to see where this life takes you and I am always praying that you will forever know how deep and how wide is His love for you. That our love will help you gain confidence to find your way and be your own unique and beautiful self. Always. I am cheering you on Anni! We love you so much Miss Annikah Joy and hongera kwa siku ya kuzaliwa yako! Happy Birthday my baby girl.
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  1. Anonymous says:

    Happy birthday, Annikah. šŸ™‚

  2. Anonymous says:

    happy 4th birthday, my sweet niece!! rox, i dont know if it's the post-partum horomoes or what, but your post has me in tears. such sweet words. you are an amazing mama and i loved reading this special letter to anni. šŸ™‚

  3. Anonymous says:

    Dear Annikah: I hope you're having fun in Africa. Is it really hot there? I think it is. Did you bring a lot of sun tan lotion. Happy birthday! What type of birthday are you gonna have? Love, AislinHappy bday Anni, from Indi and Beck too!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Annie, you had me in tears. What a beautiful statement for Anni to find when she is 16 and you can't stand each other at times. So many ways you described her, I felt like you were describing your own four year old self! God truly did give you a child just like yourself as I had hoped. I was thinking all day of our mad race to get to the hospital in time for her birth four years ago. I can't believe how grown up she is now, and we've missed out on so much. Loved talking to her last night via skype. Will try again tomorrow after her party. Love you all…..

  5. Anonymous says:

    I remember that picture of you and J and poor beat up baby Anni! It seems just like yesterday that Jill and I were parking the car and finding our way around the hospital, but also seems a life time ago too! Hoep the princess party is a smash!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Oh, weepy me! What a beautiful entry. “We are a mess but we are eachother's mess”. Miss you, and thanks for this šŸ™‚

  7. Anonymous says:

    happy birthday anni!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    All of your past weeks postings have been so beautiful! Count me in as a crier too!Happy 4th Anni! Love, Aunt Karen