Yesterday

Our baby girl turned 3.

What?!

Yes, Cailyn completed her 3rd year of life…yesterday.  We were out of the city and staying at a neat resort-type (don’t think Sandals!) place having a Peruvian Missions retreat with our team, the team in Cusco, and the team in Arequipa.  It was great to be with those families and team members for sure, but I’m here to focus on Cailyn tonight.

To be 100% honest, her birthday was not really all that great.  She had several meltdowns (no, not because we had a big party and she had the “I’m the birthday girl” excuse to fall back on), and it was an all-around tough day for me as a mom.  Because we were at a retreat, she was being babysat most of the day since we were in “sessions” (which, again, were full of great information…that wasn’t the problem either), overly tired from playing outside almost all day, surrounded by 16 other kids that were all 5 and under (isn’t that a recipe for disaster in many cases!), and just generally not acting very eager to please those around her.  I cannot neglect to mention that her Daddy-O and Honey called her on Skype just minutes after she woke up.  This, folks, was by far the highlight of the day. Things went down hill from there.  The day began with her peeing in her pants (which she’s taken to…ahem…AGAIN…in the past week) while sitting/screaming in time-out and ended with me leaving dinner with Corban (who ironically was the one screaming then) and walking outside to lose it in a fit of tears.  Thankfully, my teammate, Tara D. was sitting alone in the dark nursing her sweet Kase, and she warmingly welcomed my tears and frustrating comments about the day.  Had it not been her actual birthday, maybe it would have felt like a regular old day, tough, but normal for us at this point(since parenting Cailyn really does consist of many days that look like that), but the fact that it was June 6th made it more emotional for me.

So, maybe this isn’t the normal “My Child is 3 and so Perfect, Happy Birthday to Her!” post that you’re used to, but it’s honest.  There just really wasn’t much I could write about that would have been “happy birthday” sounding and it not have been a lie…at least as far as yesterday was concerned.

BUT…

With all of that said, I can honestly and truthfully say that I L.O.V.E. MY Cailyn!  So…here begins the part of this post that you’d probably rather read…

(P.S.- I plan to post about her birthday party…which was a week ago, our 1-year marker of being here in Peru!, and my poor son (who hasn’t had much face-time on here for a while and) soon!)

Cailyn, sweet girl,

You could not be any cuter to me and your daddy!  You make us laugh, you make us proud, and you are a blessing from God.  Your ability to compliment others is something that we’ve noticed for a while now, and we see it as a gift of yours.  You never allow the smallest things to go unnoticed, and I know that you bless others by pointing out how you “love” whatever it is that they possess.  You have a very tender heart.  I love to watch you sweetly touch those babies around you.  You truly do have a genuine care for little people.  It has been an unspeakable joy to watch you care for your little brother, Corban.  His life would not have been the same had you not been here as his big sister.  I know that your daddy and I hold you responsible for a lot as the “oldest one”, and I can see you falling into that role more and more each day.

Your chubby little cheeks are just adorable when you smile from ear to ear, and I could never get tired of staring at those beautiful blue eyes of yours.  I’m so glad your daddy gave those to you!  You are just plain beautiful.  I pray that God allow you to use your beauty for his glory for the rest of your life.

I adore listening to you sing.  Your ability to remember words to songs amazes me, and it has truly made me aware of how important it is for me to make sure godly music is entering your mind and heart.  I love to hear you sing your Bible verse songs and songs you know in Spanish, because it is a way God has allowed me to see his abilities in young heats like yours.  Your God has given you such a heart for him, I can already tell.

God did, in fact, give you a strong will!  I’m afraid some of that comes from me, too. 🙂  I can remember beginning to read the book “The New Strong Willed Child” by Dr. James Dobson when you were still just 14 or 15 months old (yes, your strong will was evident then as well!) and thinking, “Hmm, she’s not QUITE like these kids”, but as time has gone on, I can truly say…You fit that mold!  You do desire to please us, but you also desire to do your own thing.  There are many times when we put the ball in your court and tell you, “You can get out of time out when you’re ready to…(fill in the blank)”, and you will sit there for 15 or 20 minutes until you’re willing to give in.  You can also go from 0 to 100 on the “screaming scale” over seemingly small matters.  Your mommy receives quite a few comments about your lungs…something she doesn’t wish to be reminded of all the time…haha.  Cailyn, while all of this is true, I also know that these are the traits that will help you to stand up for what you believe in, be a leader, have a voice for those who don’t, and win souls for Christ as you grow older.  My mom, your Honey, always reminds me…”The hard work now will pay off when she’s 16!”  I’m praying that God agrees with your Honey!

As I sit here writing to you, I have tears welling up in my eyes.  Partly because I am not always proud of the way I handle your strong will, but mostly because my heart ACHES to be just what is RIGHT for you.  I so deeply desire to show you how God loves, and I know that I have not always done my best.  Despite this, I want the world (or at least those reading this!) and, more importantly, YOU, to know that my heart is in a place of longing for God’s guidance and wisdom in how to parent you in under His will.  I know that God will make it clear with each passing day just how that will play out for the two of us, and I look forward to it!

Oh, there are so many wonderful things that you, Cailyn, bring to our lives!  I could go on and on.  You have caused my life to be more joyful, more challenging, and more blessed than I ever could have imagined on June 6, 2007.  Thank you for the JOY you have placed in our hearts.

Love,

your ever-learning, constantly-praying, loving-you-always,  Momma.


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8 responses to “Yesterday

  1. Happy Birthday sweet Cailyn!

    Thanks for making me cry, Alison…That was beautiful 🙂 and thanks for being hones. Sometimes I get tired of reading bubbly, perky, always fabulous, life is perfect everyday blogs…In a crazy way it’s a bit refreshing to read something real and honest.

    Love you friend! Let’s get together soon, soon!

  2. Alison, Your “Yesterday” blog is beautiful! Cailyn and Corban are indeed lucky !! I always enjoy reading your newsy blog!! and seeing the pictures of C and C. They are wonderful!

    Love to the 4 of you~~~ Susan

  3. well, I might write a book on how proud I am of you and justin. chapters could be devoted to how your cailyn stories remind me of mom and my travels with you at this age. instead, i will just enjoy the emotions your words brought to me, smile and laugh at her cheesy smiles, and continue praying for you, justin, cailyn, and corban. love you, daddyO

  4. Daddy O is the logical one, I’m the emotional~~ so i don’t know if Daddy O cried in his office this morning or not but i just boo hooed!! Alison, you so have it in you to be the momma of sweet Cailyn. You dished it out and now God will help you spooned the discipline/love right back to her!! Bite by bite not all at once, like mrs. kathy always says. There is a reason you get to do all of this in Peru, you will be endeared to Lima forever!! You go girl, and don’t forget you have got the best partner ever, you are not alone!! Something about the last picture that has glimpses of an older Cailyn. Boy, are we having fun!! God’s gift are the ultimate!!

  5. What a sweet, sweet post Alison. I had tears welling up in my eyes as I read your letter. Cailyn is SO blessed to be in the family she is with parents like you guys. I think you are doing a great job. I am glad we “survived” the kid part of the retreat. Won’t it be so much more fun 3-5 years from now when the kids are older?! Happy Birthday Cailyn!

  6. Great post! You honestly captured the true feelings of a parent – loving your child and wanting to guide them closer to God all the while struggling with your own shortcomings and weaknesses as a person/parent. I understand all of your emotion that you feel toward Cailyn, as I continue with those same feelings with my girls. This “ministry” God has blessed us with is not an easy one, but we are growing just as much as, if not more than, our children! You have an amazing daughter and she has some pretty awesome parents! Happy Birthday Cailyn!!!!

  7. Happy Birthday, Cailyn!

    Alison, I appreciate you and your “honest” posts so much. You are such a great mother, and it is a huge encouragement to read how you still turn to God even on the “less than perfect” days (Even just to know that you, too have less-than-perfect days!). Thank you for sharing this.

  8. Levi says, “Happy Birthday, Cailyn!” He sang his best happy birthday song redention. Alison, I so needed to read what you wrote. I so understand how you are feeling with a strong willed child because Levi is really “trying” us right now, but I know that I can get through it. So thanks for being honest and thanks for reminding me taht all work out.

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