Dearest Daphne Belle,
This year, you turned three years old! If you note the date of this letter, you may wonder why it is so many days after your actual birthday. Well, my darling daughter, let me tell you: the year you turned three was a VERY BUSY ONE!
When I think back to last year, Daphne, when you turned two years old, I remember I made a list just a few months prior which included about 75 words you used appropriately. That astonishes me, now, because you, my sweetest one, you are extremely articulate these days. Everyone we meet comments on your personality, Daphne, and how incredibly intelligent you are. As a newly minted three year old, you can tell jokes and get the punchline right!* Last year, you said "Pownja Rangahs" instead of Power Rangers and today Dad-Dave taught you the right way to say "stethoscope" and you said it the wrong way only once. I keep telling him not to teach you, because a part of me wants you to say your silly words still! My baby is so big now!
This year, Daphne Belle, you threw up for the first time. Christmas was at Uncle Joe's and Aunt Jenny's and you and I both got pretty sick. You are the toughest person I know. You bent over, heaved, looked up and smiled and started playing with toys again immediately!
You rode your big wheel bike for the first time by yourself.
You pray by yourself (God is great!).
You can get dressed with little assistance and always put your own shoes on.
You remember songs and LOVE to sing. You love music and dancing.
You can count to 20. You know your alphabet by the song and mostly by sight. You know all shapes and colors, and you asked me recently to teach you how to tie your shoes. Even though that's going to take time, this request characterizes you: independent and curious to the extreme.
You like to dress up like a princess, like Doc McStuffins, like a fairy. You love Play-Doh, Barbies, crayons, paint, reading, and Jem!
If someone asked me to describe your personality, Daphne, I would say this: Daphne is very smart. She enjoys making people happy, so she will try to make you laugh. She is very affectionate but is too independent to sit and cuddle for a while. She is much more likely to come over and give you big kisses and go back to what she was doing/working on. She is very silly and tells me this when she's hungry: My tummy says he is actually really hungry, Mommy. He needs some food, okay?
You love spending time with your Dad, Jon. He takes you to Wamac Park and to visit different friends. He calls me and tells me all of your silly stories. I call him and tell him how you have advanced so much even in a day since you've seen him!
This year, we took an airplane for the first time. You did AWESOME! You acted like a seasoned traveler. You are never scared, Daphne Belle. You trust people to take care of you and you enjoy the ride. I am so proud of you.
We saw the ocean together for the first time. You LOVED IT. You were meant to be in the water, my love. You never wanted to leave the ocean. You cried and said goodbye to her when we left Maine.
We got married this year! You told everyone that you and Dad-Dave and Mommy got married. You were adorable during the ceremony. You wrapped yourself in my dress and were the star of the show. Nana Sue got you a pearl bracelet and Dad-Dave got you a beautiful necklace which he gave you when he said his vows to you. He promised to always love you, Daphne, and that is all of our promise to you. We, all three of your parents, will always love you and provide everything you need.
We also moved this year! On your birthday! We had a small party with your cousins, Lily, Parker and Julian, and you had ice cream cake for the last time in the apartment where you first lived. You now have a pink room with a pink bed, which is all you asked for.
I know that this letter is a haphazard collection of things that your mama can remember about you, my love, and I wish I could remember every single thing you have done or said because you are so special and so funny!
You really are special, Daphne. Truly, this is not just your mother's opinion. Everyone we meet, strangers and loves alike, they tell me how special you are. There is something about you that stands out, Daphne. You sparkle, you really do. You shine. You are gentle and kind but also feisty and fierce. You are the most stubborn and strong-willed person I have ever met - even more so than your dad and me! You know what you want and you usually get it, haha! You love your friends, you love your family, and you love you.
You are loved, Daphne Belle. I am so proud of you. I am the luckiest and most blessed mommy that ever was. Thank you for being my sweet daughter. I adore you and am so happy to see you get stronger and brighter every day. I love you. Happy birthday, my fairy one.
*(Here are your jokes: "Why does a banana need sunscreen? So they don't peel!; Why do giraffes have long legs? Because their feet stink!; Why did the cat mess up the computer? Because he was chasing the mouse!" We read these in a magazine and you memorized them. Cheri told me that you had been telling jokes all day, and I was so surprised you had remembered them!)