Your Third Birthday

Dear Sophie,

For months you’ve been talking about the Grand Party. We have no idea how this beautiful, all-consuming, dream-like event birthed in your brain, but you’ve talked about it and talked about it. Some details were ever-changing, others, quite specific: There were to be two cakes—a pink one and a purple one. The decorations were to be red, pink and purple. The guest list changed, particularly if you were mad at one of us. Although Owen, James and Zoey were never un-invited. At times you became downright giddy about it, asking us if it was “this day” or “next day,” eager, waiting, patient.

So we decided to give you the Grand Party, for your 3rd birthday. We tried to imagine everything you imagined it would be—although we did have to convince you it had to be at home, and not the doctor’s office next door (which is where you told us it was going to be, every time we left the house).


One night, while you were sleeping, I made invitations. They were red and purple, stuffed into bright pink envelopes. They were pretty terrible. (I’m sorry about that.)




I made three tissue paper flowers, and hung them from the ceiling.


We ordered you a bouquet of pink, purple and red flowers. You and I made the trip to Fort Thomas Florist together, to pick them up. Despite the daffodils already being in bloom, it was snowing.


Daddy made you a homemade strawberry cake with pink icing, and a chocolate cake with purple icing and red sprinkles (which you helped decorate).


Grandma and Paw Paw joined us for dinner, along with Marty, Angel, Zoey and Mya. Nina and Pop Pop were with Aunt Katy and your new cousin, Colleen! We had spaghetti (with Daddy’s homemade sauce), salad and homemade garlic bread—all of which you requested.


After dinner, you made a wish and blew out three candles on your pink, strawberry cake.


Your gifts were placed on the window seat the night before your birthday—you were so patient to open them, waiting all the way until after dinner.


But oh were you so excited!


Zoey helped you open your gifts.


Owen and James bought you a new Ladybug Girl book about dressing up.



In addition to princess magnet dolls, a Princess and the Pea floor puzzle, sparkly shoes and feather boas, you got a purple princess costume and your very own Ladybug Girl costume (which, by the way, you asked for for weeks but haven’t worn once). Zoey gave you your very own superhero costume and mask—your dress-up box is lovingly full now.


Then came cake and ice cream, with your best friend, on the ottoman.


Happy, happy birthday, my love. Your vivid imagination, questions, little (two fingers pinching my knee) hugs, overwhelming demands, surprising conversations, dances, memory, singing, squealing and love inspire me every day. I’m so proud of how you’ve embraced the role of big sister. I love spending time with you—often, I take you places even when I don’t need to simply because I just want to be with you. You may be challenging at times (what 3-year-old isn’t?) but you always have my heart. I love you with all of it and I can’t wait to watch you, help you, let you grow this next year. I hope your party was, indeed, grand.

Much love,

“The trick is growing up without growing old.” ~Casey Stengel