|Delaney, age 4|
Delaney is the best big sister any kid could ask for. Jude adores her and I like to tell myself that they will always love one another as much as they do now. Jude won't go to bed at night without a kiss and a hug from Na-Nu (Delaney in JudeSpeak). Delaney extends a saintly amount of grace towards JuJuBe on a daily basis, whether he is kicking over her block towers or coloring on her artwork. Sure, Delaney gets frustrated, but she almost always recognizes the fact that Jude is younger than her and less mature. Her gentleness with Jude makes Steve and I very, very proud.
One of the other character traits that I see in Delaney is her love for other people. When planning her birthday dance party, I told her that we should really just invite her friends that could actually dance. I told Steve that I wouldn't go "all out" on this birthday party--just a few friends dancing in the backyard, no big deal. Well, that didn't go over very well with Miss D. When I told her that we weren't going to invite her baby friends, she was devastated. She responded with, "But mom, I just want everyone to be invited!" So of course I relented, because that's what I wanted too. Sorry Stevie! Anyway, we ended up inviting a gazillion friends, and they all ended up coming and dancing with us. In the rain. It was like Woodstock, without the nakedness and whatnot. Her birthday party was such a testimony to me of how much Delaney loves others and is so loved in return. Even though it was cold, even though it was raining, her friends still came and danced. And they stayed for quite some time! Delaney told me that it was the best birthday party ever. Was it what I had planned? No. Did it look the way I wanted it to look? No. Would the Fire Marshall take issue with how many people were on our property? Probably. Did the birthday girl have a blast? Yes. Case closed.
Delaney's quite the little whipper snapper. She's a fast learner, and loves to do school-like activities. She's a textbook strong, independent, first-born girl. Delaney is past the pre-reading stage and is decoding CVC words. Watching her read makes my teacher-heart burst with pride. I try not to talk about her reading skills too much, because I realize how totally annoying and braggy that sounds. But really, I am so proud of her. Delaney loves to do art, loves to play music, and LOVES TO DANCE. She started dance lessons in February, and thanks to the generosity of her friends and family, she will get to continue lessons for quite some time. Delaney takes her dancing very seriously in the studio, and I love watching her learn something that she seems to love so innately. And I am so out of my element with this whole dance thing. I have always pictured myself on the sidelines and in the stands cheering for my kids--but a dance mom? Oh Lordy, I never saw that in the cards.
The best thing about writing this huge long post about our girl is that I have temporarily forgotten all of the tough, challenging parts that come with parenting Delaney. I am amazed, almost daily, at how difficult a task parenting can be. But now as I reflect on my daughter, I only see the highs and not the lows--which are present, for sure. Steve and I feel so grateful that God has entrusted Delaney (and Jude, of course) to our care. Here's to another full but exhausting year, Laney Cat!