On Wednesday, Chloe turned 4 years old. I sat down that evening after she went to bed and wrote the following letter to her and Cole.
On the Fourth of July, we took Chloe and Cole to a fireworks show.
Chloe loves books. Every night before she goes to bed, Amy or I have to read to her. Sometimes, in the middle of the day, she comes to us with a book in her hand, begging us to read it to her.
Do you remember your first bicycle? I do. It was a red Schwinn with a kick stand, a chain guard and a banana seat. It had smooth street tires and pedal brakes. What a beauty!
"If God is all-knowing, then he knew we were going to sin. But he created us, anyway. Why would he do that?"
Chloe just said four words I've been dreading to hear. I knew they were coming. My friend Chris had already warned me. He said I'd hear them one day, and that I'd better be preparing myself.
When I was a kid, I had the M&M's people figured out. Their slogan was, "The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand." Well, of course it melted in your mouth. If you held an M&M for too long, the candy coating would start to melt in your hand, coloring it. In a rush to minimize the mess, you would pop the candy into your mouth long before it ever got to the chocolate.
"I'm going to get you!" I threaten as I start to slowly lumber toward her, wiggling my fingers in the air.
I spent part of my day today under the dining room table. Why? Because apparently I've got that kind of time on my hands.
The other day I was looking back at some old pictures of Chloe. Some of them were more than a year old. If it weren't for me or Amy in the pictures with her, I would think I was looking at someone else's child, not mine. I was amazed at how much Chloe had changed in such a short a time.
At Chloe's day care, they have a large window cut into the wall. Every once in a while, while I'm on lunch, I'll drop in and look at her through that window. From the hallway, I can see how she's doing, how she's interacting with the other kids and whether she's behaving.
Chloe stood in the doorway of her room, smiling at me. Yet the smile was unlike her usual smile. It didn't hold the brightness. It didn't display the openness. There was no enjoyment in it. Instead, it seemed guarded. Forced. Something plastered on her face to distract me from something else she didn't want me to see.
The other day, Chloe was trying to get into a chair so she could sit in it "like a big girl." Unfortunately for her, she wasn't as big a girl as she thought she was.
I once heard a story about a little girl who walked into the living room, where her father sat reading the newspaper. She stopped in front of him and started recounting her day's events. Every couple of seconds, from behind the wall of the newspaper, she would hear him mumble things like "Mmm-hmm," "Really?" and "That's nice," but she could tell he wasn't really paying her any attention.
We were visiting Amy's family in Texas. On Sunday morning, we went to church, and God taught me something during the worship service.
When Amy came home, she got the mail out of the mailbox and laid it on the couch when she walked in the door.
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