It's a quiet morning here at the beach. Rain is patterning outside the window, Daddo is still sleeping, I'm savoring my coffee and Addison is playing contentedly.
Then suddenly it hits me: this is her last summer before she starts school.
She's off to pre-k 3 in a month and a half. Five days a week, she'll be dropped off at her little school and I'll watch her long legs walk away, as she carries her too-big backpack into her classroom.
She is fearless...but she has such a long way to go.
She's going to learn new things; things I never even thought to teach her.
She's going to make new friends; friends that aren't the children of my own friends.
She's going to have a new teacher; a teacher who I hope will understand her unique personality.
She is barely two months into being three. She is smart, strong-willed, and bull-headed...but she is so, so sweet. She cares so deeply about little things. She loves animals and being outside. She says hello to everyone we meet, and makes everyone laugh with her antics. She takes risks and disregards boundaries and drives me absolutely crazy.
But she is mine.
She's been mine since the day God laughed and said "Ohhh, get ready for this one, Steph."
We have spent most of the last two years together. We've had our little routines and outings and days at home. I have watched her grow, literally, before my very eyes. She's made me want to pull out my hair while she actually pulls out hers. She's fought the potty and fought for her independence.
And despite all her little quirks and imperfections, the little things I can't control no matter how hard I try, she's one hundred percent, wholeheartedly, mine.
So as I sit here with her warm little body at my side, I have so many things to pray for as she leaves Mama behind to go to her little red school.
I pray that she behaves herself.
I pray that she follows the rules.
I pray that she gives her teacher the respect every teacher deserves-plus a little extra.
I pray that she is kind.
I pray that she plays fair and takes turns.
I pray that she stands up for herself.
I pray that her spirit is kindled.
I pray that no one tries to extinguish her light.
I pray that she always marches to her own beat.
I pray that the world is kind to her.
I pray that she has to work hard for what she wants.
I pray that she knows the difference between right and wrong.
I pray that she makes the right choices.
I pray that she learns from her mistakes.
I pray that she remembers to pray.
But most of all, I pray that at the end of the day, she is happy to see her Mama.
That she wants to share her day with me. That she wants to curl up beside me for a story or beg me to play dolls with her. That she can stay little for just a while longer.
I pray for her...because she is mine.