• Mariah

Happy 3rd Birthday - A letter to my threenager

Updated: Jan 21

I cannot believe that three years ago Addie entered this world, full of life and opinions. She has transformed Aaron's and my world in such an incredible way. She brought joy and vibrancy into hard days. She challenged us and pushed us to be more selfless and patient than we ever had been. Sheis the greatest gift we have ever received.

I recently read a book, written by a mom to her daughters. The book was composed of several letters. While I will not publicly share all the letters I have written her - the blue journal on Mommy's nightstand will be hers when she leaves for college - I did want to share one with the world.

This letter was written to Addie on a particularly hard day when I was exhausted and Addie wanted to exert her independence fiercely. I was so in awe of who she is and felt so inadequate in that moment. Her desire for independence felt similar to mine as a teenager. I guess that is why the term "threenager" exists.

Dear Addie Bear,

Tonight, you seemed to be fighting an internal struggle: a desire to be independent and do things on your own but also wanted to be held, comforted and rocked to sleep. You begged to read your storybooks before bed, but got so frustrated when you didn't understand the words on the page. You asked, "What is this?" as you pointed to words, then got angry when I told you what it said.

Mommy understands that struggle. Mommy struggles with wanting to feel fiercely independent, yet needing to rely on others. You are at an age where you are learning so much and trying to be just like mommy. You want to get yourself dressed, but get frustrated when your elbow gets stuck. You want to carry all your buddies, but get sad when you drop one. You want to do things on your own, but can't.

I understand. I too, want to do things on my own. I want to be independent and not have to rely on anyone else. But the truth is, Mommy can't do it all on her own. Mommy often needs help. Mommy relies on others too. In fact, tonight, I asked you to help me. I asked you to grab the clothes that fell as I carried the laundry to the couch. I asked you to put your dirty diaper in the trash while I got your room ready for bedtime.

It is fun and can be a confidence boost when you are able to do things on your own. In fact, my prayer for you is that you grow up to be a woman who is able to take care of herself and others when they need it. But I do not want you to feel like you cannot rely on others or ask for help. I do not want you to struggle with feeling like you must do everything by yourself.

I love this stage - even with the tantrums - because I get to see you! I get to see you be who you are. I get to see just how much you resemble me. And while I love watching you do things for yourself, I do not want you to feel as if you have to do it all. I want you to know there is nothing wrong with saying you cannot do something. You can ask for help. Mommy asks Daddy for help all the time.

You are growing so fast. You are learning so much. Soon, you will be a teenager, someone who is able to do most things for herself. You will be independent, know how to cook, clean and gosh... drive. But for now, my sweet teenager, grow slowly, ask for my help, get Daddy to help. Soon enough, you will have the independence you fought for tonight.

My prayer for you is that you always know that you can rely on Jesus, Mommy, and Daddy.

I love you lovebug,


I started writing letters to Addie because my mom did it while I was growing up. After my dad passed away, I searched for letters or notes handwritten by my dad. I wanted to see his handwriting. It made me feel close to him. I have boxes of handwritten notes and cards because I feel so connected to someone when I read their handwritten notes. Between watching my mom write letters to my sister and me and desperately missing my dad's notes, I knew that this was a gift I wanted to give Addie.

Do you write letters to your children?

They do not have to be long or even well thought out. Some of my letters to Addie are two or three sentences long, sharing a tidbit of her day or documenting her latest milestone. It is never too late to write a letter to your child, your spouse or your loved one.



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