My daughter Zoey has been a little fashionista since she was old enough to pull open her drawers, yank every item of clothing out of said drawers, and toss them with abandon sporadically around her room. That talent progressed to changing her outfits no less than five times a day shortly after she could walk. When we would take the kids shopping, she would, without fail, walk straight past the toy aisle and head straight for the sparkly, flowery, shiny shoe aisle. And she hasn’t slowed down. She has a very distinct idea of what she thinks is cute; in this case (picture above), it was two skirts, one as a shirt, and Mommy’s heels…of course. She LOVES clothes. And she loves dressing up.
A few weeks ago, we received a package in the mail from a dear friend addressed to Zoey. She was so excited to get her very own box in the mail. We opened it up to find the cutest book with her name, which surely must have been written just for her, Zoe Gets Ready. It was all about a little girl trying to figure out what she wants to wear based on the adventures she thinks she might be getting into that day, all the while wildly flinging clothes in every direction, as she changes outfits over and over again. It was so perfect, so my Zoey. Inside was a little note from my friend, saying it reminded her of Zoey, and she even personalized the book with little y’s to make the spelling the same as my Zoey’s name.
I can’t even tell you how much that meant to me. I love my kids more than anyone else in this world (along with God and my husband). And to know that someone else would see this book, know my little girl well enough to recognize this unique little thing in my little girl’s personality, think of her, and take the time to send her a sweet little package, just meant the world to me. It was so incredibly special. And this story is far from being the only time people have singled out my kids, have seen something special in them, and have treated them with extraordinary love and kindness. I’ll never forget when we were moving from Delaware to Tennessee, the sweetest couple took all FOUR of my kids out to eat so we could finish up our packing. And then there are the grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, Sunday school teachers, friends and fellow parents…so many, many people who pour hours of their time loving, soothing, admonishing, babysitting, teaching, preparing lessons for, playing with, dancing with, and getting into deep conversations about really interesting things like Pokémon with my children. Your time and love and special attention and patience do not go unnoticed. We as parents notice it all, and we’re so very grateful for you.
I think I can speak for all parents when I say that there is no greater gift that you could possibly give those of us who are parents than to love our kids. To spend time with them, get to know their personalities and what makes them special. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts when you’re patient with them even when they act up a little (or a lot!), give them great big bear hugs after they’ve been playing outside and smell like sweaty old goats, really listen and let them know you care when it’s obvious they’re upset about something (usually) ridiculous. They’re not always easy, and trust us, we know that better than anyone…we live with them. But you love them anyway. You patiently draw them out of their shells when they’re shy but you can tell they want to get involved. You give them little toys and pieces of candy to see their little eyes light up with excitement. And sometimes, you have to get onto them when you know they’re doing something we wouldn’t want them to do. All of this is such a gift to us parents.
So, to the people who love my kids…you’re my favorites!