The rest of this entry, I would like to spend some time talking about the leading lady in our lives, Charlotte. I have so much to say about her, and it seems to me that if I don't type it all now and write it all down, that even these wonderful memories would fade some day. I want to bottle up her sweetness right now. She gives the sweetest smiles, has the most infectious giggle, the softest kisses, and the most tender hugs of any girl that I know. She has brought so much to my life that I can't even imagine going through life without her right now. She is my pride and joy, literally. Each day that I go to take her to school, or pick her up, my face is beaming because that bright eyed, beautiful child is ours. She lights up a room and can turn my tears of sorrow into a smile in an instant. She will never know how much my heart clings to hers and I just have to say that she has carried more than her fair share in the weight of this sad time in our lives. She has lifted Chris and I up in times when only God knew exactly what we needed... her.
Charlotte is growing up. She is becoming a little girl right before my eyes and all I can do sometimes is look at her in awe. What an amazing young lady she has become. She has worked so hard for the progress she has made and continues to work twice as hard as she did the day before. She is so determined. Just in the beginning of October, Charlotte was continuing to make progress in walking and such, taking more independent steps and still needing a lot of assistance at home and such. She has now transformed from a little girl who would wait and ask for my hand to guide her, to this confident little being that is pushing me away as I try to guide her. What joy this brings me. She now BELIEVES in herself. Self confidence is not something you can really give an individual. You can encourage and praise all you want, but self confidence comes from within. She know believes that she CAN walk and therefore, she is. In the classroom at school, she usually leaves her walker at the door, walking between objects and around the classroom with more ease than I have ever seen from her. She is "righting" herself with much more ease when she looses her balance and she is able now to stop and then begin walking again without loosing total control. I can only imagine what concentration this takes for her, but she is doing it. And I, can only stand by watching, trying not to let the tears in my eyes fall down my cheek. She gives me so many reasons to be strong.
Charlotte still keeps Ryan's memory alive. Not only in her smile, her giggle, her innocence, but she asks about him, talks about him, even wants to listen to "Ryan's music", as I have fondly named the Steven Curtis Chapman c.d.. I have been told that she names her baby dolls at school Ryan, from one of her new greatest friends, "Felicia", her shadow that helps her throughout her day in the full day preschool. (Felicia has been wonderful in facilitating Charlotte's independence at school, being there when she needs her and backing off to let her just enjoy being with the other kids.) Charlotte blows Ryan kisses with me, tells me she misses him, and I remind her EVERY chance that I get that she was a wonderful big sister. We often let her see pictures of him on the computer, or watch videos of him and her. I think she would probably watch them for hours if we let her. But, most preciously, when you ask Charlotte where Ryan is, she happily says, "With Jesus!" as if there really is no better place to be. She is absolutely right.
Charlotte is talking a lot! I am still not sure about her vocabulary at school, but some examples of what she has been saying are:
"Mommy! Baby dancing on my lap!" - followed by giggles.
She sings many songs, even tries to sing to songs she doesn't know by just making it up, she asks questions, is completely tickled by the display of Christmas Lights everywhere we go and is now carrying on conversations with us. She has become this little person that I just can't seem to get enough of. I just want to soak up her goodness...
I could write a book about how amazing I think our little girl is. To most, it may sound as if I am trying to brag on her. What proud parent wouldn't want to do that. But, mostly, I am just trying to give credit where credit is due, and to honestly say that she means the world to me. She makes this place bright and full of hope. She reminds me daily that I have so much to be thankful for, all bundled inside of her. To her, to Ryan and to my husband, thank you. I am most thankful for the family we have become and the love we have for each other.