She blew out her candles as soon as the cake was placed on the table. One, two, then three smoking candles and we erupted into applause for Summer. That is how she celebrated her third birthday: surrounded by those who love her, directing all their joy her way; she, too small in body to take it all in at once, burst into a great grin, expelling some of her pent-up happiness.
A mother always worries that the younger ones don't get quite the same level of attention, fanfare and care as the older ones. There is truth to validate this concern. They aren't signed up for near as many activities, nor given as many new clothes to wear. Their first time doing anything is not as exciting to parents who have seen it all before. With Summer, she has learned to share what little is hers, and to push herself into any social situation in which she finds herself (invited or not). She makes her presence known, and when any extra love or attention come her way, she soaks it up. I try, each day, to show each girl some individual attention and love, but I don't always live up to this expectation, I admit.
To watch my little girl receive her cake, and gifts, and greetings from everyone who visited, my heart was so warmed to see her truly appreciate these gestures. After eating her first bite of cake, she turned to me for a hug, saying in her little voice, "thank you for the cake, mama." She stopped herself mid-freakout to thank a guest for coming, or for the gift she opened and adored. Her gratitude was necessary and then freely given. She shows what it means to have a grateful heart, as one who counts her blessings, finds beauty in the small things, and knows to celebrate love and life before things and activities (the ones I remember to do with her!)
Happy third birthday, my little lady.