Tomorrow you turn four, my precious boy.
Birthdays always make this momma of yours all sentimental. I start thinking about how much you've grown over the past year, about all the things that make you the unique child you are. You, who first made me a mother. You, who made me understand this sort of crazy love. You, who taught me so much in the four short years you've been in my life.
You have a love for learning that is simply inspirational. Your days are filled with questions, hopping from one subject to the next - hail to lightning to volcanoes to skeletons to vehicles to cars to roller coasters and all the rest.
You asked me recently about the ring on my finger. I told you what it meant and about how your Daddy gave it to me on the day we got married. You asked if you were there. I always wondered how that topic would come up. What would I say? Yes, I told you. You were in my tummy, and you were born shortly after. I wonder how you'll feel about that when you're older. I hope you'll always know how much you were loved and adored right from the beginning. You were the start of so much that is good and wonderful in my life, the catalyst for so much growth and healing. You were the best sort of surprise I could ever be blessed with.
Now you're a big brother, and you're always asking me when we'll have more! Few things make me happier than seeing you and your brother giggling away as you play together. You are so protective of him. I watched you yesterday at playgroup, when your friend yelled at your brother and made him cry. You puffed out your chest and said in your biggest, firmest voice, "do NOT be mean to my brother. He does NOT like that." Your friend quailed under your stern command, and the two of you returned to your playdough while your brother wandered off to find something else to capture his attention. I was so proud of you.
Your assertiveness will serve you well in life. It can be a hard pill to swallow when you're on the receiving end, however. It wasn't long ago that I was taking my bad mood out on you, snapping at you over nothing at all, when you looked at me and gently but firmly told me, "you're making a bad choice right now, Mommy." You were right, I was. I'm grateful that you were able to recognize that and not afraid to make me aware of it, too.
Before I had you, I was nervous about the idea of raising a boy. You have six aunties; girls I can do. Boys were a foreign creature to me. But you - oh, you. You are all boy and I love every dirt-filled minute of it. Just today I cleaned you up so you could go pick up your Oma and Opa from the airport, and we hadn't even made it to the car before you were covered in dirt again. You love nothing more than to run and crash and laugh and fall and run and crash some more. I can't keep you in decent pants; the holes seem to grow in the knees overnight. You are delightfully rough-and-tumble, and I love it.
I don't know how to put your essence down in writing. You are just you. Exuberant, joyful you. Everything you do, you do all-out. The way you move, learn, create, love, you hold nothing back. I am so blessed to have been given the gift of raising you.
Happy birthday, darling.