You. You were born five minutes ago. Five seconds ago.
Okay, it was actually two hours ago… FOUR YEARS AGO.
Where did the time go? Man, I really like you. I mean really, really like you! I knew I’d love you. I loved you from the first smudgy blip on an ultrasound screen. I loved you from the first pink line. I can’t imagine not loving you.
But I never knew, could never have expected, how much I’d LIKE you. You’re awesome. You’re funny. We have actual conversations. Sometimes they’re about the merits of pink or whether girls can be superheroes. Sometimes we talk about how car engines work, why dinosaurs are so big, or what inchworms eat. The way you see the world is beautiful, incredible, amazing.
You’ve amazed me from the very first second of your life. I was scared. What if you didn’t make it? What if I never heard your cry or held your hand? But there you were, real and warm and perfect. You took it so easy on me from moment one, never once making life as a new mom tough. You slept long and hard. You ate like a champ, until you got sick.
Man… I will never, ever forget that. You were SO sick. I will never forget the way you looked at your sickest, your worst, your most frightening. And then the surgery happened, and like magic you were back to happy, healthy, round, and perfect.
And then, despite never asking my permission, you were one. You were crawling and cruising and trying to hard to walk. You said daddy and puppy and mommy. You signed ball and more and hungry and thirsty. You ate everything you could get your hands on, loving pizza and Indian food. You chewed on Sophie the Giraffe nonstop, slept like a champion, and loved flipping through books over and over again.
You made animal sounds. You made me laugh and smile and cry and hope. You made me want to be the strongest, best, wisest mommy in the world. You made me want to live healthier, stay happier, be the best me EVER. You made my heart smile and my soul dance.
And little girl, you still do. Every day. You are all I’ll ever need from the world. You keep me whole. You slow me down. You remind me what’s really important when I lose sight.
As you get older, you just get cooler and cooler. Every new day is exciting and awesome and wonderful. Sometimes I feel a little sad about the phase that’s passing, but then every new time brings some new incredible part of you to the forefront and I don’t have time to miss what’s gone. I have to stay on my toes with you so I don’t miss a moment of your perfect, incredible mind.
One was a good birthday. We went to the zoo. You might not have understood why we were there, but you really liked the outdoors and you made a proper mess with a homemade cupcake. You laughed and smiled all day, passed out for a well-earned afternoon nap, and woke up in your usual state of amused enjoyment of life.
And then, all of a sudden, you were done being one. Suddenly, without a moment’s notice, you were two.
TWO! You were walking and talking and thinking and playing. You were still laughing and smiling and cuddling and hoping. You developed a still raging love of dinosaurs and all thing spacey. Planets? Volcanoes? Weather patterns? YES! Robots? YES! Frilly dresses? YES!
Full of intricacies and seeming contradictions already. We tried so hard to make sure you knew nothing was off limits to you. No “boy” and “girl” toys or activities for you! Just what you like and what you don’t.
And that smile. It lights up your eyes every time, and there is nothing I like to see more. Kid. I hope you know how thoroughly smitted with you I am. I hope you can feel how devoted your Daddy is. That man would move the Earth for you. I think he’s having an especially fun time watching you grow. He loves your boundless curiosity.
Two was the year you potty trained yourself in a week. Not because of our encouragement or anything else. You’d just decided you wanted to go to the special playplace at the mall, the one only for potty trained kids, so there it was. Seven days, and boom. You did it on your own.
You know, my inability to take credit for your awesomeness seems to be a continuing theme here. And I love every second of it.
Three? Yep. Three was next. Three. Thirty six incredible, life changing, inspiring months of a life that would never be the same.
You certainly haven’t let us get bored. Energy to the maximum, but the same sweet heart and cuddly spirit as ever. The same easy smile, the same kind eyes, the same commitment to spontaneous affection and care for others.
I couldn’t ask for a better kid if I tried. Really. There’s no one cooler. I loved every second of year three, even the occasional tantrum. You’re finding your way, and you’re still so kind most of the time I can hardly begrudge you the once-in-a-blue-moon burst of crazy pants crapitude. It happens to the best of us, and you, my precious girl, are truly the best of us.
Robots? Dinosaurs? Space? Still yes! Princesses? Ballerinas? Pink and purple? Yes! You’re the perfect kid. You love girly, frilly, sparkly and you request a Warrior Dash birthday party. You wear dresses and laugh when you get filthy. You adore your sparkly, light-up princess shoes and your Star Wars Angry Birds stuffed animals. You like Sophia the First and TinkerBox, science and art and music and books… man, we’re so thankful for the library.
Fifteen books every Saturday. Every Saturday. You read them all. Now you’re starting to read them yourself too, a little at a time, a word here and there. It’s so exciting to watch, because I’m a reader too, so I know what you’re getting into. Those books open whole new worlds, full of incredible ideas and awesome alternate realities.
And so here we are. You’re four today.
Four. You’re not a baby anymore. You’re not even a toddler anymore.
You’re my little big girl, my adventurous warrior princess. You thrill me every day. You make hard things easy, simplify the world, and give me permission to spend ten minutes watching an inchworm crawl. You make me laugh so hard I cry.
You’re moments away from reading. You can’t stop talking about the day you get to ride the school bus. You rode the bus to work with me the other day, and you were absolutely perfect for the entire two hour ride.
I know I lose my patience with you sometimes, and I’m sorry I do. I love you more than anything in this world, and I hope you know that I strive every day to be the best mommy I can be, the one you deserve.
Frankly? I think I’m doing just fine, if you’re any measure of my success.
Kid. We’re so proud of you. There is nothing cooler than watching the person you’ve become, that you continue to become every day. I’m so proud of your big heart, your gentle spirit, your avid and unstoppable questioning of the world around you.
I promise you I’ll always answer your questions, hold your hand, share my ice cream. I vow to never be too busy for snuggles, reading, games, or even tv time. YOU matter most.
Happy birthday, my sweet love.