Today you turn four. Four! Four years ago, around 8 p.m., you made your entrance into this world in, and this in now unsurprising to us, highly dramatic fashion. (And what an amazing gift you have been!)
As I type this, you are sitting beside me, long legs sprawled over the couch, watching a Christmas special. How did your legs and arms and body grow soooooo impossibly long? Lately, I've found myself just lost in watching you, and marvelling your grown-up-ness. As you are so fond of saying these days, "I'm a kid!" And indeed you are, sweet child. It is almost impossible to picture you as that tiny, big-eyed baby that fit so perfectly into my arms. And yet, while I mourn the loss of the baby-ness of you, I am so amazed and so grateful that I get the privilege of watching you grow and learn and figure out how to navigate the world around you.
I want to take the time to celebrate your you-ness today. Sometimes I worry that you will read these old blogs of mine and confuse my discussions of the challenges of parenting with being upset or dissapointed with you or you sister. So let me be clear on this. Parenting is bloody hard work. But you, my little love, you are the personfication of joy and delight and amazement in my life.
You have grown into such an amazing little person - with such an open, gentle and kind spirit. I love how when the door buzzer goes off at school, you immediately drop what you're playing with in order to run to the door to greet your incoming classmate. Each and every time that buzzer goes off, for each and every classmate, each and every morning. I love your compassion, and how you always want to stop and encourage another child who's having a hard time, or crying, or scared. I wonder if you know how special this makes people feel? And I wonder if you have guessed how much I covet those full-bodied, spontaneous hugs that sometimes come from you as I pick-you up from school?
You have never been one to do things equivocally. Just like your birth, everything about you is intense, fiery, passionate, whole-bodied. Your laugh fills up an entire room with mirth (and fills up my entire heart too). The things you love, you love with everything you've got! Your brave (sometimes too fearless!) spirit makes you a bit of a daredevil, but we made it through this whole year without a trip to the emergency room this year, so you must be getting a bit more sure-footed too :) Insert sound of your mama knocking serious wood here!
Your ever-growing love of musicality makes me 'happy in my heart,' as Nannie would say. I love watching your bad-ass air-guitar routines on whatever can be found to use as a guitar (pens, combs, broom handles, whathaveyou). I love the way you're addicted to Glee songs, but have the words totally (and passionately) all wrong. And the way you can't stop yourself from moving and dancing when you hear music that you enjoy is a joy to watch. (My heart is doing a little happy dance of its own right now, as I imagine the look on your face - and the show that will ensue - when you open your real guitar tonight!). Just like your Mommy, you are a natural-born performer.
Your imagination is exquisite. While playing outside yesterday, you told me the most amazing story about the moon and her baby star, whose name was Francis Huffington. And when we talked about the nights' expected meteor showers, you worried that they would be loud. I assured you they weren't, explaining how the stars were moving too, but they were too far away to hear. But you looked up and me and said: "Oh no Mama. If you stand very very still and listen, you can hear the stars singing!" What a beautiful little soul you are.
Though I sometimes think you have enough energy for ten kids, keeping up with you -though sometimes challenging - is never, not ever dull. And not that I'll probably ever admit it again, but it's probably good that you keep your old mama on her toes. I love that you're all fire and spunk and sass and spirit. I love that you like loud over quiet and fast over slow. I love that you live with gusto.
It seems so paltry and not nearly enough to say that I love you. But love you I do. So much so, that the thought of you, now, growing up and turning four, makes my heart swell until I feel it might implode, makes tears of sad/happy burn behind my eyes, makes me prouder than proud in the child you have become, and are becoming still.
So, sweet Boy-o. Happy fourth birthday. You have filled our home and our hearts with such joy. Your Mommy and I (and your baby sister who profoundly adores you) are immeasurably grateful for the day, four years ago, when you came into our lives and made us a family.
Thank you for being you, buddy. Thank you for teaching us, for growing with us, and most of all, thank you for loving us right back.
p.s. You'll always be my baby.
p.p.s. To the moon, and the stars, and all the way back again...