Four Birthday Wishes

Dear Bug,

This morning you woke up and were bouncing with excitement. Even though you didn’t get up any earlier than your usual 7 am, your Dad and I weren’t quite ready for you to bound down the stairs yet because we were still setting the table and blowing up balloons. We wanted this day — your fourth birthday — to be beyond special, because you only turn four once and it should be CELEBRATED! We probably should have decorated last night… but as you have noticed by now, sometimes things don’t always happen as timely as they should in our house. Despite our best intentions.

Birthdays require sprinkles. LOTS of chocolate frosting. Kitchen dance parties and muffins on the front porch. Gooey pizza for dinner. Splashing in the pool. Curling up with your favorite bedtime story. Truthfully, we should make time for a little bit of that every day. But we are going to make double sure it all happens today.

I know the last few months of your ‘three year old’ self weren’t easy, but you are one very tough cookie. I think the biggest lesson we all have learned since your brother was born is how to roll with the punches. It wasn’t an easy lesson to learn, especially for you — you always liked to know what was happening and precisely when it was going to happen. You’re a lot like me in that sense. But taking things as they come — in stride, as they say — is something that will serve both of us well.

I asked you this morning what things four-year-olds can do that three-year-olds can’t do. Know what you told me? The monkey bars. You have practiced the monkey bars day after day at the park. Till the palms of your hands are raw. And although you’ve mastered getting across the whole chain of them by yourself scooting each hand along the side, you want to be able to do so ‘like a big kid’ — in the middle, hanging one arm at a time. Your persistence is one of the things I love most about you. You keep at things until you achieve them.  {Truthfully, that same persistence is what makes we want a glass of Riesling around 7:30 at night, too. If you decide to take on motherhood one day, you’ll know exactly what I mean.} I hope that drive never ceases. It’s amazing what you can accomplish on sheer will power — with the exception of putting off bedtime. Unfortunately, you may have gotten a bit of that will power from me and then some from your dad. We’ve been at the stubborn thing a bit longer than you…

Experts say that four is a very big year because it’s the year that imagination and creativity take off. If this holds true, we are in for one colorful ride. You already have imagination and creativity in spades. I wish you lots of time and space to just play and create — this year and every year. Your Dad and I are going to do everything possible to make sure that happens. Playtime is always important. Keep reminding us of that. Crayons still stay off the wall though.

You have poise and grace that far exceed your age – and a vocabulary to match. You ask provocative, articulate questions — with boundless enthusiasm and often catch your father and I off guard. You want to know how things work, why things happen… May you always be this curious. You’ll never be bored.

And then there is kindness. It would be cliche to say you are sweet. That seems to be a word that adults frequently like to use when talking about little girls. You are the kindest person I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. You care a great deal about the people around you. When you encounter another child on the playground who seems scared, you reach out. When someone looks sad, you offer up that infectious grin. This is perhaps what I admire about you most. I hope this kindness is something you never grow out of because it’s not easy to keep. The world is not always kind back. Ultimately, kindness and empathy will serve you best. Especially in middle school. But let’s not worry about that yet…

We have a whole year of four-year-old adventures ahead of us.

Love you to the moon and back,