Last Friday you turned 4 years old.
I left work early to go to your school. I brought brownies for treats (brownies because they were the only thing in the Target bakery that said they were not processed in a facility that has nuts).
I got there for your "Birthday Walk". You had a special paper crown made with jewels and purple feathers sprouting out. You looked like the Queen of Sheba.
Everyone gathered around in a circle. A candle was lit and you walked around the little circle as I told everyone about the different things you did when you were born, and when you were one, two, and three. And I had to admit, some of it was starting to run together. Another reason why I'm glad I wrote things down when you were a baby and even though I have not done the best job writing you monthly letters, I'm happy I managed to get some things down on paper.
If I've learned anything, it's that my mind has deteriorated somewhat since you were born. Gee, I wonder why? Planning meals and baths and schedules and constantly anticipating the needs of another (somewhat helpless creature) has taken it's toll on my brain cells. I forget words, bump into walls, and generally have turned into the type of person I used to make fun of.
But the best part about that is that I no longer care.
Having you around has made me become a much more determined person. A person who basically doesn't give a shit anymore what anyone thinks. Mostly. Because it's not about me anymore.
I have to say that is a wonderful feeling.
I also have to say that this past year was a toughie. Being three is not so hot, is it? You were such a sweet two-year old and there were no Terrible Twos. But Three? Good, God, some days you were such a shit. You had a horrendous temper tantrum in the supermarket when I wouldn't buy you something and it was the screaming fit, lying on the floor, full body spazz out that I had before only heard about. Never seen. Never responsible for having to deal with it. I felt like I was a special agent called in for hostage negotiations. Except there was no damn negotiating.
Fortunately, I managed to keep my cool - something I probably wouldn't have managed only a few years ago. I didn't give in and got you home and you spazzed so much that you cried yourself to sleep on your bedroom floor.
The reason for this freak show?
I wouldn't buy you a pink beanie baby kitty.
So I'm hoping this year will be not quite so dramatic. We'll see.
So for your fourth birthday you got a big gift. A big girl bike. And you were so impressed. Then you got up on it and it was a little too big, and you said, "I can't do it!"
But then we showed you how it worked and got you going. And you did do it.
That is one of the things that I always want you to remember. Things aren't easy. Especially the good things. You have to work at it and practice. You might even fall down and get hurt. But eventually, you'll get to feel that incredible wind through your hair* when you get going fast enough, and you'll be glad you kept trying.
*somewhat tempered by the fact that everyone wears helmet now. You might feel a small, whistling breeze.
So I hope your fourth year is the best one yet. There is just so much to look forward to, and the time is flying by. And all that time we have is all the more meaningful now that I get to spend it with you. I don't know that you will ever understand how much I love you, little one. Maybe you're not supposed to.
Love, Forever and ever - to infinity plus one.