This week, you are three years old.
Or, in other words:
You'll have to forgive me, but I'm coming from an emotional place right now. If you haven't figured it out yet, momma doesn't do well with chaos. And this summer, so far, has been nothing but. So I've taken some time out of the chaos to write you a birthday letter, and what this means for you is that it's going to be sentimental, mushy goo.
First, let's start with all the ways that this past year has revealed to us the awesome little person you are. You unattached from your Bubba, only to attach to other things. (Owlie, of course, and anything shark related):
You are curious, adventurous, and so very smart, which is great for long afternoons walking the block and discovering worms, cool leaves ("Coo weeves!") and amazing flowers ("'Mazing fwowers!").
When people ask me about how you are different from your sister, I always tell them that, other than the obvious, the biggest difference is that while your sister is a people-pleaser, you simply are not. When you want something, you want it. When you see something, you run for it. When mom expresses her disappointment, you are mostly unfazed. In many ways this is a challenge, as this is the face I must contend with when you do not get your way:
But in other ways, I have to be honest. I'm happy you won't shoulder the burden your sister (and I) shoulder, and that is the impossible expectation to make everyone happy. The world is yours to discover and experience, and at three years old, you've figured that out. Good for you, little buddy. Someday you'll have to let me in on your secret.
I'm not sure when your birthday won't be a time of serious sentimentality for me, but I think it's safe to say it will be many many birthdays from now. This is me, about three years ago:
Those long months of pregnancy are all a blur for me now. So much fear. I think I can now admit that I forced myself not to get too attached to you, because everything felt so scary. And then, of course, the night you came, which is a night I replay in my head often, and never without a lurch in my heart at damn-near miraculous nature of each and every breath we take in this world.
Throughout the course of your life, I'm sure I'll share with you just how much the experience of you changed me, but I'm not sure I will ever find the right words to convey it. Suffice to say that I don't see things the way I did before I had you. I don't make decisions the same way; I don't see good or bad times the same way. I think a part of me will always be in the back of that ambulance, craning my neck to see the stars and saying my final goodbyes.
And I, in all the chaos of the day-to-day with a three and four year old, and despite all that I have been through when it comes to you, need that daily reminder.
So happy birthday to my beautiful, happy, big-brown-eyed boy. I love you for all you are to me, and what you are to me is just about everything.