I just said goodnight to you for the last time as a 3-year-old. You think it's funny when I fake cry after you say "I'm going to be four tomorrow." If you only knew that I really do feel like crying about you turning four tomorrow. Make no mistake, I am so happy you're happy to grow up. You think for some reason you're going to magically be able to do so many things when you're four: brush your teeth without help, eat more vegetables. draw like dad. Your standard response these days is "maybe when I'm four." It's cute, and so innocent it melts my heart. But four is so grown up. And it was just yesterday that you were Gabby's size. Yesterday I tell you! It's crazy to think that your dad and I were anxiously awaiting your arrival as we watched the World Cup four years ago. Now, you're cheering on the USA right beside us!
This past year, once again, zoomed by at lightning speed. You have grown so much, literally. Dresses that were long on you last summer barely cover your bum now. Last year at this time your hair didn't even require a comb. Now it gets pulled back into a curly ponytail, making you look so mature.
While you are always up for an adventure, you struggle daily with not being the boss of your own life. While we loathe the battles because of this (no, you can't eat turkey sandwiches for every meal), I am proud that you want to take charge. You love being the "line leader" and a leader in general. I hope that never changes. I watched you go from a causal observer during story time at the library last year to shouting out responses to the questions from the front row this year. When the librarian asked the group what the flavor of the pretend juice should be, you shouted out: "Chocolate!" and made everyone laugh.
I should be wrapping your presents and baking your cake right now, but instead I just want to stay here forever and write about how much I love being your mom. I love your sister just as much as I love you, but because you're my firstborn, you're the one I'm always comparing her with. When you were little, I thought all kids would sit still for a half hour while their mom read them books. I thought all babies would be passed from stranger to stranger without batting an eye. I thought all children were cautious creatures. But these are just some of the features that make you you.
You love running through the sprinklers (after much coersion) going on picnics, hide and seek (your crazy good hiding spots give me mild heart attacks), watching cartoonies whenever we let you, being read to (for HOURS) pamato (Playdough), messing with Gabby and going on "mystery walks" in which you take the magnifying glass and pretend that bird poop on the sidewalk is a clue. (Have I mentioned I love this age?) You seriously say something hilarious daily.
Sure, some of who you are is due to our influence as parents. But so much more of it is just your personality unveiling itself and shining through as you get older. I love that. Words to describe you include: outgoing, the opposite of laid back, whip-smart, silly, sensitive, show-offy, happy, talkative, truthful, inquisitive (why? what does "except" mean? what does exhausted mean? why?), girly and affectionate. You are such a life force.
The truth is I feel honored and privileged to have guided you these past four years. It seems like just yesterday that you showed up four days late, screaming about your new living conditions and then refusing to eat from anything but a bottle. I should've seen your personality coming ;) But even though it seems like time has gone by faster than it should have, all moms get the same amount of time with their children. So I'm not going to be sad about what I can't control, but just beyond grateful and happy that I get the pleasure of raising a great little girl.
I love every single thing about you. Never change who you are! But I guess it's OK if you want to keep growing up. And tomorrow when you wake up, you'll be four, and I promise not to cry....too much.