You were just born, for the love of pete, and I just can't fathom that four damn years has gone by since we met face to face.
I feel like you've always been here, always been in my life, sticking your hand in my plate, leaving floaties in my drink, watching me pee, snuggling up to me, slipping your hand in mine.
Since your last birthday, you have done so many things. So many, in fact, that I probably forgot some of them, and that's a sad shame.
You lost two blankies.
You went to the State Fair for the first time.
You learned what it felt like to lose a pet, to grieve, and to heal.
You roller-skated for the first time.
You went to a baseball game & fell in love with the players. You absolutely adore Josh Hamilton, and literally cry for him. You've even asked us to drive by his house several times, & I think it was probably a bad idea that your Daddy told you he lives less than a mile from us, and it wouldn't surprise me to get a phone call from the police someday, telling me you skipped out of preschool, walked across the road, & was found looking in his windows.
Your great-grandmother passed away, & you wanted to see her in the casket, which I allowed (PARENT FAIL? I don't know-I guess I'll ask you in 12 or so years).
You gave us all complete & utter terror attacks when we thought we lost you.
You completed your Daddy's sentence when he said "Mother F" (I will not forget the sound of your little voice telling him matter-of-factly, "It's FUCKER, Daddy. Mother FUCKER").
You started campaigning for a Nintendo DS, a baby brother, & most recently, the chance to have your pacifier back.
You started dressing yourself, and having strong opinions about what you want to wear every day.
You rolled with the punches, and moved a to a temporary house when our house flooded.
You went to the deer lease with your father, several times, looking for deer, cows, turkeys, and anything else you could scare off with your happy laughter. You enjoyed riding around in the Kubota RTV w/ him, which I affectionately call 'The Bubble'.
You learned how to whistle.
You learned the words to so many songs, including Pink's "So What" , Outkast's "Back of the Bus", and All American Rejects' "Hope it gives you hell". Tonight I heard you in your room after I put you to bed, singing "If you're happy and you know it". You have such a sweet little voice.
You are so smart, my baby. You can spell and write your name, and you are recognizing letters all over the place:on street signs, in the grocery aisles, in books, on TV. You love to learn, and spend time every day, on your own, doing pages in workbooks, asking me sweetly "Tell me what I do on this page, mommy".
When I put you to bed, we read a book (or two, or ten) and you insist on reading it to me after I read it. You asked to be rocked, and we sit on the floor in front of your bed, where I pull you into my lap and rock you gently, while breathing in the scent of your hair. You climb into bed willingly, asking for every damn receiving blanket to be layered over you, and placing your Old Man Dog, Daisy, and 17,569 other small stuffed animals JUST SO at the foot of your bed.
You know how to manipulate, and push buttons, and annoy. You know how to get what you want. But just when I am being pushed to the edge of insanity with your whining, bossing, nagging, complaining, I-will-not-shut-up-until-you-give-me-what-I-want-damn-it....you soften the blow with a sweet smile, a soft kiss, and bright eyes. You tell me I am a good mommy just when I need to hear it most. You kiss me at the best times. You say "I love you" so often.
You are so silly. You love to laugh. You love to stuff your face full of grapes, steal my last chip, blow the wrappers off your straw at us, make silly faces and noises, & you NEVER sit still for pictures.
You are such a joy, even in the midst of the frustration. You are so much fun, playing hide-n-seek in the house with us, or duck-duck-goose. Your laugh is contagious when I tickle you until you lose your breath. You love to fart, shake your booty, and play with Daisy. In fact, you love all dogs.
You are my sweet girl, and it saddens me that the time is flying, that you are FOUR, that you are getting so damn long and smart and independent and feisty and fierce and.....I love all these things about you, but I just want it all to slow down. I just want to feel your little hand in mine, and hear you sing "I wanna hold your hand" when you do it.
Happy birthday, my sweet girl.