Almost a whole week has gone by since your birthday and I can’t seem to write my birthday letter to you. Why is this so hard? Why can’t I put to words my feelings for you and all that you mean to me? Is it enough to say that I love you, that I am totally and utterly in love with your 3 year old self because you are perfect in every single way? Will you be disappointed when you read it years from now and this is all I have written?
Other moms have written to their daughters that they are beautiful and pretty. And you are so beautiful and so pretty. You have this wonderful wavy hair that frames your face. You have your daddy’s long eyelashes. Your lips are shaped like a rosebud, perfect for giving and receiving kisses. But your true beauty comes from you smile. Your smile transforms you. You change from a normal toddler to this extraordinary, breathtaking, utterly charming being. Your smile lights up your whole self and you become the sun, the moon and the stars.
May be I’m having a hard time writing because when I reflect on your face, my eyes well, my heart swells and I’m just lost staring at your pictures on my desk.
Others have written how smart their kids are and again, you are also so very smart. You are starting to recognize some written letters and numbers. You can sing along to most of the songs on your CDs. You know the lyrics better than I. You know your shapes and colors and can distinguish light colors from dark. You can remember the words to a book and “read” the books to me, verbatim. These are all wonderful milestones you have mastered and even surpassed. What leaves me stunned and shaking my head in wonder are the shapes and objects you see in the clouds. You have such a great imagination! Or how you pull a memory from 6 months ago and ask about a forgotten and possibly lost toy. I marvel at your dexterity with the mouse, the ease in which you handle technology already.
I should mention how much you have grown. You are a 4T in shirts and almost in pants. You are tall enough reach the light switch on your tippy toes. You have already been able to reach the doorbell. You walk up the stairs using the handrail. You would like to do the same coming down, but I’m still too nervous to let you. So, you like me to carry you down. You like me to carry you from the car to your classroom in daycare. I complain that you’re a big girl now, but secretly, I don’t mind at all. I like being able to hold you for a moment as those moments are becoming rare.
You have matured so much. You are fully potty trained and have been for months. You insist on picking out your own underwear. You like to do many things yourself. “No, me want to do it.” You tell me when you’re ready for bed, even though I would like to cuddle with you a little longer. You will let me hold you a few minutes more if I ask. You are doing really well in daycare. Sometimes, it is hard to pull you away and then only after you have given everyone a hug. We no longer have to hold you the entire Mass. You will sit and entertain yourself. You will now shake hands during the exchange of peace.
I re-read what I have written so far and it is so inadequate in conveying the full wonder of you. I haven’t mentioned how cute and adorable you are, as you crinkle you nose in amusement or when you open your eyes wide in anticipation of some fun. You are not only smart, but clever. You unerringly pick a chocolate chip ice cream because you know you would get two in one. You no longer cry when I say no to a treat. You’ve learned to accept and to bargain, “May be for later? Can I save it for later?”
There are some things that may be only a picture or a video could capture. The way you run with a bit of a toddler wobble still, the way you sing, the way you pronounce some words, the way you look sleeping, buried into the recess of your bed, the way a single tear sliding down your cheek could break the coldest heart, the way your eyes rimmed red from crying can instantly light up again with happiness over some silliness. I definitely need to capture how you come knocking on the bathroom door in the morning, voice gruff, “Little pig, little pig, let me in!” And I have to answer in a high squeaky voice, “Not by the hair on my chinny chin chin” and then squeal and pretend to run away.
Oh, how do I write all of these things, all of these priceless moments, all the nuances of your expressions, all the variations of you, all of which I need to do in order to fully explain and convey my love for you and what you mean to me.
I find that I can’t so I end with what I began. I love you, simply and whole heartedly. You are my sun, moon and the stars. I hope that is enough.