It is hard for me to believe that tomorrow you will no longer be four.
When I kiss your cheeks tonight, your four-year-old cheeks for the last time, and I whisper into your ear to have the sweetest of the sweet dreams it will be hard for me not to stay in your room with you. It will be hard not to crawl up into your bed, under your covers, and cradle your sleeping form in my arms, a four-year-old, one last time, after - of course - I have moved your bear and your Lightning McQueen stuffed car and your Bitty Baby and your stuffed cat out of the way.
(You love to have all of your "guys" tucked in right next to you.)
When you were a baby, you were fussy. There is no way to gloss over that fact and I wouldn't want to, it is as much a part of you as your brilliant blue eyes. The fact that you were vocal from the get-go says a lot about the child you are today and the young woman you will someday be.
And I would not want it any other way.
I am proud of the fact that you let your feelings show, however exhausting it may be sometimes. I am proud that you do not hold back. I am proud that you are always true to yourself and don't let anyone tell you what to do. I am proud that you are not a wallflower, but if you were, you know that I would love you just the same.
Even though picking out clothes for you to wear each morning that we both agree on is a struggle, I appreciate that you have your own unique sense of what you like. Even though it would be so much easier if you would just put on what I have picked out, your independence and determination impress me. I know it is not all about the power struggle for you, you really don't want to wear that shirt with the tiny flowers all over it - again.
I love your self-assuredness. The fact that you, as you were watching the most historic presidential election to date, wondered if Barack Obama and Joe Biden knew that it was your birthday in a few days, made me beam. Why wouldn't they?
I love that you are fearless, even though it makes my heart lurch into my throat sometimes.
I love that you love your family. You draw pictures of the five of us all the time, rushing to my side to ask, "how do you spell Wyatt?" or, "how do you spell McRae?" over and over again so you can write your big brother's names correctly. You are a perfectionist too. If you mess up, you will do it over until you get it right, something I don't think came naturally to me when I was your age.
You are nurturing. Although you love to be active, get dirty and yell and scream with the best of them, there is a side of you that is so very sweet, and that is the way you care for and love your babies or anyone younger than you. You take interest in babies everywhere we go and you are in love with the smell of the diaper aisle at Target. You walk down the aisle with your nose almost touching the brand-new packages of disposable diapers like you are inhaling the sweetest of perfume. You cradle your "Suzy" (your Bitty Baby) with the greatest of care, treating her like she is a living, breathing baby and not made of plastic and cotton. You change her diaper and make sure she is buckled in the car right next to your own seat. You love to make sure that she is safe.
I know that someday, you will be a phenomenal mother.
You are smart. You have a memory better than my own and sometimes, this is a little scary. You are recognizing words and writing all the time. You are very in tune with your surroundings and remember the way to see Great Grandma Carol at her new apartment even though you have only been there a handful of times. You can even show us right to her front door.
But most of all, my little one, I am just happy that you are you.
When I found out I was having you, I was sure you would be another boy, and I would be the mom of 3 boys and that would have been it. At my 20-week ultrasound, the technician said, "It's a girl!" Even though I was a bit skeptical, I was overcome with a feeling of contentment, of complete and utter joy at bringing a girl, my girl, into this world.
And here you are. My girl, the one I had been waiting for. My girl, who is herself but also a very big part of me. My girl, who I get the privilege of watching grow into a confident, strong, smart and beautiful person. My girl, my girl, my girl . . .
Happy Fifth Birthday, my girl.
I love you forever,