You turned four years old yesterday. Well, I thought you did, or would, but after having celebrated your birthday for most of a week already, you awoke yesterday and declared that you were done with four, and would turn four-and-a-half.
So may I be the first to say: happy four-and-a-half, my beautiful December baby. 'New math,' indeed.
That story exemplifies you well: you are creatively original, comfortably defiant, and conform only if doing so happens to interest you. Most of us, I think, live our lives inadvertently comparing ourselves against others. You dare others to measure their differences against you.
And lest that smack of hubris, next you tilt your head and smile sideways and yes, we see. You are the gold standard. And-a-half. You charmed us to return a smile and there you are, just-a-girl-not-yet-a-mogul, my sweet, funny kid with the wind-chime laugh.
I'm smitten with you, Ladybug.
You are naturally theatrical, sometimes wiggling so that we wonder about your movements. I just have the dance inside of me right now, you'll tell me. Often you rise on your toes, squint your eyes, and deepen your voice. It's then that you'll call me My dear darling! or sometimes My darling dear! while waving your hands majestically. You may just be swinging your arms for dramatic effect, but it always looks as if you are conducting an invisible orchestra. I get it: a life like yours needs its own soundtrack.
Here's the best part about you, sweet girl: you are tough and you are tender. You are our Ladybug and a firefighter -- a good-luck, swooping jewel in the sunlight and a hero in the night. You are obstinate and you are generous. You share so easily and with such grace. You think of your sister's happiness. You offer your brother your ear. You pounce on any of the four of us with a hug, just to scream, I LOVE YOU!
Of course, you'll also yell for JUSTIN BEAVER!! If the Bievs ever learns of you, he better recognize how lucky he is to be in your graces.
You are loud and spontaneous. You are clever and silly. You are confident and daring and loyal and you share your big heart easily and bring out the best of everyone you meet. You are a delight, and in the past year you've come so far away from tantrums and so far forward to insights and observations and questions that make me feel like a mama of very little brain. Keep challenging me with your questions, you beautiful smart thing. Keep growing and sharing your love and perspective and your hugs, oh, those knock me down and tickle my neck hugs.
You are going to do very great things, although I have no idea what they'll be. With you, there are a million rainbow versions of the future. I'm just so glad I'll watch you write your story. I'm so glad I'm your mama.
I love you, as you say, all the way to the last part of outer space. But really, I love you far further than that. But, no, Mama! you object, because I love you the most. You can't love me more than I love you. But I believe I can, my dear darling, and do, but because it's your birthday I won't argue with you. Instead, let's swing among those stars together. Let me dip you without gravity, and spin. Carry me along the dance currents inside you because I want to see where you'll take me.