A birthday message

Dear M,

I’m sitting here listening to you and your brother play Mousetrap in the playroom and I am struck by the fact that today is your last day as a four year old. I’m not really sure how that’s possible, but you have been counting down the days since last month and told everyone who would listen to you today that tomorrow was your birthday and that you’ll be five.

Hard as it is to believe, I know it’s true. We moved in to this house 5 years ago in January and you were born not all that long after that. We had a new neighborhood, but once Spring started that year, we learned it well as we walked around the neighborhood, repeating the process we had used with your brother to try and convince you to come out. New neighborhood, new hills but the same result, you did not want to come out on time. Finally, you joined us and completed our new home.

You had your own little personality the moment you were born. Your favorite story these days is how you knocked my glasses off with your hand the day you were born. That should have been a warning for me right there. You blew bubbles with your spit starting the next day, and I started calling you Bubbles. Realizing that I could not call you a nickname that was linked to Michael‘s chimpanzee in my mind, I jokingly shortened it to Bubba, a name your mother insisted would not be adopted as a nickname. Five years later and you’re still called Bubba around the house. You brought new definition to the terrible two’s, and have stretched them out for twice their life (you and I agreed tonight that temper tantrums end at 5). Your teacher recently described you as “angelic,” and I’m concerned that it’s this close to the end of the year and she’s still confusing her students…

You’re taking karate lessons, and thankfully have not used them on anyone, though I think your brother’s days are numbered. This past week you started riding the bike you got for your 4th birthday. The weekend before we were picking up the bike I bought for your mother for her birthday and you begged me for a new bike. I explained that you weren’t getting a new bike until you started riding your current bike and voila, you can’t get enough of bike rides. I’m sure the two are not related. You are a master of puzzles, desperate to learn how to read and a whiz at playing memory.

You’re growing like a weed, your smile is still a little crooked and you have a spray of freckles across your nose that would make James Joyce proud. You’re whip smart, curious and your insight is still a little alarming. You are growing out of cuddling, but still like mommy to hold you when you’re cranky.

I don’t know where the last 5 years have gone. I remember the good and the bad, but together they don’t seem like they add up to so much time. You are, of course, quick to remind me that you’re a big boy now. Unless, of course I am asking you to clean up after yourself, which is when you remind me that you’re “just a baby” and “not a maid!” I particularly like the latter bit.

I don’t know where my baby has gone, but I love the son he has become. Happy birthday, Bubba.

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