I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. How can you be turning 4? It doesn’t seem like 4 years have passed since we welcomed you into our lives. But here you are, growing in size and sass each and every day.
This year, you finally understood the concept of a birthday. You knew you would turn 4, that we’d have a party and that you’d get presents. You were so excited for this birthday, you told everyone you met about it, including that Mama is going to make you a Paw Patrol cake.
This is just one of many things you’ve learned since the last birthday. You are like a little sponge, soaking up anything and everything about the world around you. You are fascinated with animals, domestic and wild. Your favorite activity the last few weeks has been to go visit the chicks in their brooder houses. You will sit down in the sawdust with them and let them climb all over you. You giggle when they try to crawl in your boot. You scold them when they peck at one another. You cheer when they begin learning to fly and mourn the loss of the ones that don’t make it. You would sit with your chicks for hours in those sweltering barns if I would let you.
You’re also learning about wildlife and wild birds. You can spot deer and antelope hiding on the side of the road before I can. I love that you can identify the birds that come visit our feeder, or that you can identify a killdeer just by hearing its call. It tells me that you are paying attention to the little details in life, and that you understand there is a world beyond a television or iPod.
You’ve also become a great fishing buddy. As the weekend approaches, you will ask if we can go fishing on Daddy’s day off. You trudge behind us, eagerly carrying your Mickey Mouse fishing pole or the worm box. It doesn’t matter that you haven’t caught a fish – you just like seeing anything come out of the water. After I caught some crappie on our second trip out, you must have given me a million high fives. “Way to go catching that fish Mama!” When you get bored, we pass the time letting the water splash on our feet, watch the silly grebes or make us stories about the fish we’ll see in faraway places. I love these moments as much as I love actually fishing, because it’s just the three of us, our little family sharing something we love without distraction.
The last year has been full of big changes. Moving to a new place, a new room, giving up the binky, starting preschool, getting a big girl bed. You have handled each with grace and courage. I continue to be amazed at your fearlessness and confidence. You aren’t reckless, but you aren’t timid either. When you started preschool last fall, you weren’t scared. You threw open the door, marched right down the hall and said “Schoool, here I come!” In the pool, you are teaching all the boys how to jump in without having someone there to catch you. And you are not afraid to start a conversation with a grownup, whether it’s the bagger at the grocery store or the lady checking out our books in the library.
You aren’t a baby anymore. You tell me this all the time, but it is evident in your appearance and demeanor. You are a preschooler who is ready to take life by the horns and wrestle it to the ground. You are developing a wonderful sense of humor and a sense of compassion.
I would be remiss if I didn’t log some of your favorites at this particular moment in time, so here goes. Your favorite TV shows right now are Shimmer and Shine, Sheriff Callie’s Wild West and Wild Kratts. You requested a Paw Patrol cake for your birthday and still love all the pups. You ask me to make homemade pizza at least once a week. You love to eat frozen mangoes with breakfast. You are packing around Baby, your first doll, with you wherever you go. In fact, you plan to use some of the birthday money GG gave you to buy a stroller and bottle for Baby so that she’s never hungry. You want to be in the water constantly, and can even swim on your own for a few seconds. I am still your best friend, and Roxy dog is one of your favorite playmates. Each day when you get up from your nap, you still squeal and run to him when you see Daddy.
I hope every birthday makes you as happy as this one had. We celebrated with Grammie and Papa, Nana, Uncle Bill, Aunt Debbie and Ellen. You were enamored with Ellen and had a great conversation about her nail polish, much to Daddy’s chagrin. (She’s a great role model, by the way. Please look up to her as you grow up!) It didn’t matter that the cake I made was a little lopsided or that we had no decorations. You were surrounded by your family and we celebrated with love. You finally got that rainbow lights Barbie mermaid you’ve been coveting since Christmas, so I think that part was pretty cool, too.
While your boundless energy sometimes exhausts me, I am forever grateful to have such a sunny free-spirited daughter. You make me take myself less seriously and keep us laughing with your silliness and exuberance. May you always be so ebulient and joyful and pure of heart.
Never doubt how much Daddy and I love you at this stage and all the stages beyond. We will forever be your biggest champions.
Happy birthday, Emmers. I love you.
P.S. Thanks to my dear friend of the Bronco Babies blog for giving me the idea of writing a letter to my daughter each year on her birthday.