Four.

Sweet Otis,

You are four years old. Like, you are a senior in the pre-school world. The big kid on campus.
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And yet you’re still my baby. Funny how that works.

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Eventually I’m going to tell the entire world all the ways I’ve been the worst mom on the planet, but on your birthday I’d rather talk about how you’ve been the best son in the universe.

You are so excited about life. The way you dance because your body just has to do something with all of this joy running through it. Your excitement is contagious, and has turned so many of my ‘meh’ days into ‘best’ days. No matter how many tantrums you have or how hard things get, the image of you squirming around and stretching your face into the most exaggerated smile ever will be how I remember this season of our lives.

You love your family. All of us. There aren’t even words for how thankful I am for the relationship you have with all of your grandparents. How Aunt Meesa and Uncle Bobby are your best friends. I don’t know how you’ve convinced each of us we are your favorite, but I feel like this skill will come in handy during your 2056 presidential run.

You always do you. You love Barbie’s Dream House and you want to be a cowboy. You will count all day long, but roll your eyes at the thought of learning your colors. You love hanging out at home without any pants on. And there is absolutely no shame in your game. I will not lie, I am a people pleaser and sometimes I wish you would just go with the flow more, and have fewer opinions about all of the things. I know that you are in the middle of learning how to behave AND how to respect yourself and your needs, and I’m not going to pretend that this stage is easy for either of us, but please keep doing you because you is kind, smart, and important.

I’m sure that when I’m old and chatting with a young mom with a tantruming toddler at her feet in the checkout line I will smile at her and say, “Don’t you love their passion for life at this age?” And then she’ll go home and write a “Dear Old Lady at the Grocery Store” blog post making fun of me for totally not getting how hard it is. And she’s right, it’s hard, but it’s immensely more beautiful than I could have imagined. I am decades away from that day and I already know I’m going to look back on these days and smile because watching you grow up has been the very best. Thank you for being you and making the last 4 years so wonderful.

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A hundred kisses,
Mama

First Birthday
Second Birthday
Third Birthday

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