Can’t Help Falling In Love With You

My Sweet Little Man:

Today? Today, you are four! I can’t believe it. Four years ago, you were coming into this world reluctantly. Now you are here and not reluctant at all.

That first year the changes were unbelievable. I can’t deny that the vast majority of changes in life occurred during that first year, but I have been no less than astounded as each year passes and you continue to grow in so many ways. From one to two, two to three, and now three to four.

You went from a toddler to a preschooler in a year.

And what a year it was! We spent your third birthday on vacation at a beautiful lake house, which you adored. To this day you will bring up that vacation with fond memories. Usually you will bring up memories of the lake house when you are supposed to be sleeping, but it’s charming nonetheless.

We moved into a new house, you started a new school, you grew inches and pounds; your vocabulary continued to explode, your grammar improve, the stories have continued to grow in length and detail. You moved up not just one but two classes at school!

Your love of life can’t be ignored and is almost impossible not to catch. The world has continued to fascinate you. From the day you were born, your wide eyes would examine every little thing around you. Questioning, wondering, thinking. I always assumed it was this fascination with the world that led to your amazingly awful sleep habits that have continued almost to this day.

Your fascination amounts to lots of questions. Questions about what, how, why, come out of your mouth approximately every 2.3 seconds. When we don’t know the answer, you ask us why we don’t know the answer. “But, you’re my Mommy and you are supposed to know why [insert some totally random question about bats or helicopters or asparagus]!”

Because you want to know the answers right away, you haven’t yet showed much interest in reading or writing. That’s okay. I know that every child goes at their own pace, and I can’t deny that you are a smart boy. It frustrates you that you have to learn how to write one letter at a time! You want to just know them and write a book for everyone to read. Right now. No patiently learning over a period of days, weeks, months. You want the answers and you want them as soon as humanly possible.

Your growth this year has astounded me. You have grown up so much. I look at you and see a child. A smart, funny, impeccably clever, loving, little boy. A little boy. Not a baby. Not a toddler. Not a baby! You are so mature in comparison to last year, so grown up.

And with growing up has come so much love. You hug and kiss, cuddle and snuggle, and find so much comfort in us, your parents. You are definitely a Daddy’s boy these days, asking for extra kisses and snuggles from Daddy whenever possible. We love that you are so loving. So very, very, sweet.

We hope you will stay this sweet. This loving. I know that the next year will bring about more changes. You will grow in inches and pounds, becoming longer and leaner. You will learn to write letters, read, continue to learn hundreds of new words. You will continue to learn addition and subtraction, history, world events. You will be prepared for Kindergarten!

I can’t wait to see what this year brings, my big beautiful four year old Alex. You are such an amazing little man, and I can’t believe the amount of love I have for you.

Happy Birthday, my darling Alexander.

We love you.

Today More Than Yesterday and Less Than Tomorrow

Dear Alexander:

My little stinker. Stinker pot pie. Stinker the linker. Pooper. Schpooger. Booger. Booger the looger. Pinky. Boobers.

My little buddy.

Today you are three. Three! Can you believe it? It was three years ago that you were born, fighting to stay in the home you had known for the previous 9 months. You didn’t want to enter the world, but eventually you arrived, and boy was it beautiful.

The last 365 days have been quite an adventure. You went from staying home with me all day, every day, to going to daycare full time with me returning to school full time. You transitioned beautifully, and have grown even more beautifully.

You were talking at two, but now you won’t stop! There is a constant dialogue streaming from your lips, explaining every little thing that is happening. You not only talk, you ramble. You tell stories. Long stories. Almost every story ends with someone or something farting. Or pooping. This, of course, is hilarious to you, and pretty darn amusing to me. “Row Row Row Your BUTT!

This year, you have outgrown toddlerhood. You are officially a kid. Between the incessant chatter, including in depth conversations, the knowledge of letters and numbers, the ability to be taught, in an instant, the definition of a new word, the hopping, skipping and jumping, and the love of all things big boy, you are no longer a toddler. I look at you and see a child.

My child.

My Alex, you are my world. You make me happier than anything, and I hope that I can bring you even half of the joy in your life that you have brought to me.

In another year you will be starting school. Real school. You are ready in many ways now, but I know that the next year will prepare you for the beginning of approximately 18 years of schooling. You will grow more, learn more, mature more. And I will enjoy watching it all, because even the bad moments are only temporary. Every second of every day you are changing, and it amazes me.

This year has been a whirlwind, and I can’t wait to have the opportunity to spend more time with you in the upcoming years. I feel like I missed out on a lot, but as I look back at the year I know that I didn’t miss everything. We traveled to Florida together, and I came the realization that even though I may not be with you all the time any longer, something is going right because you were the most well behaved two year old imaginable.

You say please and thank you, and now excuse me. While you do not fully understand that “excuse me” is not an excuse to simply start talking or yelling or shaking or dancing in order to get someone to pay attention to you, you do know that there is some polite way to get their attention. We will work on that this year.

It isn’t something I am fully prepared for yet, but you are now lying. I know that it actually means you are learning, that you are comprehending the world in ways I didn’t think would happen quite yet. I heard you telling someone, “Mommy said when I woked up I could have fruit snacks for bweakfast.”

I certainly did not. But it’s cute that you thought you could get away with it.

You are smart. You are focused. You are extremely empathetic. Your hugs and kisses are the best ever. I can’t wait to see what the next year brings.

I love you, pooker. Sweetie. Honey. Honey bunny. Darling. Dear. My baby.

I love you, Alexander. Today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow. And I wish you the happiest of happy birthdays on this day.


Sometimes People Surprise You

When I started a new school in eighth grade, there was this boy. He was a big ninth grader and the first time I saw him I told a new friend, “He’s so cute!” And he was. Super cute. But I was a lowly eighth grader, and then I was a lowly ninth grader to his tenth grade and a tenth grader to his eleventh.

But then one of my friends became his friend. And by eleventh grade I had talked to him. We said, “Hi!” in the hallway when we passed and even had conversations about a shared class. He was still super cute.

Our mutual friend told me that the cute boy had said that he thought I was cute. I probably shrieked with delight, the way teenage girls are wont to do, and immediately brushed it off.

At a Halloween party my junior year, the super cute boy was in attendance. We chatted, we flirted, and his cuteness grew exponentially as I learned that he was also smart, funny, and really nice.

We started dating, and I was completely taken by him. His charm, his intelligence, his conversation skills, everything about him. That boy that I had had a crush on for over three years? Liked me too. We spent an increasing amount of time together over the course of my junior year, but then he graduated and went to college in Maryland.

I spent my senior year missing him. There were other boys, but none of them were that super cute boy that I liked from the moment I first glanced his way.

The summer after his first year of college we were attached at the hip. I had a waitressing job not far from where he was living and we were able to get together almost every day that summer. When I left for college at the end of the summer I sobbed. I cried for the first hour of the twelve-hour car ride up to Smith. He was not going back to the college he had attended the previous year, and knowing that he was in Pittsburgh made it that much harder for me to leave.

We managed to stay close over the next three years while I was attending college in Massachusetts and he was either working or attending Carnegie Mellon. That cute boy that I crushed on for so long had become my long term boyfriend. We talked on the phone every day, sent e-mails almost as often, and made sure to spend a lot of time together on breaks. He was able to come visit me a few times and I was able to come home for longer breaks every once in a while.

That cute boy who had become my long term boyfriend then became a father unexpectedly.

If someone had asked me if Zach would make a good father I would have responded, “Yes! Of course!” And I would have meant it. But I never could have foreseen what I now know: he is an astounding father. And he has remained super cute, funny, smart, nice and caring.

If someone would have told me that the cute boy I saw walking down the hall when I started at my new school in eighth grade would one day be the father of my child and the love of my life? I would have laughed in their face. But that cute boy has become exactly that and then some.

Happy Birthday, Zach. I love you more than words can express.

Daddy and Baby (cropped)