Four years ago today, you made me a parent. You were born at 7:04 p.m. July 26, 2012, and it was the best and scariest day of my life. After four losses, I finally had a baby to love. I finally had the baby I had dreamed of my entire life. I finally had you.
On your fourth birthday this year, there are four things that I want you to know and understand about your life.
1. You can and should have more than one best friend in life.
Right now you are always very concerned with who is and who is not your best friend. Each time this comes up I try to tell you that you can have more than one best friend and I think this concept is finally settling into your sweet mind. Thing this is, I hope you have many best friends in your life. Don’t be concerned with limiting people who love and support you. I have many great friends. I don’t necessarily consider any of them “best” because they are all people who love and support me in many different ways. If variety is the spice of life, make sure you apply this concept to your friends.
2. Your hair is beautiful and I want you to always believe that.
Imagine my surprise when the child that made me a parent looked absolutely nothing like me. You and I could not be more different looking my blue-eye, blonde, curly-haired little girl. You have always told me that you want long hair like mine and after four years, your gorgeous hair is finally getting to the “long” point. Since your hair is curly, it takes about three times longer to get as “long” as the other little girls around you. Your hair is harder to brush than the hair of those other little girls too and it’s been a learning curve for me. It’s your least favorite part of bath time, but since you can’t brush it dry, frequent bathing and conditioning is necessary for us. Product is necessary for us too because I’m convinced that if I can show you how to take care of your gorgeous curls you won’t want to change them. Last year Dove rolled out a campaign called, “Love Your Curls”, because even though one in three women in the United States have wavy or curly hair, only 10% of those women feel proud of their hair. Even worse, the Dove study found that only four in 10 little girls with curly hair thought their hair was beautiful. I want you to be one of those four. I know at one point you will probably straighten your curls, but I hope you always come back to them and that I can show you that even though you love my straight, long hair, your’s is just as beautiful. I want you to always know this, always believe this and be confident in your beauty.
3. Never lose your ability to be delighted.
Sometimes you will see something or I will tell you something and you will be so impressed that you let out this big, breathy, “Wow.” The first time you did it I was so in love with the honest delight that I wished I could bottle that moment and keep it safe. I wished I could keep you safe from whatever it is in life that causes that delight over simple things to fade. My hope is that you never lose this ability. The sheer wonderment that comes with constant learning and discovery of your world is something that you can cultivate in life, as difficult as it can be. As your mother, I will try to help you hold onto this by always being there to show you wondrous things about the world. This universe is an astonishing place and we are lucky to be a part of it. Even on your saddest days and in humanities ugliest moments, find the delight in life. I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure the ability to do that is the key to happiness.
4. You and I will have our issues, but you will always be my favorite girl.
Gosh, you and I are so much alike. We may not look alike but you have completely inherited my personality – all the good and the bad. We are stubborn, we are kind, we are honest, we are particular, we are loving. We are so much alike that often, especially lately, I feel like we clash on a lot of things. You and I have days where we are very frustrated with one another and I expect this to continue at least through your teen years. But as your grow, I need you to know that no matter what you and I go through, you will always be my favorite girl. I dreamed of you my entire life and I love you more than words can express. You made me a parent. You made my life. Never forget that.
Happy Birthday, my love.