To My Dear 4 Year Old Jedi Knight

To My Dear 4 Year Old Jedi Knight:

I can't believe you're four. You look at me like I have lobsters crawling out of my ears every time I say it, but I really can't believe it. It's amazing to me how fast you've grown. How many lessons you've learned. Your letters. Your manners. Your numbers. The elusive potty. Watching you make decisions and come to your own conclusions and doing your own work at school and cleaning up after yourself and becoming a leader. It's all just so, dumbfounding to me. I mean, YOU'RE FOUR!

I love that you've gotten through the no-cuddle phase and that you like to cuddle again and that your morning isn't complete without it.

And nothing makes my heart sing more than when you tell me you love me, completely unexpectedly and as if out of nowhere, or when you tell me you like me more than you like Daddy. 

You have so many cute quirks. You love to match your plate and your utensil and your cup. You love the color orange the best out of every color in the world. You love to rub soft things on your face. You love apples without the peels and you tried to make me peel grapes too but after failing miserably at peeling about 10 (which took me 20 minutes and there was no grape part left), I decided you were going to have to try the peels again and thankfully you decided you could live with that.

You have been introduced to the world of Star Wars and you are infatuated. To the same level as you were infatuated with being a firefighter. Which was huge. You used to wear a fire helmet everywhere you went, now you carry a light saber. I do wish your favorite character was Luke Skywalker (like Mommy's), but since I'm trying to let you be your own person and all, you've decided you love Darth Vader the best, which worried Mommy a little. But it always makes me happy when you talk about how he became good at the end. That gives Mommy hope.

You love your cookies and your candy and you say it real fast like this: "candycandycandycandycandycandycandycandy." Thank goodness Mommy knows when to stop because if you actually ate the amount of candy you wanted to, we'd all be in trouble.

You hate when things break or don't work. You are an intense little man but (when you're reminded) you have an amazing ability to be patient. You're creative and your imagination is astounding. And even today, you have the same personality as you did when you were just 5 pounds. You knew what you wanted and when, you were strong and full of life and zest.

This year, you learned how to fly a kite with Poppy. I've never been around a kite that was so high. Ever.

You play so hard. You love being clean. You would wear camouflage pants or shorts every single day if you could. It's your very favorite.

Mommy's still sort of new to this whole "boy" thing, what with Mommy being a girl and all. So you have to forgive me if I'm not as well-versed on the wrestling and the guns and the constant energy and dirt. I'm getting there, I promise. And I promise to help you be as "boy" as you want to be, without making you have to wear paisley if you don't want to.

You ask me amazing questions, so much deeper than I would ever think a 4 year old would ask. You're curious about our bodies, how our minds work, about space, about God, animals, nature and the world, and procreation, which scared the death out of Mommy because when I thought the topic was over, you kept asking deeper questions, and well, Mommy stammered and stuttered and Mommy might be paying for this one at a later date.

I still pray every day that I will know how to answer all your questions and have the courage to answer them honestly and fully (and at your age level), that I will teach you how to think for yourself, that you will foster this thirst for knowledge that you have, and be a loving, gentle, kind and giving person who will fight for your beliefs, know how much to sacrifice and at what expense, and live the heck out of every drop of life you're given, because it truly is a gift. I hope I will teach you that too. I pray that I can help you find that difficult balance between standing up for yourself and bully and when you go through those tough school years, I pray you'll be confident and armed with the mental toughness that allows you to walk away when you need to. But without being wimpy.

I pray that I can stand back just far enough to watch you become your own person, your own man, and (when you want me to) guide you through the tough decisions and the tough times of your life, and still be close enough to catch you or help pick you up. I pray that whatever the world shows you, you take it in and learn from it and grow from it and instead of bitterness and despair, you'll find forgiveness and love and hope.

But even if I fall short of any of the above, please know that I try so hard to do the right thing and to send you all of those messages and lead by example. Please know that I will always be proud of you and I will always love you, with everything in me. No matter what.
Happy birthday, my tiny Jedi.

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