Dear Buddy,

You turned four yesterday, and I cannot believe it.

Four is huge. Four is a big kid. If I had more confidence in the school system, you’d be starting kindergarten in the fall. That’s insane. Your big sister celebrated her fourth birthday while you were already here. (I think. I don’t really remember. Those are the dark times.)

I’m so proud of who you’ve become, Buddy. You are a kind, sweet, hilarious little guy. You love your sister and your cousins and me and Daddy with a sweetness and an intent that is yours alone. I am so blessed to be your mommy.

We had a rough start, you and me, Buddy. You were in trouble. I was in trouble. Neither of us were terribly happy to be where we were. But since the beginning, I have loved you so much I knew I would die for you. From the minute I sank to my knees when I saw the faintest blue line on the test I thought I was taking just to be crazy, I knew you were my little boy and Eva’s little brother and Daddy’s son and maybe even redemption for your grandparents.

And Buddy, you have been all of that, and more. Grandpa Joe wrote me a letter when you were brand new, and I still have it upstairs on the shelf in my bedroom. I read it when I want to remember where we were. I was struggling. A lot. He told me that he knew how much I loved you, but that I would end up enjoying you more than I ever thought possible.

He was totally right. When I get to see your smiling little overbite grin in the morning, and cuddle with you and have you try to sit on my head to get as close to me as possible because you love me, I enjoy you so much- so much more than I ever thought it was possible to enjoy another person. You and your sister are the biggest joys in my life and I can’t believe I am lucky enough to raise you.

I love you, Buddy. I can’t wait to spend this year with you watching you grow as a four-year-old.