Looking back over pictures of you, trying to find just the right ones for this letter, I realized something. You have lost the full, rosy cheeks of toddlerhood, you have lost that darling baby plumpness, you have grown taller and leaner. You have become full on boy. I'm sure that this change has been happening gradually, imperceptible day to day. But with the ability to focus on the subtle often lost with hectic schedules and the abundance of dirty dishes and laundry, it seems that it happened very suddenly.
I want to remember how much I adore this age. Yes, you still are perfecting the art of picky eating, adding ketchup, mushrooms, and pickles to your list of forbidden foods. Yes, you are still more likely than not to spill your drink at dinner. But those are minor, not even blips on the radar compared to how much fun you are.
I want to remember this boy that slept in a tent in his room for 3 months. And when you were not sleeping in it, you were filling it with all your stuffed animals, any extra blanket or pillow, and sheets of bubble wrap, flashlights, and large blocks of Styrofoam. You call it your workshop.
I want to remember how you really learned to read this year. For the last 18 months, you have been right on the cusp, recognizing words and getting through simple books. But this year, you can actually read.
I want to remember how "boy" you are. You are always trying to get your brother to smell your feet, or your armpit. You celebrate after each burp. Mud and sticks and rocks and bugs are all fair game. Legos occupy nearly every free moment you have.
I want to remember all the silly things you say. I'm frustrated with myself for not writing them down, thinking that they are so funny, of course I'll remember them, only to have them lost in the clutter of my mind.
-"What are Justin Beiber colors? Pink? Purple? Glitter?"
-"Oh, I'm such a loser!" "No, Monkey, you are not a loser." "Yes, I am. I've lost Dog and my yo-yo."
I want to remember how much you still like to snuggle.
"Mom, I'm a snuggler, aren't I?"
"Yes, you are."
"Do you like to snuggle with me?"
"Yes, I do."
"Do you want to snuggle right now?"
How could anyone say no to that? Combine that with you asking me to sing "You are My Sunshine" to you nearly every night, and this mommy heart just melts.
I want to remember that this was the year where you learned to ride a bike, found a love of the Green Bay Packers, became a big brother, and started insisting that you needed a puppy.
I mostly want to remember how much you make me happy. I need to remember to let you know all the time, even on the hard days, where refusing to eat mushrooms and spilled juice suddenly seem like big deals. Because you do. You and your big smile, you make me happy, every day.