I never know what I plan to say when I sit down to write your birthday letter. Today is no exception. I did read through the last three letters and noticed a theme - where has the time gone? I wish I had an answer. I am grateful, however, that I have done my best to savor our time together. Going to the museum to run from exhibit to exhibit. Going to the library to sit in the cafe and dine on a cookie and juice. Taking daily walks to the park to see if we can spot the elusive ice cream truck. Running through the hopscotch sprinkler to stay cool on hot summer afternoons. The thing is that we rarely do anything "big," but it's those everyday activities with you that I love so much.
You have been a constant source of joy and laughter...even on some of my darkest days. One look at your sweet face and I forget the stress and anxiety that coursed through my body. When I feel like a bad mom for not making you a better dinner, you turn to me and say, "Mama...you make the good tacos!" It is then that all is right with the world. You have taught me that sometimes good enough is just fine because it's the giggles, the snuggles, the wiping of tears, the rubbing of your back, the whispers late at night that everything will be OK...that is what matters most.
You have made so many leaps and bounds this past year. You had to make the transition to a new day care with all new kids. It turned out I was the one who had a harder time with that, while you settled in and made new friends. This year also marked the onset of your sense of humor, including your new catch phrase: "I'm just teasing you." You love to tell jokes, though they could use a little work:
Griffin loves peanut butter!!!
You have taken after Baba and love to write your own songs - nonsensical and silly, they always make you laugh.
You are an adventurous soul with very little fear. You wandered away from me and got lost in Target. When the security guard found you and asked what you were doing, you simply replied, "I was looking for a watermelon," as if it were the craziest question you had ever been asked. Isn't that what everyone does at Target? Your adventurous spirit has gotten you into trouble as well as some injuries. Trying to prove that you really could fly, you leaped from our bed to a small pile of laundry below the window. You made it, but not before you smashed into the wall, blood flowing from your lip and tears streaming from your eyes.
You are willful and independent and stubborn. You will slap my hand away when I offer help because you want to do things all by yourself. You have run errands with me with your shoes on the wrong feet and your shirt on backwards because you needed to dress yourself. As much as I want to "fix" things, I don't because I know how important it is to you.
You are a sympathetic and empathetic little boy. I hope that never changes. Weeks after I sprained my ankle, you would ask me how it was feeling. You ask me if my ear is all better...and sometimes you ask to see it and then say, "It's so much better Mama!" You have so many feelings and love to tell me about them - usually referring to yourself in the third person: "Griffin is very angry" or "Griffin is sad" and my all-time favorite, "Griffin misses the ice cream truck (even when you're holding your beloved Tweety Bird ice cream and the ice cream truck's brake lights are still visible from our driveway). I am glad you can tell me those things, though. It makes life a little easier.
From the day you were born you have done everything 100 percent. When you cry, you sob. When you laugh, the noise could shake the walls. It's all or nothing with you. I think that will serve you well in life.
I'm writing this in bed and you are sound asleep down the hall in your room, tucked into your race car bed surrounded by stuffed animals and your Transformers (so symbolic of the tough and sweet sides of your personality). Four years ago at this moment, Daddy and I were in the hospital, still in shock that you were about to make your appearance into this world a full two weeks early. 7:04 AM. My life would never be the same.
I mean it when I say "you are my most favorite person in the whole wide world." You are silly and sweet and funny and frustrating, and I wouldn't change a thing.
Of all the things in life count on one
I'll always be behind you son.
He said life is a battle and it ain't even fair
but if you stay up in your saddle,
you're already halfway there
He said stand your ground and don't back down
that's the only way to win.
When life throws a punch son,
you've got it take it on the chin.
~William Elliot Whitmore
I love you, Griffin. I always will.