As I write this, your clammy body lies next to me in bed. Yes, you’re four and half and you’re still taking up an entire half of a king sized bed. One part me thinks you’ll never leave and I’ll forever have a set of sharp toenails scratching my stomach in the middle of the night. Another part me can’t imagine you leaving. I listen to the broken melody of your breaths and worry about the apnea you suffer from. Sometimes you won’t breathe for a few seconds, only to gasp for air as you change positions. I know you’re safe here. You can stay for now.
Over the last four years I’ve watched you turn from a helpless blob of need to an independent adventurer with a light saber attached to your belt loop. Your curiosity is boundless. Your temperament wavers. Your joy is infectious and your sadness is earth shattering. Each day you fill space with questions, laughter and occasional whining. Today, you taught me all about meoters and deep, underwater sea creatures. One moment I am pleading with Father Time to hurry his feeble ass up and the next, I am begging him to slow down so that I could be with you exactly how you are in that moment. Sometimes I do this creepy mom thing, where I ask you to repeat words that you say incorrectly. Not because I want to embarrass or correct you, but because I want to catalog those words into the most sacred parts of my memory. I want to preserve them for a day I feel sad or lonely and let them soften the pain that might creep in.
You are everything and nothing like I could have imagined. Skiing is your most recent achievement. You’re not in it for the hot cocoa; you’re after the turns. And maybe a little snow to munch on now and again. I’m learning that you enjoy excitement and risk sprinkled across your life evenly. You’re not one to over indulge in anything, but prefer balance. Now and again you’ll say “I do not want any sugar because I need some protein.” Whether you adopted a script from the people around you or your words are organic, you mean them.
I wanted to write you a letter because it’s important you have access to this part of your life, even if you don’t remember it. By the time you reach five years old, you’ll have travelled to Europe three times, hiked hundreds of miles (on our backs mostly), eaten copious amounts of seaweed and oatmeal, skied down an intermediate run, climbed to the top of the wall, lived in a school bus, driven thousands and thousands of miles and seen some of the most beautiful and wild bacountry in the Northwest. Your life is full, but don’t worry, we stop occasionally to rest.
I hope by the time you read this, you’ll have decided Candy Land is in fact the worst board game on the face of the planet. You’ll have realized it is actually a timeless vortex sucking the souls and eyeballs out of any human who comes in contact with it.