Hey Lu! You turned four years old at 3:34 this morning. You were sleeping at the time, thank goodness, because you were suffering from a giant Grandparent Hangover after a very long and very wonderful Labor Day weekend. You woke up this morning at 7ish and hollered from the bottom of the stairs: "Mom, I'm FOUR!" It made me smile, and as you know I don't typically smile before I've had coffee. Good work. As I dismounted the stairs and congratulated you on 48 months of life, you told me you didn't really feel much bigger. I hope you're saying the same thing when you're 44.
Lucy, you are FUNNY. I wish I had tape-recorded our conversations in the grocery store today. You'd brought your own list, of course, which magically had lots of the same stuff that my list did, which is amazing considering the only letters you write really well now are O and L. And Y and C. I want you to know that our comedic dialogue regarding our competing grocery lists garnered LOTS of chuckles from passing shoppers and store employees. Lucy, lots of grownups don't laugh very often. You brought some joy to some people today.
Lu, this is the first birthday of yours that you've been truly aware of. You had a perma-grin on your face all day, and I was so proud and happy that we could make it a special day for you. I'm proud of the conversations you carried on with all your callers today: Grammy and Papa, the Bookses, and Ellen. You loved listening to Jamie's voice mail. You must have replayed over 100 times that e-card that Joel's Aunt Denise sent. I can't believe you figured out in, like, 10 seconds how to use the mouse pad on my computer. I seriously showed you once. (Tip to anyone wanting to delight a 4-year-old: send an e-card that they can click on for animation and music. Best Free Gift Ever.)
Lucy, I have so many dreams for you. I hope you stay kind and caring (it melts my heart when you bring Ed his magic blanket when he's sad). People notice kindness, and it is far too rare in our world. People notice when you're interested in them, too, and I know you'll learn different ways of asking about people besides "So, how was your day?" Which is actually not a bad start at all.
I hope you keep asking All Those Questions ("Mommy does Jesus love lions? Trees? Those wires running across the yard?"). As much as it infuriates me when you repeat my phrases back to me ("It's really not a good time for me." "I will do what you ask, as soon as I am able." "Mommy I'm just very frustrated with you right now."), I adore that you keep asking about the nuances of language and context. If you choose not to be any kind of performer (which will be a GIANT mistake, but who's asking me? I'm just the mother), you should know that your confidence, and your ability to talk to anyone about anything, will serve you well no matter where your life takes you. So will your creativity.
Lucy, I know we're going to butt heads for probably ever. We will be so lucky if we get to butt heads forever. Both your dad and I are stubborn... so you got a double-dose. Know that I think you and your brother are two of the most beautiful creatures on the planet. Know that I am hugely proud of the person you are becoming. When you do that Lion King show, complete with "welcome-to-the-show" curtain speech plus your very own singing, dancing, and stage-managing (whick mostly consists of you bossing Ed about where to carry Sad Puppy who's playing the part of Baby Simba), I just fall to pieces. I watch you lose yourself entirely in interpreting the music, and I admire your utter lack of fear or self-consciousness. I am amazed at the information you retain in that brain of yours -- trivia about the whereabouts of every single one of your toys, and the various dramatic plots you've got them involved in. I can always count on you to find things that go missing in the house -- well, except the keys that one time, and I kinda blame your dad for that.
Keep listening, Lucy, and keep learning. Watch closely to see how your words and actions affect people. Use your gifts for good, not for evil. Keep reminding me to be patient with you and Ed. And keep talking to me -- except not after 8:30 PM nor while I am cooking. I love you to pieces. Happy fourth birthday.