Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dear Matthew,

I just can't wrap my mind around the warp speed that you're growing up. It's simply impossible that three whole years have passed since that moment I first laid my eyes on you. You are wrapped around my soul and every inch of your warm, sweet smile tells my heart a secret story. I can't believe how far behind you've left the baby version of yourself. The only thing that remains are your chipmunk chubby cheeks that implore me, multiple times a day, to plant loud smooches on them.

You know that with turning three comes a whole plethora of life experiences that you simply can't wait to get your hands on. You can take swimming lessons, you can play sports, you can go to preschool in September. And you can't wait. You've been a baby long enough. You're ready to get your big boy on. This birthday thing has been pretty great, in your humble opinion. First, we celebrated in San Diego with Grandma, Grandma, Uncle Jon and Aunt Heather. Then we celebrated here with Grandma DeDe and Grandpa Gary. Last Saturday we played with friends at an Arctic Circle Birthday Bash and we still have our own little family party to throw. It's like the birthday that just keeps on giving.

You are still my little Jekyll and Hyde boy with your extreme mood swings but I think we're turning over a new leaf. We're starting to see more good moments than challenging ones. This comes as a great relief to your daddy and me because when you're mad you are hopping mad. You've always had incredible pipes and you're not afraid to use them. Sometimes, when you're not getting your way, you sound like wild animals are ripping you apart limb by limb. The fact that you're smiling more and screaming less is nothing short of bliss for those of us who've experienced partial hearing loss as a result of your tantrums.

When you're busy being Jekyll, you are the sweetest guy. Just last night you announced, unprompted, "Thank you for my dinner. I loved it. So good." That, son, is music to a girl's ears, even when she's your mommy. The fact that it was fish is icing on the cake. You love to give kisses and will often wander up, gently place your lips on cheek and make a smacking noise. Sometimes this is followed by, "Mommy's my best friend." Of course, typically, that particular sentence is more like, "Where's Benji? I play with Benji? Benji's my best friend." Since Benji's not quite four I suppose it's a perfectly acceptable arrangement.

I'd be okay, however, if your response to the marriage question was me. But you've never wanted to marry me. Only Lucy. "I'm gonna marry Woocy," you announce. "I wuv Woocy." And, kid, you've got good taste. Woocy is one of the cutest little girls I've seen in my whole entire life. But she's a spitfire. A tornado. So good luck. Her mother and I have decided that we're all for it. We can't think of anyone deserving anyone more than the two of you deserve each other. But we're not volunteering to babysit your children. Those kids are going to be crazy. They may just spontaneously combust upon arrival. But, oh, would they ever be pretty.

Your current favorite things include (but are certainly not limited to): condiments, monkey, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, swords, sugar, daddy, popcorn, Benji, snuggling, books, french fries, movies, music, talking to Grandma on the phone, sports, and on and on and on.

My favorite thing to do is pretend to bite pieces of you. "Num, num, num," I say as I pretend to munch an ear.

"Give it back!" you giggle. I pop my cheek out using my tongue and pretend it's your ear. You shove my tongue with your chubby hand and I pop out the other cheek. This used to crack your brother up and I believe that he bought it hook, line and sinker. "Stop doing that with your tongue. Give me my ear," you laugh. Too smart for your own good.

I can't imagine my life without your sweet voice, your infectious giggle, and your brilliant grin. I simply don't know what I would do if I didn't have you. I thank God for your mother, who gave you life and chose us to be your family. And I thank Him for allowing me the privilege of your presence. Happy Birthday, Buddy.


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