I will start out this letter the way I always have, and always will, by telling you just how much I love you. Lily might get all the credit for making me a mommy but it is you, my darling, who will always get credit for showing me just how much more love my heart is capable of. From the moment you were born I have had to work hard to figure out how to give you what you need, but every single second of that work is worth it to me. Getting to know you, supporting and nurturing you, is one of my life's greatest joys.
My sweet boy, this has been a BIG year. This has been the year that you have gone from being my baby to my middle child. Your reaction to meeting your new tiny brother will stay in my heart forever. For you, it was love at first sight. I will never forget the way you looked in pure amazement at your tiny new brother. Despite the fact that we were all a little worried that you would be less than thrilled by having a baby join our family, you blew our minds with that big heart of yours. From the very first time you held Hugh (you were the first person other than Daddy and I to do so) you were so gentle and adoring. That adoration quickly turned to pride and you made sure to tell all of the nurses in the hospital that he was YOUR baby. Over the past year I have seen you struggle with jealous feelings from time to time, but way more often than not you are so incredibly generous and sweet with your brother. I don't want to rush things, believe me, but I also cannot wait to see what kind of trouble you two will stir up together!
Speaking of your siblings, there is another relationship that bears mentioning. Dude, you are such a little brother! Lily is so amazingly lucky that 90% of the time you are more than willing to let her boss you around. She is pretty fair, for a five year old, but that does not mean she doesn't take advantage of the fact that you are still a little smaller, a little slower, and a little less clever than she is. For the most part Daddy and I do not intervene, and the two of you do a great job sorting out your minor squabbles. You adore her, you miss her when she is at school, and even if it means giving in to her bossy ways you would rather play with her than without any day. She is your best friend and you are hers.
There are going to be a million times in your life when someone will refer to your "middle child status". I am certain that I could write a whole book about it myself. While some of the things said about those characteristically middle children are true for you (you hate to be alone, you pick up naughty habits from Lily and will pass them along to Hugh, and I never did blog about your first birthday party) there are plenty of things I can say about you that have nothing to do with your birth order. For example, you are generous to a fault, always have been. You will give away the last cracker in your cup without batting an eyelash. I have noticed lately that you often expect the same level of generosity in return but it is so hard to say no to you when you are being so sweet!
Unfortunately, you do have a few traits that are less than pleasant. You have a temper, and like me and your sister you yell when you get angry or frustrated. You are quick to get over things but your total lack of patience (combined with that temper) results in no less than 20 full blown tantrums a day. This past year you have logged more time in timeout than I care to admit to! While I have never had to drag you out of a store kicking and screaming I have turned my back to you while you flailed around on the ground in public (the National Zoo springs to mind) on more than one occasion. One of these days you will figure out that you NEVER get your way when you act like that...right!?! We affectionately call it Jekyll and Hyde of course because we never know which little boy we are going to get any given minute. Patience, this year we will work on patience.
When you are happy, my God are you a charmer. You have a way of reading people and your comedic timing is impeccable for a three year old! Of course the funniest word in the world is "butt"...such a little boy you are! The moment that you realize that you can get your way with a joke and a well timed smile is the moment the rest of us are all in some serious trouble. Your eyes are just beautiful and your eyelashes are to die for. The girls had better watch out if you ever figure out how to wink and smile at the same time! Your hair is the color of sun-kissed straw and your skin is soft and flawless. I am a little sorry to report that chances are you are not going to inherit your Daddy's height but if you ask him, Daddy will say that's ok...it's hard to find clothes that fit when you are 6'4" anyway.
This past year your speech has exploded, just like the pediatrician predicted it would, and it is hard to remember a time when their wasn't an endless string of sentences pouring out of your mouth all day long. Your motor skills have also improved and you can hit a ball off the the tee, pedal a trike, and kick a soccer ball with the best of them. For Christmas Santa brought you and Lily a motorized dune buggy for the yard. Kid, you drive that thing with such precision and ease! I'm pretty sure you are a better driver than most 15 year olds with a learners permit. You are obsessed with trucks and trains and your all time favorite activity is constructing elaborate railways in the playroom that would put some civil engineers to shame. You still have a love of books and an endless attention span for being read to. "Dragons Love Tacos" and "Little Blue Truck" are two of your current favorites.
I've always said it, with nothing but love, but when I survive your baby and toddler years it will have been the greatest accomplishment of my life. You challenge me every single day to be the best mother I can be. You also reward me every single day with a love so great that sometimes I feel like my heart can't possible keep it all in. Today when you threw your arms around my neck and said, "I love you, best Mommy" I know that you meant every word.
To the moon buddy, to the moon.