Happy 4th birthday!
This is the first birthday that you've eagerly anticipated in advance. For the past few months, you've been telling everyone who crosses your path that you're almost four. Now, the big day has finally arrived and when you woke up this morning, you ran into our bedroom yelling, "I'm four! I'm four! Yippee!"
Every year that goes by, I tell myself how much I love the age that you are. For the past year, I've been telling your mother how we should always have a three-year old in the house. It's such a fun age. However, the great thing about being your dad is that I have the feeling that I'll be saying this about you for as long as you live.
Peanut...Four is an amazingly fun age and when I look back at these times, here are just a few of the things I'll want to remember about you now:
- You're an incredibly affectionate child. Walking in the streets with you is like walking around with the Mayor. Every time we run into one of our neighbors, the UPS guy, the dry cleaner or one of your little friends, you howl with delight and immediately run to greet them with giant bear hugs and tender kisses on the cheek. You spread a lot of joy to a lot of people.
- You're still mostly in the "I'm only going to wear dresses" phase. However, you also love throwing on a pair of jeans, your Timberlands, and a leather jacket. Whenever you wear that outfit, you always turn to us and say, "Don't I look tough, guys?" You're like Construction Worker Barbie.
- You've certainly inherited my love of food. One of your favorite activities is cooking with daddy and, for a four-year-old, you're surprisingly good at it. Your favorite dish to cook together is homemade tortellini with butter, Parmesan, pancetta, and peas. Your favorite dish to eat at a restaurant is Unaju (Japanese eel over rice.) And your favorite drink is Mango Lassi from the local Indian restaurant. You really are a true New Yorker.
- We don't know where it comes from but you speak English with the cutest little Brooklyn accent. Sometimes, just for kicks, I'll say a sentence and have you repeat it. Suddenly, "put the water over there" becomes "put da watah ovah dere." I feel like I'm living with Joe Pesci.
- I love having conversations with you. The things that come out of your mouth are hysterical. Last week, you turned to me and said, "Hey, you want to see something really cool?" When I said, "Sure, dude," you rolled your eyes at me and replied, "Seriously? Don't call me dude, dude!"
- Speaking of conversation, you are firmly planted in that phase where you do not stop talking...EVER! It's hilarious putting you on the phone with one of your grandparents and watching you confuse the hell out of them with 45 minutes of non-stop non sequiturs. "I watched a movie today. Do you like porcupines? What are you eating for dinner? Julia is going to Chicago. What's your Halloween costume? I like yogurt."
- You've really matured this year as you've come to realize that life is not all about an endless supply of apple cider and Hello Kitty stickers. Aside from losing your grandfather and being a tormented Mets fan, you constantly have to hear your father answer all your questions with "because we're in a recession, that's why!"
But in all seriousness, Peanut, I can't even begin to express how much your mother and I both love you. You've brought so much joy and happiness to our lives that it's changed all of us in ways that we could never imagine. I wish I were a better writer so I could better convey all of this. But I'm not.
So today, on your 4th birthday, let me just humbly say thanks to you one more time.
Thanks for coming into our world and filling our lives with more meaning than we ever could have imagined. You've taught us that, at the end of the day, the only things that truly matter in life are love, family and a bowl of chocolate pudding.
Thanks for reminding me to live in the moment. You've taught me to not be so consumed by the past or the future and to enjoy every second in life to the fullest.
Thanks for letting me see the world again through your eyes. Watching your eyes widen as you discover or experience something for the first time reminds me of all the beauty in this world. Sometimes, I forget.
Thanks for reminding me how far a warm kiss and a big hug can go in cheering someone up.
Thanks for teaching me that, although there are many different kinds of love, there is no true love like the one a father has for his child.
Have a great birthday, Peanut. You really are a "big girl" now. Your mother and I continue to be amazed at the person you're becoming and can't wait to see how the rest of your story unfolds.
P.S. Though the Mets season ended early last week (once again,) you never gave up hope. Even in the face of defeat and exhausted by a long night that had you up way past your bedtime, you tried your best to rally the troops. As a group of forlorn fans sat miserably on the tracks waiting for the train, you sat there in your hot dog food coma and never gave up hope. That's one of the many reasons why I love you, kiddo.Don't worry. We'll get 'em next year.