The Third Birthday

Dear Maddie,

So, it’s 8:25 p.m. on August 19, 2011, and I’m just sitting down to write your annual birthday letter.  I think it’s safe to say you’re making strides in the “maintenance” department…

In last year’s letter, I spent a lot of time bemoaning the fact that you were two and disbelieving this fact, and while I have the same feelings this year, we’re not going to dwell because, let’s face it, I’m probably going to feel like that every year.  When you turn, like, 25, I’ll probably still be standing there, shaking my head, saying, “I can’t believe she’s 25.”  Boring, I know.

A few minutes ago, I did the same thing I’ve been doing almost every night for the past three years:  I sang you some songs (“Old MacDonald” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, if you care; you chose a nose, a sleepy girl, and an uh-uh for the farm, by the way), I gave you a hug and kiss, and told you how much I love you.  You turned to me and said, “I don’t want anyone to sleep with me.  I’m a big girl, and no one is going to sleep with me.”  (Not that anyone is often sleeping with you, but you can’t say it’s due to lack of effort on your part.)  And I was one part proud that you knew you could do this on your own and one part sad that you recognized that you were, in fact, getting bigger.  Then, as soon as I closed the door, you yelled at me to “check for kitties,” at which point I knew you weren’t too much older.

This year is the first year you really “get” your birthday.  You’ve been excited about it for weeks–mostly the cake, it must be said–and I have to say, it’s been fun to be able to share this with you for the first time.  I mean, your dad and I, we’ve been excited about your birthdays from day 1, but to see how excited you’ve been about it this year has really been the best.  It’s made me realize that while babies and toddlers are wonderful and loads of fun in their own way, some things get better as you get older.  The older you get, the more you’ll be able to appreciate, and better still, you’ll remember bits and pieces.  It won’t be so much just living in the moment.

So, I don’t know that you’ll remember this birthday, but I’m betting you’ll remember the next one, and the one after that, and the one after that.  Just know that you had a great time, you loved your presents, you loved your cake, and you made everyone around you happy that they were able to share this with you.  Also, always remember, forever, how much your dad and I love you.  August 19 is one of the best days of our lives.

Love always,