Dear O, 4 years old

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Four somehow snuck up on us. It's unbelievable, really.

4-Years-Old

You're so grown-up now. Jumping high. Standing tall. Running fast. Being so perfectly, astoundingly, radiantly YOU.

My solitary child. You love to play with dolls and read books all on your own. Of course, you also adore your sisters and cousins and grandparents. There's no doubt about that. But you appreciate one-on-one time. You crave attention and touch. You're still my most ready snuggler. At storytime, you like to be on my lap every time.

You are an artistic person. People have actually stopped me at random public places to comment on how detailed your artwork is, how precisely you color between the lines. For the whole of three, you haven't dared scribble wildly. With great care and exactitude, you create scenes from your imagination. When someone asks your favorite color, your most common response is, "all the colors of the rainbow."

Part fairy, you dance aerily through the world on tip-toe, chirping out songs you make about about waterfalls and princesses.

And, oh, your impeccable manners. You'll stand there with your hands together and say "puh-lease may I...?" with a little curtsy. Yes, a curtsy. Someone remind me to capture that on-video.

Not surprisingly, you like everything fancy. Glittery rocks (you're my rock collector). Sparkly shoes. Dresses with full petticoats. You are also ALWAYS ready to pose for photos. "Take me a picture" is an oft-spoken command - one that I do willingly.

Although I wouldn't call you a picky eater, you don't eat much. It's the way you've always been. Watermelon is probably your most favorite food of ALL, followed by plain noodles and parmesan cheese.

On Christmas Day, you were concentrating on making a sidewalk chalk masterpiece out in the Arizona sunshine. Your uncle said admiringly, "Are you going to be an artist when you grow up?" Head bowed, blonde wisps falling in your face, your answer was matter-of-fact and immediate, "Yes. AND a librarian and a gardener."

One night not so very long ago, your inquired very seriously, "How will I make money when I grow up?" "Well," I answered, "You'll have to get a job...like you could work as a doctor, a teacher, a scientist." You interrupted, "I want to be a writer like you and we will be 'writer friends.'" Indeed.

This year, we were all sick on your birthday. You had a fever and I whispered in your ear all of the things I adore about you, while stroking your sweaty blonde tendrils. Tomorrow we'll go out and let you pick out a brand new dress. I suspect it will be fancy. You will look dazzling. But it won't be the dress at all. It will be 100% you, shining brightly...as you always do.

Love you all the way to the moon (and even more than that).

©2020 Stephanie Sheaffer - All Rights Reserved
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