Today you Turn Four, and I am your Mother.

Dear Owen,

I have to be careful about how much of this I say to you now.  You too, are sensitive about leaving toddlerhood behind.  And while I have not figured out what I have done to make you long to stay little, I am now conscious of it, and I am certain it will help.

I suppose that it could be that sometimes when you are standing in front of me explaining the way that a volcano erupts, my eyes fill with tears.  Because like a movie, my mind quickly reverses through several chapters to see you, just learning to walk.  

When you ask me what the matter is, I hug you and say “it is just that I love you so much, Owen”.  And sensing that I need that moment, you hug me too.  Momentarily stopping your thoughts and explanation to indulge your mom.  Which of course, makes me cry harder.  

Or it may be that when you are waking up in the morning and you share your sweet and beautiful smile- while you snuggle right into me, you can sense my gratefulness for the tangible reminder of the first months of your life.  

And when you look up and say “I love you so much, my mommy”, I swear it is only your arms around my neck that are keeping me on the ground.

Or when you and I have a date, and you take my hand so casually while you tell me about butterflies and icicles , maybe it is out loud that I pray for this gesture to always come so freely.   

Even when you are grown up.

I suppose these unintentional betrayals of mine give you the idea that I want you to stay little forever. And of course, there is truth to that.  

Part of me would give almost anything to always be able to pick you up in my arms and comfort you when you are hurt- whether it is your finger or your feelings.  

To protect you and stop anyone who might intentionally hurt you.   

To keep your comfort and safety in my control, and never have to worry about other drivers or choices that might cause you real pain.

To remind you to slow down, because when you do, you will figure things out just fine.  

Sometimes I even let myself daydream that this is an option…

But more than all of those things, I want you to be happy.  I want you to be confident and well adjusted and able to help others.  I want you to be a good mate and friend and self assured and emotionally intelligent.  

I want you to always be able to step outside of yourself and the situation, to see if the things around you make sense.  Both for you, and those whom you surround yourself with.

And I know in order to do that I have to slowly let you grow up. 

And if I really mean that I want you to be all of those things, I have to go further.  I have to make sure that I encourage you, and give you the tools you need to become independent of me.  

So that you no longer need me.

Though I hope that you will always want me.

And maybe this contradiction is every mothers biggest challenge; wanting their child to become a successful human being, but also wanting to keep their baby.

So today, as you turn four years old, I offer you this unshakeable knowledge:   

I am your mother.  

This means that I will always be your biggest fan, and will always take your side.  Probably even if you are wrong.  

You will always have a home to come to, no matter what you have done wrong, or right.  Even if I disagree with it.

No matter how big you get, my arms will always be able to wrap you in them, and my shoulders will always be strong enough to bare your weight.

Nothing that you could ever do will change this, or cause me to do anything except love you as much as I do this very minute.

Happy Birthday to my most beautiful baby boy.  Your entrance into my life four years ago, brought an unimaginable brightness to my world.  

I will always thank God for that, and for you.