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  • Kristen Kehoe

The Fourth Year

My darling Livvy Love,

I sat down to write you something clever, and ended up falling way short of that goal--this is something I think, perhaps, you will be used to by the time you are old enough to dig into the archives and read this yourself.

Rather than be clever, I'll be honest... which, we both know, is never as much fun. Though, at this moment, you are honest, Liv. So very honest. (Read between the lines, darling, it's terrifying at times;))

It makes me smile, this unfiltered clarity you speak at me with, like two nights ago when I was putting you to sleep and you said "pick your favorite story, Mommy, we'll read that one." I was so honored--me, pick the bedtime story? This was a gift from you and I wanted to take advantage.

"I am Small," I said.

Your eyes cut to mine. "Pick another."

It took everything in me not to smile at you. "I like Wherever You Are." Another displeasing answer.

With a heaved sigh, you turned and put your hands on both sides of my face. "The next time I ask you to pick your favorite, you're gonna say Ten Thank you Notes, okay?"

A little dictator, you are, my Livvy Love. It's all right, I go and laugh about it with Daddy later. We're happy to see our girl that's assertive... even if it's at my expense. Your favorite game at dinner right now is "tell me your favorite thing about me"--which means you ask Daddy and me what we love most about you after telling us that you love how funny you are (no joke--you say that almost every night). Your modesty isn't always engaged, I fear, darling girl, but your confidence is large, and so is your heart.

This is what I always tell you--your beautiful heart is my favorite thing about you.

I love the way you need a squeeze hug before bed, or the way you look at Daddy when he comes out of the bedroom dressed for work and say "you look handsome, Daddy." I love the way you place your hands over your heart and sigh out your thanks when someone gives you a gift, and how you ask me who's putting you to bed at night, responding with "That's my girl," even if it's Daddy's turn.

I love that you tell us your happy thoughts at dinner every night, and that you stay in bed until I read you a story in the morning. I love the way you scooch over to make room for me in your bed, patting the pillow so I can lie down while we read. I love the way you call Diego Handsome Man, and I love the way you gallop when you're supposed to be skipping. Mostly, I just love that you're mine, Livvy.

Every night this past month you have sung your prayer, something you learned at school, and on this eve of your 4th birthday, I want to sing it back to you.

"May there always be sunshine... may there always be blue skies... may there always be flowers... and may there always be me. May there always be sunshine... may there always be blue skies... may there always be laughter... and may there always be me."

May there always be you, my sweet four-year-old, with your sunshine hair and your sky-blue eyes.

Happy fourth birthday, Olivia Anne--you are my happy thought. Every. Single. Day.

Love, Mama

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