Oh my child. A year ago I found myself in the position of writing your annual birthday letter and wondering where in the hell the time had gone. Now you’re turning four. And I feel the time is like sand running through my fingers, no matter how desperately I cling to it.

But instead of dreading the inevitability of you growing up, I am going to choose to be excited for what is to come. I want to embrace each day with you, marvel at everything you learn and do, and be grateful that I am your mother.

I’m excited to see you grow into your own. You are so special and so unique. And I want to cherish and nourish that uniqueness. Sure you have some stereotypical boy behaviors (like the universal obsession with trucks and poop that all boys seem born with) but you also love pink, dressing up, and singing. While we teach your little sister that girls can do anything, I don’t want you to forget that boys can do anything too.

A Letter to My Son on His Fourth Birthday: Embrace Each Day - Real Simple Mama

I’m excited to begin homeschooling you. It was so tragic to have to leave you at daycare from when you were three months until two years old, and through months of deliberation and research we’ve chosen to homeschool you indefinitely. You and I will begin homeschooled prekindergarten in the fall, and I think that the idea gives you and I peace. It’s a new journey for us both, even though I’m a certified teacher; however we are all confident that this is the right way to go.

I’m also excited to teach you to read. You’re so very close, you know your letters and your sounds in English and Spanish. We’ve started sight words, and you know to sound out each word, one letter at a time. And you want to read so badly! I can’t imagine how wonderful it will feel when the letters and words start to come together in your mind.

I am so excited to hear your stories. You’re such an imaginative child and you’ve really been pretending a lot more. I love that you narrate the goings-on in your world, even when pooping. You also tell stories as you play with Duplos and monster trucks. Never stop telling your fantastic stories.

I’m excited to see what interests you as you get older. We’ve done a round of soccer classes, and we planned to do a round of swim classes but you weren’t having it; we’ve also thought about robotics and coding, art, and baseball. I love opening the doors of the world to you, and I couldn’t even imagine which things will hook you as you grow. You are destined for amazing things; I just hope that you find true happiness within before you look for it elsewhere. You have so much to give the world, my sweet boy, and the world desperately needs you.

I’m excited to see you continue to be a role model for your sister. You call her Tiny, and she adores you. She looks for you as soon as she wakes up, and she follows you everywhere. You are the best big brother she could ever have: you are patient and gentle, kind and silly, helpful and protective. I know that you two will always be close, and I hope you will always teach her and protect her as you do now.

And finally, I’m excited to see you excited for life. I want you to wake up each morning refreshed and bright-eyed, ready to conquer the whole world and then do it again tomorrow. Embrace each day: swim in it, bask in it, don’t take it for granted. I know that I don’t, because I know that each day with you is the best day of my life.

Happy fourth birthday, my beautiful sweet boy. I love you more than the sun and the moon, more than the sea and the sky; more than all the plants, all the animals, all the people, and all the things on this Earth.

Love, Your #1 Fan, Mama

A Letter to My Son on His Fourth Birthday: Embrace Each Day - Real Simple Mama

I hope to continue to write for my children each year on their birthday. You can read about why I think it’s important for all parents to write to their kids here; additionally, you can see my son’s third birthday letter here, my daughter’s first birthday letter here, and even a letter to my mother on her birthday.