Dear Savanna, my monkey girl,
Tomorrow morning when you wake up, you will be four years old. You have been looking forward to being four for a long time.
In this past year, your vocabulary expanded. Your weight hasn’t changed much, but you grew taller. You have grown to love Brussels sprouts and broccoli. You also love a good rib eye steak grilled to medium rare. But you still would prefer to live off of apples, grapes, and mangoes, or icing on a cupcake.
You are starting to use your words more to express your sadness or frustration. I want you to know that I am so proud of you for expressing your thoughts and being vulnerable. I know it’s not easy.
This year is the first time you and I went traveling together. I don’t know about you, but Morocco was a life changing trip for me. I got to spend some quality time with just you. I got to know you better, and learn about how your thought process works. And the more I got to know you, the more I appreciate you. You are a tough little nut who can walk almost 10 kilometers a day without a peep, but you are also soft hearted on the inside to fuss over kitty cats. You can also be super hilarious. When you had a chance to pick just one toy at Disney World, you skipped over all the “normal” stuffed animals and picked a naked mole-rat as your purchase.
You started skiing this past winter between my legs. I was so worried about what you would think of that first ride down the hill. But as soon as we started going, you had a smile on your face. When we stopped, you kept saying, “I wanna do it again!” Eventually, as we skied, you would tell me, “Go faster, Mommy!”
When we were at Disney World, you bravely tried all the rides you could. We did a roller coaster, and even though you were unsure and a bit scared, you tried it. You also went on the splash ride and had fun getting splashed. You were so upset when I took Josh on a big roller coaster ride you weren’t tall enough for. Your courage inspires me. I want to be brave and trusting like you.
You still don’t enjoy swimming. I can see you in the water tensing up. But I appreciate that you keep trying, and keep at it even when it got hard. When I took you into the pool, you wouldn’t let go of your arms around my neck. Guess what, I don’t enjoy swimming either. It’s a good life skill to have, so we will just both keep trying, ok?
You would play with any toys you get your hands on, whether they are dolls, stuffed animals, dinosaurs, cars, Transformers, or even just some rocks at the beach. But without fail, you always turn them into a family depending on their size. The big ones are always mommy or daddy, there is always a smaller one that is the baby. It is so interesting to me that you always act out relationships and interactions.
I love it when you pucker up your little lips and demand kisses. I love it when you wrap your arms around my neck and put your head on my shoulder. I love it when you ask me to lay down with you at bedtime, and put your blanket over me to make sure I stayed. I love it when you ask to come to the office to work with me and promise you would be quiet all day. I know one day I’ll look back on this and wish this time lasted longer.
Today, just for one last day, you are three, or 3.99726 to be exact. For just one more day, you are my little baby.
I love you, Savanna. I wish you all the love and joy and adventures in the world.