To the Birthday Girl

Dearest Hadley,

Happy 3rd birthday! I cannot believe how fast you are growing nor how quickly this year flew by, taking into account that your first year was the longest of my life. But I think I already said that in last year’s birthday letter. And I really am still recovering from it all.

But you have bloomed into a beautiful little girl so full of vigor, independence, fun and excitement. At times, you remind us so much of me until you throw one of your infamous “I can do it myself” tantrums and then it is confirmed.

Even when in the womb, we knew you were going to be feisty. Nine days before my due date, work-stressed Daddy promised you that if you were born the next day, he would buy you a car on your 16th birthday. I don’t know how you did it but you ensured my water broke at 7 a.m. the very next morning and made the deadline by your 11:05 p.m. birth. And if you had your way right now, that car would be pink because that “is the color of girls.”

But you’re not a girly-girl. Sure you love to play dress-up and think there must be something wrong with those friends who do not want to change their clothes 10 times a day. But you also love to get dirty and come back from our regular hikes even more sullied than those woosy boys. This is after you blew them away on the trail. You may get filthy but you’re fast. And you even throw in a few side bouldering expeditions just to rub their inadequacies in their faces–another trait you have obtained from your proud mama.

In addition to hiking, you recently took swimming lessons where you finally learned you were not going to die if you put your head under the water. At least not immediately. This summer, you will take gymnastics followed by dance in the fall, thereby proving that someone in this family besides your father actually has rhythm.

Even though you are dying to play soccer, we will wait to enroll you until next spring. Y’see, you have a little sharing problem and it’s not what one would think. Since baby Bode was born, we have constantly drilled you to share. Of course, you try to ignore our wise counsel most of the time because this is not a communist society. The only time when it becomes of the utmost importance is when we are teaching you to play soccer and you accusingly explode that we are not sharing. And your father and I just don’t think that would go over too well on the playing field.

Your biggest fan is Bode and you can make him laugh like no one else. He loves to come wake you up to snuggle and then play with your beloved Thomas the Trainset with you. And for the most part, you adore him back. Sure you occasionally push him over during his attempts to stand because “that is how he is going to learn.” And never mind those times you drag him away by the jugular after he tries to sneak up the stairs. You are, after all, saving his life.

You are surrounded by people who love you and if you had your way, you’d probably divide your time up between your grandparent’s houses. We live in a fantastic neighborhood and you are blessed to have many friends with whom you play everyday. Friends with toys. Lots of cool toys. You are learning at a very young age that sometimes superficiality can be beneficial, especially if it snags you a ride on your neighbor Gabe’s sweet Quad.

You will start preschool in the fall and though I admittedly look forward to a two-day reprieve from my little Hurricane, I am also cognizant how quiet and lonely our house will be. You fill it with such laughter, energy and love. And destruction. You are, after all, labeled as a natural disaster. In the nicest possible way, of course.

We will celebrate your birthday tomorrow at Casa Bonita, your favorite place on earth because of the sundry of activities and half-naked men cliff divers. Your birthday presents include your wooden playset and an Elmo bike.

Grandma and Grandpa B. generously pitched in for the swing and also sent you $6 whole dollar bills. You immediately announced you wanted to go to our favorite store on earth–Target. I wondered what you would spend it on: Cookies? Candy? A Garmin eTrex Vista Cx GPS?

But then you announced clothes. And it was confirmed that maybe you aren’t much like me.

And we thereby won’t need to send you to therapy after all.

Happy Birthday!


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