Oh, sweet boy, if age three was a nightmare (it wasn’t that bad but it wasn’t our greatest year, that’s for sure), then age four has been a dream. You are a dream, William. Truly and honestly. A dream I never even had that came true. And today, you are five.
A couple of months ago, while I was at work, I heard my phone vibrate in my desk. It was your Abuela, letting me know how your morning was going. She wrote, “He is full of joy.” So simple. But so true. You are full of joy, my sweet William. So many things make you smile, so many things make you laugh, and I’m better and happier for having you and your smiles and laughs in my life.
As a four-year-old, you achieved some great things!
You went to preschool with Ms. Galva for the second year in a row, made a little friend named Kamron, and started taking turns playing with him on the slides.
You learned to write your name! I love seeing projects come home from school with your little scribbled letters on them. Sometimes, you try to act like you can’t write the letter “a” without someone helping you, but Galva and I both know you are very capable!
You picked out your own Halloween costume and your own birthday cake for the first time as a four-year-old—”Dracula bleh bleh bleh” for Halloween, and a Finding Nemo cake, of course! You fell in love with “Meemo!”
You earned all S grades on your report card for the FIRST time third quarter!
You learned to float and to swim! You are wearing goggles and holding your breath, floating and turning around to reach the wall. You swam across the pool underwater by yourself last month, stopped, and flipped onto your back to float and breathe. Ms. Erin at Seal Swim School is SO proud of you and so are Mommy and Daddy. You have always been a water child, so it’s a relief for us to know that you will learn how to safely navigate the water, and that you will learn to have fun in the water! In the last year with our change in venues and trainers, you’ve progressed TWO levels!
You sing. This is nothing new as you’ve always loved music, but you have learned so many new songs as a four-year-old. You’re a big Justin Bieber fan, and you and Daddy like to sing “Sorry” and “Love Yourself” together. You also get really excited when Alessia Cara’s “Here” comes on the radio. Only you call it “I’m sorry if I” when you ask for it You sing your fair share of preschool and Disney Junior songs, and you always choose which number you want when I play your Doc McStuffins soundtrack.
You spell words, William. All day long. I can’t even count each day how many times you walk around reciting “T-R-A-C-T-O-R, tractor.” You memorize letters and and phrases and lyrics like nobody I’ve ever known. You use the First Words Professional app on your iPad almost every day, placing letters into words like puzzles. You start with one section—like numbers or transportation or colors—and then when you’ve mastered one, you move onto a new one. Your brain is always working, moving, taking things in.
The only verb you used last year was “want.” “I want candy.” “I want pizza.” “I want [out]side.” Now, you’ve added more verbs to your repertoire! You can say “eat,” “drink,” “watch,” “listen,” and “go.” It’s the sweetest when you grab my hand and say, “I want listen a music” and bring me over to your keyboard.
You made great strides in speech and I received my first video of your session this year, in which you answered all of the questions in your “About Me” book. I think my favorite was when you said, “I feel happy.” Ms. Vicky told me that you don’t always choose happy, sometimes you’ll choose tired, but most days, you’re happy. Ms. Vicky is your buddy. She knows and loves you and believes in you, and after maternity leave, she came back and you were SO happy to see her again—she’s one of the only people other than Mommy and Daddy that you ask for by name.
You are going into kindergarten in the fall. Kindergarten. At a new school. With new teachers. And new lessons. And new friends… Mommy and Daddy are a little bit nervous, but you did so well this year that we are hopeful that you are going to soar in kindergarten.
You love Pete the Cat! You can recite Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes word for word, including singing the song. I think my favorite is the imitation of the guitar music you do, or at the end when you say, “It’s all goooood.”
You are obsessed with Jeeps. You pull Mommy and Daddy’s arms in every single parking lot, searching for Jeeps to touch. I’m so grateful for this new focus, because Daddy bought you some toy jeeps to play with and you’re learning to play with them so appropriately and entertain yourself, driving them up and down the walls, the floors, the dining room chairs. You are so much fun to watch!
I’ve always felt lucky that you are mine. But this year in particular, I realized how truly moldable, adaptable, and patient you are. When we drove to Miami, when we visited Busch Gardens, when we were bumped and moved and had to stand in long lines in the sun at the Strawberry Festival, when dinners are late and when Mommy goes to the gym and when Daddy has to work and when there is school and when there’s no school, you are always the same. You are happy and you are peaceful and you are so easily contented, no matter where we are. You don’t get overwhelmed in crowds—and if you do, you stick your fingers in your ears to let us know—you don’t fuss at restaurants—unless you factor in that you choose to always STAND in the booth and look at the patrons behind us or hide underneath the table with your head on the chair like a pillow. And in those small, few and far between moments when you do get stressed or when you’re not yourself, we’re there to work through it with you, and you make it so easy. A dark, quiet room at the Marlins Park. A quick listen to Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” on Mommy’s phone. A stop at the park to suh-lide!
You are easy, William. You are the easiest person to love. The easiest person to please. The easiest person to be around.
Sometimes, you can be demanding. And I love it. Like when you look me in the eye before dinner is ready and say, “I want to eat a candy” and you pull me to the refrigerator because the answer is never “no” when you use your words. Or when you hand me the remote and say “Paw troll” or “Nemo.” Or when you sit in the backseat of the car and tell me to put my visor down “close it, close it”—why does that bother you so much? Don’t you realize the sun is in Mommy’s eyes?—or when you request 4, 13, 19, 20, then 19 again, and again, and again on your Doc McStuffins soundtrack in the cd player.
You are no shirt, no pants, no shoes, up to your waist in the Gulf of Mexico peaceful. You are bending over with your head in between your legs and your arms stretched out or rolling napkins behind your knees odd. You are walking barefoot up the slides at the playground free.
And you are mine.
For Christmas, Santa left a brand new keyboard at Mommy’s friend’s house for you, and it’s one of your favorite gifts. You love to push the demo button and listen to the instrumental versions of songs like “It Had to Be You” and “Killin’ Me Softly.” One song in particular that plays on your keyboard is a song I loved as a child—“Everything I do” by Bryan Adams. It reminds me of riding in the backseat of your Gramps’ car listening to his radio. It reminds me of Robin Hood, of fairy tales and heroes and love stories.
When you first started enjoying this song, you would ask me to pick you up so we could dance together, and I would sing to you. Now, you like to stand by the keyboard to make sure it goes to the next song. But I’ll never forget those moments when you would hear the first few notes and come running into the other room, take my hand, and say, “Pick up.”
So this year, “Everything I Do” is our song, William. My birthday song to you.
Look into my eyes, you will see
What you mean to me
Search your heart, search your soul
And when you find me there
You’ll search no more
Don’t tell me, it’s not worth tryin’ for
You can’t tell me, it’s not worth dyin’ for
You know it’s true
Everything I do, I do it for you
Look into your heart, you will find
There’s nothin’ there to hide
Take me as I am, take my life
I would give it all, I would sacrifice
Don’t tell me it’s not worth fightin’ for
I can’t help it, there’s nothin’ I want more
You know it’s true
Everything I do, I do it for you
There’s no love, like your love
And no other could give more love
There’s nowhere, unless you’re there
All the time, all the way
You know it’s true
Everything I do…
I do it for you.
Your Daddy and I do everything with you in mind. This year, Mommy took a new job helping teachers who work with students who struggle emotionally and behaviorally because they’re different. Some of those boys and girls are like you. Some days, Mommy and Daddy feel guilty. We wonder if our work in schools is making a difference. We worry that we should we more focused on you and less focused on other children. We question are we living in the right place, are we doing the right thing. And at the end of every day, you show us such love and devotion and let us know it’s okay. You’re teaching us, William. Every day. We would do anything for you, give you anything, help you with anything, provide you with anything. We hope that what we are doing every day in our jobs is for you. That we are helping to create a world that embraces your peaceful, odd, and free spirit.
We love you more than you’ll ever know, baby boy. We are rooting for you. We believe in you. And no matter what everyone else is doing, follow Pete’s lead: just keep walking along and singing your song. Because it’s all good.
Now let’s go meet Jake, Sofia, Handy Manny, and Doc McStuffins, and live it up. Because you’re FIVE!
Happy happy birthday!
Hi Baby (Mommy)