Dear John

Four years! Four years, little man, since I first held you and marveled at the fact that you were indeed a boy. I’ve spent the day thinking about how I kept telling the docs I was in labor, I was contracting, and they didn’t believe me. Who can blame them? Every time I got in bed and they put the monitors on me, nothing showed up. Nothing. But when I was up and moving, it was showtime. You came into this world contrary, John Hart. I said, “Let’s do this.” And you said, “Uh, not so much.” The doctors thought I was insane. Thanks for that.

And here we are, four years later. We had your birthday party on Sunday with a menu of your choosing: grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup, animal crackers, yogurt, Trader Joe’s fruit roll ups, Bugs Bunny carrots, Oreo’s, and a camo colored tractor cake. You loved every minute of it, although you refused the tomato soup, insisting, “I don’t like tomato soup.”

Yesterday you helped strip wallpaper at Aunt Kerry and Uncle Bryan’s new house. I took you there thinking we’d be there for a half hour or so. But you grabbed a hunk of wallpaper and started ripping. Three hours later we left, and you actually helped the entire time! You pulled the paper off the wall, sprayed water on the wall and scraped the backing off the wall. You were so grown up.

John, I watch you, bouncing past me on your blue bouncy ball (omg, Aunt Kim? I’m sending it to your house. He’s bouncing on it inside your house. Fair is fair.) and my heart seriously aches. You still love to cuddle with me, all curled up in a ball, snuggled as close as you can possibly be. You put your impossibly cold feet on my thighs and curl your toes, just like you did when you were tiny. You suck on your fingers, making soft suckling noises that are reminiscent of when you nursed. When you sleep next to me, you insist that I face you and you keep your little hand on my cheek.

How can you be four? I’m not ready for my baby to be growing up. You’re my last, and I know I’m holding on to you more tightly than your sisters. I know. So forgive me if I hug a little longer, insist on more kisses, let you cuddle in the morning when we should be getting ready for the day.