"Geronimo!" you screamed as you jumped off the bed. "I'm four today!"
You've been asking for days when your birthday will be...counting down the moments until we will sing to you, eat the perfect pink cake and unwrap pretty packages.
But before we launch into being four...we are mindful that this has been a big year for you...you began preschool and ballet, started going on your own friend play dates, met your favorite princesses at Disneyland and joined your big brother and big sister for a coveted "Dads and Kids" camping trip this summer.
You're writing your name, singing songs, telling jokes, playing board games, riding a bike, asking for braids in your hair and sleeping in a really big Big Girl bed without a pull-up on at night.
You're feisty and sassy and know exactly what you want all of the time...and it's usually to drink chocolate milk out of a "Frozen" cup or to glitter paint or both in the nude.
You're fearless and scrappy. There's no question that you can hold your own. And you're trying and exhausting and loving and beautiful and frustrating all in the same breath.
And as I watch you grow and enter into this new year, I feel happy and sad because you are my last child, really my not-so-little baby. There will be no more diapers, breast feeding, naps, Kindermusic groups or board books. Nope, you've traded all of that for playing with American girl dolls, dancing in a tutu, singing Spanish Christmas carols and learning to read Dr. Seuss.
I am grateful that I get to come along on your journey. I pray that this new year brings you more opportunities to try on empathy, compassion, grace and the special brand of unbridled craziness that is a blond haired, blue-eyed, fair skinned, big smiled little girl that we're blessed to call Claire Bear.
Happy Fourth Birthday, Claire! We love you to the moon and back!