Dear Riley

Dear Riley,

On this 20th day of March, 2012, the first day of spring and your third birthday, I want to say thank you. 

When your older brother was born, he proved that motherhood was possible. After the obstacles I faced to hold his warm little body in my arms, his appearance felt nothing short of miraculous (as if birth is anything but miraculous).  When you were born, my firecracker, you proved that anything is possible.   Every day I’ve had the great fortune of being your Mama has shown me that love is limitless, motherhood is life’s greatest lesson, and family is everything.

You’ve made me capable of super human tasks, like breastfeeding with one arm and flipping grilled cheese sandwiches with the other.  You’ve rendered me speechless with your sweet gestures of love and friendship toward your big brother.  As my second child, you’ve given me the gift of confidence as a mother, and together with your brother, you’ve given me a greater sense of purpose – as a mother and writer.

Your older brother may do things first, but when it’s your turn, you’re fearless. You run toward adventure and leap into new experiences.  There’s fire in your eyes, and I can’t wait to see what you accomplish as you skip through your beautiful life. (Please don’t ever stop skipping!)  Eventually, my cuddle monkey, you’ll have your own firsts, and when you do, you’ll make me dizzy with pride (and anxiety) and leave me breathless in awe.

You, my little chatterbox, completed me.  Before your arrival, I didn’t yet know your bright blue eyes, infectious giggle, and wide toothy smile, but when I closed my eyes, I could feel the space where you belonged.  And now, here you are.  Thank you for calling me a cute little mommy yesterday morning and for saying, “I so don’t like this,” when I pulled your cold, wet body out of the bath last night.    Thank you for being you.  You bring endless joy and laughter to my life. 

Today, you’re three, but when you finally close your eyes at the end of the day, the expression on your sleeping face will be the same as when I held your warm little body in my arms for the first miraculous time.  

I love you all the way to Costco and back.  (For some reason, this is your favorite place on the planet.)

Happy Birthday.

Love,

Mommy

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