This is 3. And 33.

Happy third birthday, my sweet + wild girl.

How are you THREE? How did I live without you for almost 31 years? I’ll be 34 soon enough. [Okay, so I will apologize in advance for the tears this post will bring me—and maybe you too one day.]

You are literally the best part of me—or rather you make me the best me I am capable of being. You made me a mother, but you also made me so much more than that.

I’ve watched you be enamored by your little brother—this tiny, very dependent being that came into your life and took away your time with me, your hour-long nightly story book routine, shared your space, your toys, and my lap—and yet, you just love him—you couldn’t love him more. You are kind, gentle, loving, and oh-so gracious. You welcomed him with open arms.

I watch you and I am so proud. You make me SO damn proud, each and every day, and even more proud to be your mother—your guiding light, sturdy shelter, lead car singer, and well, disciplinarian (which let’s be honest, is often needed since you’re also my stubborn, full-of-life-and-mischievous adventure girl–and keeping you from harm’s way has basically been my daily battle for the past 2 1/2 years). Your spirit, your smile, you giggles & shrieks bring me so much joy.

Thank you for being my teammate and sidekick this past year—thank you for loving me and Teddy, who was still warm inside my belly. Thank you for giving me so many reasons to smile through my tears—so many reasons to power through, find my inner voice & strength, and giving me the greatest reason to follow my heart and walk away– to finally go find some peace in this short life. Thank you for giving me back my grace, my humility, my humanity, and childhood sense of wonder—the purest, most authentic pieces of me.

I watch you go out into the world and be exactly who you are with absolutely no shame, fear, or care in the world– and it reminds me that although I’m 30 years older, I can too. I can be that brave too.

I’ve been so lucky in this life to see and do some pretty cool things in my tiny little corner of the world—but you—you will always be the best—the hardest—the most worthwhile, beautiful thing I’ve ever done and what I’ll forever be most proud of. You my dear girl, are my beating heart and free spirit living outside of my body. I cry with you, laugh with you, kitchen dance with you—and let you feel out all those very real toddler-emotions—most the time with you screaming on the floor while I hide in the bathroom. Kidding aside–I’ve made it such a priority, especially this past year, to let you know it’s OK: it’s OK to feel a spectrum of emotions, it’s OK to cry, to feel, to be human. It’s OK. It’s not only OK–you actually need to feel through these things. So cry, scream, laugh, sigh, frown, grin, climb, pout, smile, wonder, explore. Feel it all. Do it all. Be it all. Only then will you know what nourishes your own heart and what it beats for. And I’ll be right here. I’ll always be right here. Every step, every fall, every triumph. They’ll be mine too.

I love that you are both wild + spirited, smart + kind—your heart is so much like mine and that scares me a bit. Knowing that your sensitivity, your kindness, your light will inevitably come with a disproportionate share of pain and vulnerability. I know your path won’t always be easy for you, it hasn’t been for me—I know you’ll too want to solve all the world’s problems, heal all the wounds, hold all the hands (and paws) of those who need an empathetic heart. Part of me is so proud that you are this person and part of me fears the day you feel sadness as deeply as you feel your happiness.

Similarly, I know you will also be my greatest challenge, the hardest equation I will never solve. You will out-smart me, no doubt. Hell, you already do. And I know one day your bright blue eyes will attract the wrong attention and those fake tears you cry now will someday be real and beyond sorrowful. Sorrowful for you & gut-wrenching for me. I wish I could stop it, but please embrace it—embrace the good, the bad, your dark, your light, and every moment in your life that leads to you where you’re meant to go. Trust your gut. Follow your dreams, your heart, your soul, the universe, wherever they may lead you. You’ll learn everything you need to know from the accumulation of all of your experiences. Trust they know the way.

You’ll grow a little bit older, wiser, stronger each year—and each year I will still (and forever) look at you like I did this day three years ago–with sheer and utter amazement. You will never stop being my baby, my baby girl. The words: “it’s a GIRL” will always bring me back to the one of the two greatest moments of my life. You two will never not be the most precious part of my life.

Happy Birthday dear girl—I wish that I, along with all the Paw Patrols could wrap you in the biggest hug this side of the universe. You deserve all the furry hugs and Adventure Baying life can give you—but I’ll settle for you smiling and feeling so special today and hopefully finding happiness in whatever corner of the world that seeks you out one day.

I love you TTHISS much!

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