To My Daughter On Her Third Birthday

This last year has been so hard on all of us. Things just kept changing for you - daycares and schedules, and even where you lived and who you lived with! And through it all you have simply been amazing. Hilarious, stubborn, brilliant, and aggressively loving.

You run people over when you hug them. It makes me laugh every time.

Everyone exclaims over how blue your eyes are, but they miss that it isn’t the color that makes them beautiful - it’s the way you are lit from within. You carry a light inside you that burns, fiercely and it shines out of your eyes and in your smile.

I promise to do my very best to never, ever dim that light.

But, I have to ask: Is it possible that we can just skip three? What do you think, kiddo? Please?

No?

Okay - I guess we’re doing this then.

I’ve been thinking about you turning three a lot. Worrying. Planning. When your brother turned three he was possessed by a series of demons that turned my sweet toddler into a raging, rampaging monster. We didn’t have a ton of fun that year.

And you are…well..slightly more intense than he is.

SO HOW THE HELL ARE WE GOING TO SURVIVE THIS?!?!?

I don’t have a plan, sweetest heart. It seems that every time I make a plan for this family the universe comes along and stomps all over it anyway, so this time we’re flying without a net. No plan, but I do have some promises to make to you.

I promise to take the absolute best care of myself that I possibly can. I’m going to focus on it. I’m going to feed myself good things and put myself to bed on time. I’m going to give myself warm baths that smell yummy and I’m going to move my body. I’m going to spend time with my friends and time focused on my work.

It isn’t fair to you for me to lay my entire day on your shoulders. You cannot have the power to make or break my day or my mood. That’s too much for a 3yo to carry. So I’m going to make sure that I’m as healthy as I can be - physically, emotionally, and mentally.

I promise to go back to therapy. Yes, we made it through a cross-country move, buying a new house, getting kids into new schools and a new routine, meeting new neighbors, and relocating offices and businesses without me being in therapy but.you.are.turning.three. You’re going to need all the support that I can give you. That means that I’m going to need all the support that I can get.

I promise to ask for help. I will not try to do it all. I will not try to prove my strength, capability, or worth to anyone. I will ask early. I will ask often. Your dad, your minions, your teachers, your grandparents, our friends and family all want what is best for you. I will ask them for help. You are worth me squirming a little. You’re worth so much more than that.

I promise to tell the truth. I will tell the truth when people ask me how we are. I will tell the truth when people ask me what we need. I will tell the truth when you and your brother ask me to watch TV. We will not fake it till we make it.

I promise that we will have fun! Let’s face it, three is going to suck. But now that we know that the pressure is off. There’s no reason for us to pretend that we have somehow emerged from the ‘terrible twos’ unscathed. You and me kid, we can relax into hurricane/tornado/earthquake/wildfire that is about to rip through our lives. Because here’s the thing - it’s going to be hilarious.

You are hilarious. You are already SO strong willed and you’re smarter than I am, so that’s a problem. You’re sweet and loud and squishy with a steel core. You are the all singing, all dancing, queen of the preschool and I adore you.

We all do.

I will not ever, ever forget that.

We are going to get through this year together, you and me and your dad and your brother. We’ve got you, kiddo.

Happy Birthday!

(I mean, unless you want to skip straight to four, that’s still totally an option)