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Dear William,

Last week you turned three years old and I wavered between throwing myself the pity party of “How can he be growing up so fast?!?” and “How I could I be so lucky to have this most precious, kind, loving and wonderful little boy be mine?” In the same week that you turned three, a couple from our birthing class when we were pregnant with you lost their 22 month old daughter. Witnessing their grief, struggle and pain played out on their blog and social media wrecked me. It brought close to home the reality of how precious my time with you is. I often get trapped in worrying about money or how our house manages to be a disaster an hour after cleaning that I forget to stop and laugh with you and wrestle with you and even jump on the couch and act full-on silly. And I’m not perfect. That emotional roller-coaster that played out in my head and on my heart hasn’t instantly made me the mother who throws caution to the wind and just jumps in the moment. But I am taking baby steps to be more of that mother for you.

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After your birthday party this past weekend we came home to an impending thunderstorm. It started to rain and I asked you if you wanted to take off your shoes and run around in it with me. You said, “Mommy, it’s going to thunder!” and were pretty insistent we shouldn’t go. Finally after a little more prodding you said, “Let’s go!” So, we took off our shoes and we ran laps around the yard during a heavy rain, hopped in our tree swing, splashed in the collected water on the patio and let ourselves get drenched. I loved every moment of that experience with you.

I have to tell you that every day I am amazed by you. Some days it’s the way you so gently guide Noah to an activity or offer him a hug unprompted. Some days it’s how you use “bad” language in the correct context but quickly ask, “Am I allowed to say that or is that a bad word?” When I tell you it’s bad, you don’t say it again! Some days it’s how you emulate me in the funniest ways – ways that drive your father crazy. When you get home from daycare each day, you immediately ask if you can put on your pajamas (just like me). And in the morning when Daddy tells us it’s time to get up, you throw out something funny like, “My back hurts, Daddy. We need five more minutes.” You are in many ways my mini-me and in other ways so much more open, adventurous and carefree than I could ever hope to be. You are forever seeking adventure and always offering a kind heart. Your sensitivity and emotional spirit are elements of you that I carry with pride.

You are a remarkable boy, son, brother and friend. I am so proud of you every day. I love you more than I could ever articulate. That will never change.