Last week when I asked you if you knew how old you'd be on your birthday (which is tomorrow), you sang the numbers: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5. You sang them in near perfect scales, and as you did so, you showed me each finger on your left hand. I felt proud.
This morning after I helped you put your helmet on so you could go out back to ride your bike, you turned to Marcie and said, "Do you need some help, too, Sweetie?" You had such a soft expression on your face, and I could see your intense desire to really help her. And I felt proud.
This evening after dinner when we were working on your speech homework, I asked you to put the car on the bed and the shirt on dresser because that's what the assignment sheet instructed me to ask you to do. You told me that isn't where the car and the shirt go, and you put the car on the floor and the shirt in the closet. I felt proud.
This past weekend, you pieced together a giant train track. There was an inner circle and an outer circle. You added an elevated section and a bridge. You used your battery-operated trains to push the freight cars, and you giggled in delight as you let them run into each other. Earlier in the day when I was trying to put together a track of my own, I asked you if we should a bumper on the end of one piece of track. You told me, "That's a great idea, Mom." I smiled and thanked you. And I felt proud.
You've grown up so much this year, Casey. Sometimes I think back to the snowy day five years ago when I held you in my arms for the first time. You seemed so tiny and fragile to me then, squawking for food, your face a deep plum red. And I felt so grateful at the opportunity to finally be a mom-- your mom. And five years later, I still do.
It's only been five years. And already, I've learned so much from you. You've taught me patience and reminded me how fun it is to be silly. This year, you've brought me along with you to chase ducks and to ride a scooter. You've shown me amusement parks through fresh eyes. You've reminded me that there's no such thing as too many kisses, that the tickle monster is a child's favorite "fear," and that bubble gum can be dessert and breakfast, too.
And this year you've learned a lot, too. Not only can you count to fifty, and do you know all the letters of the alphabet, but you know their sounds and you recognize whole words, too. You can write the letters A, E, and L (though sometimes you write them backwards), and you can draw smiley faces. You memorized the Pledge of Allegiance, you say grace each night before dinner, and you can sing more songs than I can count. You have something of a shoe fetish-- almost as many pairs as I have! This year you learned how to swim and you played soccer and baseball. You can talk on the phone to your birth family and to Grandma. And you quip about how much you love each of your friends at school. Some nights you ask to eat broccoli with your dinner, and you've begun eating other new foods, too-- macaroni and cheese, croutons, carrot sticks, and chicken noodle soup to name a few.
I love you, Casey. I love your silly faces and your happy songs. I love that you ask me why until I can't think of a reason any more. I love when you dress yourself in striped shirts and patterned pants, and I love that you wear your costumes-- Spiderman, Superman, and Buzz Lightyear wherever we go. I love your zest for life. And I love being your mother.
Happy, happy birthday, Casey. I love you.