Dear Sloan...

A letter on your fourth birthday.
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Dear Sloan,

I've been listening to the playlist your dad made for you before you were born. The first time I heard it, I cried. And now, four years later, it still makes me weep. It's what I played each night while I put you to bed. I'd turn on the purple mood lights your dad insisted didn't look like a Virgin America flight (but totally did) and watch you fall asleep. I remember feeling like everything I needed was in my arms. 

You're such a bright light—even those who have only just met you are mesmerized by your sweet disposition and pretty eyes. I love that you love so fiercely, showing zero restraint, reminding those of us lucky to be around you several times an hour, and throwing such forceful weight behind each hug and wet kiss. You're cautious and smart, silly and dramatic and when we're together, it's like hanging out with my favorite friend (especially now that you seem open to embracing country music).

You wake up thrilled to see us each morning and are the cutest alarm clock, sighing loudly outside our door. You're a great dance partner, always down for a rock ballad or 'Frozen' duet and show such enthusiasm for your favorite restaurant (El Coyote) that it's since become mine as well. You question everything (dentists, doctors, Elf on a Shelf, The Tooth Fairy, to name a few), finish puzzles within minutes, and act as everyone's biggest cheerleader. You've named every cat in our neighborhood "Drew" and still think "Sloanie Bologna" is your middle name.

The love that we have for you, my baby girl, is overwhelming. You're the best thing that ever happened to me and getting to watch you grow is the greatest gift I've ever been given. You're exactly where you should be on your fourth birthday—and I'll be there to hold your hand when you're feeling shy, allow you the space to do things yourself, and listen when you get frustrated. Happy Birthday to the gentlest soul I know and the person who teaches me more about myself than anyone else. 

I love you—more than the sun, the moon, and the stars.

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