Happy 3rd birthday! You've been counting down to "Feb-u-rarey six" for months now. I've been less enthusiastic. Mainly because I don't want this age to end.
You're such a sweet and loving girl. So much so, that you have a variety of different kisses you dole out throughout the day. The more traditional—butterfly, eskimo—as well as "cheekie cheekies," my personal favorite. You care deeply for others and take the time to walk over and inspect any crying child at the park to make sure they're okay. The fact that none of our not-so-friendly cats have ever scratched you is less a testament to them (Luna still hits most people that enter our home) and more to your gentle nature.
You've grown a lot this past year, from a timid child to a confident kid. When we dropped you off at preschool on that first day, I was broken. It went against every instinct in my body to walk away, leaving you whimpering in the arms of your new teacher. And yet minutes later, you'd steadied yourself, the same way you'd done as a baby. I still look back on a picture of you from that morning, sitting on the swing, quiet but content, and it makes me swell with pride. You're so much stronger than I ever imagined and I now realize that being shy and reserved (two things that also plagued me as a child) aren't actually drawbacks. With those qualities come some of my favorite things about you: you're exceptionally observant, quietly determined, and fiercely independent.
I've struggled with self doubt for as long as I can remember. I question myself frequently and often think there are things I could be doing differently, better. But you, my sweet, have changed that. I've never been more sure of anything than I am of you and your goodness. Being your mom is the single greatest joy of my life.
I'll end this the same way I do every night when I put you to bed. I love you—more than the sun, the moon, and the stars.