Four years ago this morning, you were born. You were supposed to have a June birthday, but you chose May 31, the same birthday as your great-grandfather (my grandpa, my Mom's dad) who celebrates 85 today. Following Jewish tradition, we named you after one of your other great-grandfathers (my grandpa, my Dad's dad), and it has been wonderful to watch you become your own person guided by a special name.
Not only was your birth day a surprise, but your birth was too. You showed me that I was the strongest person in the world, and I used that gift so much in the weeks afterward figuring out how to feed you, how make you grow, and how to take care of you. Despite the beginning, it has been easy to be your mother, even if everyone thought the woman with the long dark hair was only the nanny to the little boy with the curly, golden blond hair in her care. You looking so much like your father was yet another surprise, since we assumed you would get my dark hair and eyes. I can't imagine your face looking any other way.
You are loving and stubborn and shy and fearless. You love your little sister so much, and I remember the day after she was born how you wanted to stay home from preschool to watch her get her diapers changed and drink her mama milk. She has continued to be a joy and delight to you, and before she was born I never imagined how each of you would light up when you see the other's face. You love your parents, your sister, your dog, your grandparents, your great grandfather, your aunts and uncles, your great aunts and great uncles, and your first cousins once removed fiercely. I know you will love your cousin and second cousin just as much when you get meet them in person, hopefully later this year. Nothing makes me happier than hearing you say "Momma, I love you."
You are an outdoors kid. When you were a baby, I would take you walks at the lake and you would look up at all the leaves in the sky and smile and laugh. You love to plant, water, and pull up weeds. This year, working outside has been fun because I've been able to do it with you. The main reason we planted a vegetable garden is that we knew you would enjoy starting it, and caring for it, and watching it grow and we've been able to enjoy all of those things so much too because you have been a part of it.
Yesterday, we celebrated your birthday with lots of friends by playing in the dirt at the new "nature playground" and eating dirt and worm cupcakes. I love to watch you play, and run around, and just be. You are so very much my Ely.