|Raphael loves animals, "dogs especially", he says. He came and asked if I'd come outside to take his picture with the dog.|
You turned four a couple of months ago and I've been meaning to write your birthday letter over since. That's kind of how life is around here these days. Busy. Between you and your sisters and your brother, it seems there's always a lot going on.
You are full of life, full of energy, all at once a wild and rough-and-tumble boy and the sweetest little lover, constantly coming up and giving my hugs and kisses and telling me how much you love me. Recently, I've had to do a double take when I look at you. It seems that suddenly you've outgrown the dimpled fingers and sturdiness of your toddlerhood and have stretched up into a tall boy-child. You are my Man Cub, my little Raphi Boy Boy, my Boyberiffic Raphikiki. You put up with all the silly names I call you.
Sometimes I watch you and take little mental pictures, trying to frame you in my mind, to hold onto the moments I never want to forget. You, with your green eyes and your little freckles, your charming smile and crazy laughter. Here are a few things I want to remember about these days with you:
- You've been talking for a while about wanting to go out on a "date" with me, for lunch. We finally got to go yesterday. When we approached the door of the restaurant someone else held the door and you stood there, refusing to go in because you wanted to open it for me. And you did. We had a good time together, just you and mama.
- We found some volunteer pumpkin plants growing in the compost and you excitedly adopted them and are watering them with your squirt gun. You grew some tiny squash last year too and were so proud of them!
- Every morning you climb up on me and snuggle and kiss the top part of my arm over and over. You say "I want to kiss your big fat arm!" You, my dear boy, are the only person who can get away with that.
- I love the look on your face when we stop to watch a big crane or a loader. Pure delight and wonder. And when we saw fireworks on the Fourth of July? I hope I never forget your screams of joy!
- You are a real do-it-yourselfer, and it's fun to watch as you learn new things and make them your own. You love to put seeds out for the birds and pick raspberries, and you're getting a lot better about putting away the silverware without complaining. When we cut your hair you like to have a turn holding the trimmer up to your head. Last time you exclaimed, "Mama! It's kind of like a lawn mower, only for heads!"
- You tend to be a little shy and hesitant about new experiences, and I love to watch your determination and interest win over the part of you that feels scared.
I love to hear your observations about things. Every day you are learning and making connections. You ask a lot of questions and are always trying to figure out how things work. It's really fun watching you grow and become such a big boy. I'm so glad I get to be your mama. I look forward to lots of fun adventures with you this year!
Lots of love,