I cradle you to my chest, holding a sippy cup to your lips, pretending that you are a baby. Your long, tan legs curled up on my lap, telling me what my next move should be in your version of baby talk. You haven’t been jealous of your new baby brother, not really, but occasionally you want to act the part of the baby, and of course I let you. You don’t understand that you will always be my baby, no matter your age.
I want to protect you. From scraped knees, from hurt feelings, from the boogie man, from your frenemy on the bus who pinches you, yet you still adore. My heart breaks when yours does. I hope you always know I am here, despite our tantrums (yours AND mine) and stand offs. You- so solidly four, a know it all, a free spirit, a comedian, a sweetheart- and me, who has been all of those things at one point or another. We are so, so much alike, and there is another thing I want to protect you from. I want you to be the best parts of me, and learn from my mistakes. I don’t want you to suffer from low self esteem, negative body image, anxiety, obnoxiousness. I want you to be forever as confident as you are now, the outgoing life of the party, and never not do something because you don’t think you can, or because people will make fun of you, or because the thought of putting yourself out there, letting people see you try, is too scary. Please don’t ever feel you need to be aloof because trying is for nerds. Don’t hide your light under a bushel. You are gorgeous, inside and out.
I hope you’ll never need to see this letter to you, my sweet, sweet babe, but it’s here if you do. And so am I.