Your birthday was over a month ago. I'm sorry.
I actually had your annual birthday slideshow ready to go on your birthday. I even thought I'd get this letter written on time, too, but I have been so busy that I never wrote anything publish-worthy. With your dad finishing up his first semester of grad school, we've barely had time to breathe.
I've been waiting and waiting for the perfect quiet moment to write this letter. In waiting for perfection, nothing got done. That's something I have a problem with. I hesitate too much with decisions and I get bogged down by the details. But not you. If you were in charge of writing this letter, you wouldn't hem and haw over what to say or when to say it. You'd just say it. And not only would you just say it, you'd say it and then you'd have zero regrets with how it came out, whether good or bad.
That's one of the things I love about you, Colin. If you're in for a penny, you're in for a pound. You're not afraid to put every single thing on the line. Your whole existence is an exercise in reckless love of life.
When given a roll of stickers, you use every single sticker for one great magnum opus and never lament that you didn't save any for later when you have none. At preschool you make your artwork however you'd like with no regard to how anyone else is doing theirs, and you are always the first person to declare, "I like it!" You put your shoes on the wrong feet and tell me, "They work like this, too." When you have a treat, you're always willing to share "just a little bite." Over and over and over again you fall down in your zealous play, but the words, "I'm okay!" seem to tumble out of your mouth even before you're able to right yourself again for your next attempt.
Earlier this spring you saw me struggling to hold it all together during a particularly bad day. Smiling, you came to me with hands full of wilted dandelions and said to me, "It's okay, Mom. I got these for you. They're pretty."
That's an image that sticks in my head. You, standing in front of me with dirty knees. Smiling. Hair plastered to your forehead with sweat. Holding out little handfuls of dandelions mangled by your less-than-delicate picking. The dandelions were dirty and broken, but you still saw them as beautiful and so you smiled and you shared them with me.
To make me happy.
Every single day you find small ways to choose happiness.
Every single day you find ways to offer a metaphorical dandelion to the people around you.
I hope you never change.
Happy 3rd Birthday, Colin. We love you.