Dear Gage,

For your birthday this year your Nana and Papa got you a sweet new LeapPad that you adored from the word go. You are such a technologically driven child and we were hopeful that this new system would pull you away from the Angry Birds and maybe give you a bit more of the educational play instead of the killing the pigs play. Your LeapPad has a game called Pet Pals 2 that allows you to adopt a virtual dog and care for it. You love this because you love taking care of puppies (just ask Aunt Brook’s dogs who love it when you come over to care for them!) When you started the game you chose a cute little Husky Pup that you named “Cuddly Pup”. When the game told you that you could choose a new dog to care for after a few days of play you were completely offended – how dare the game suggest you abandon your sweet Cuddly Pup for a new dog!? Bastards.

And that is you. You are the most loyal person I have ever met and you are only 4 years old. You’re incredibly loving and would never throw anyone under the bus or abandon them for any new someone or something. You have your circle of people and animals that you love and they are always your best. You are consistent, reliable, and far beyond your years with your attitude and intelligence. We get so many compliments from strangers about your manners and self control when we are out and I always have to tell them that it is not me; you are just that great of a kid. I am so proud of your demeanor and your loving nature.

We have had a hell of a year and have enjoyed so many travels, visits, and adventures. We had a pass to our local zoo (Elmwood Park Zoo) and enjoyed almost weekly visits during the warmer weather (and some of the cold weather, too!) to see the animals and play at the park. You love checking in on each animal and reciting facts that you have learned about them. You love feeding the goats and ducks, and as long as there aren’t too many crazy kids on the playground you love playing there. We took many a trip to our local farm (MerryMead) to visit with the animals and eat some of the best ice cream that exists on this planet. Our normal routine is to go visit the animals, head in and eat our ice cream, and one more round trip of visiting our animal friends before we are allowed to leave. If you aren’t thinking about being a veterinarian yet, maybe you should, you have a kinship with animals rarely matched by other people. Again, you’re just that good.

This year we made countless trips down to visit Aunt Brook, Uncle Tom, and Dominic. You love visiting their house because it is magic. Seriously, everything at their house is like magic to you and I love the way you light up as soon as we are there. It helps that Aunt Brook is one of your most favorite people in the world, and that no dog holds a bigger place in your heart than Martini. The two of you love to cuddle up on the couch and watch your cartoons and both of you always look right where you want to be in those moments; it’s so incredibly sweet. When we watch the puppies at their house while they are out you insist on being the one that feeds them and lets them out and are very responsible about it. I promise that as soon as I can I will get you a puppy, but Aunt Brook’s sub in happily when we are missing puppies in our lives.
You also visited California for the first time this year to spend Thanksgiving with Nana, Papa, and Uncle Jess. I don’t have to say that you had a good time, because you love your Nana and Papa so much and they are always a good time. You stepped foot onto a sailboat for the first time (Papa’s boat, Jessica) and finally had a positive reaction to ocean waters as you played on the beach in Monterey Bay. Nana and Papa were also able to visit us a few times this year and we enjoyed their company so much while we had them. Having family so spread out is hard sometimes, but we all manage to make it work because family is incredibly important to us, but you know that, because you feel it to your sweet little core.

You took a while to find your voice, but this year you have found the words you were always looking for and your vocabulary has taken off. I love our little conversations and all of the rules you place on us during our daily lives. You love to turn everything into a game, and you love manipulating those rules to make sure that you win every single game. You are a brilliant little guy and you love to learn about everything around you. Educating you is impossibly easy because you soak up information like a sponge and you have a very photographic memory that keeps everything in order for you to recall things at a later date. You remember things that happened at the age of two and I love watching you recount the stories because I can watch you visualize everything in your head as you go as if you were reading a story in front of you. I hope you always embrace your intelligence and let it guide you to amazing places in life.

We had the opportunity to watch you blossom as a big brother this year and even typing this makes tears well up in my eyes because of the pride I have for who you are and how you treat your little sister. Charli wants to be just like you in every single way and will often irritate you because she just won’t get out of your business. Every single thing you do, she does, and everything you love, she loves. You treat her so well, giving her hugs and kisses each night before she goes to bed, and giving her reasons to laugh all day long. The two of you fill my heart to the brim with happiness and I love that you love being a big brother. She has really helped to bring that shy little guy out of you and I am happy to report that finally, and with no encouragement from us, you started to interact with other little kids towards the end of this year. I hope you keep finding the courage to laugh and play, because watching you just be  you is one of the greatest joys of my life.

I have such a hard time writing these letters to you because there isn’t enough space in the world to put down how I feel about you. When I gave birth to you I was forever changed and I had no idea then that you would be who you are and continue to change me every single day. You aren’t like other kids. Hell, you aren’t like other grownups. Your light shines beautifully and bright. You have such a peaceful and calm soul and you act much older than you really are. You may be a quiet child, but your thoughts are loud and have such a big personality on their own. I hope that you can always find a way to speak loudly; no matter if you do it by words or by action, but I have no doubt that you will do great things in life.

Mostly I just want to thank you for being the you that you are. I am beyond proud of my 4 year old little man and I love you more than I ever thought I could love something in my life. You are such a joy to be around; being your mother is a blessing and getting the opportunity to spend every day with you makes me happy beyond measure. I hope I can always guide you to be the best possible version of yourself that you can be, but seeing who you are now I don’t know how much guidance you will really need. You’re such an incredible little boy. Thank you for letting me be there to watch you grow and learn, you make me proud of you every single day.

I love you,


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