My dear Hank:
It's been 4 years since you came into our lives and changed everything — completely and absolutely — for the rest of our days. It's funny to think back on those first few months of your life where you depended on us for everything. That's certainly not the case anymore!
First, let's talk about the things that haven't changed.
- You are still obsessed with vehicles of any kind, especially trucks. In fact we celebrated your birthday by taking you to Diggerland USA where you got to ride on and operate REAL construction equipment. (It was pretty awesome.)
- You are still a bona fide connoisseur of mac and cheese.
- You still love your Croc® boots.
- You are still thoughtful, pensive and cautious (and a bit of a worrier).
- You still love to cuddle and show affection. (One of my favorite things about you.)
You've recently become really and truly curious about the world, which Daddy and I find to be one of the most exciting parts of being parents. You ask questions that take us by surprise, and listen carefully to the answers. Questions like, "Why does the fire keep burning?" or "What makes it go out?" You've always been a really observant boy but it's only recently that you've verbalized the questions in your head.
Speaking of observant, you have a freakishly good sense of direction. You love looking at maps and watching the GPS in the car. You know which roads we're on and what's around us (even if it isn't in view yet). Your PaPa and your Daddy both love maps and geography, so I suspect maybe this is a superpower you inherited.
Almost all of your playtime revolves around toys with wheels: cars, tractor trailers, trains, monster trucks, diggers, you name it. You love to build ramps and "obstekel" courses and refuse to get in the bathtub, car, or go anywhere really without at least 1 truck in each hand.
We took our first beach vacation to the Outer Banks this summer with the LeVans and you were the happiest clam in the universe that week. Our rental house included a pool, hot tub, and was a stone's throw away from the ocean — and best of all you got to spend the week with your boys Alex and Jake (and Will).
In July we did our second annual trip to the incredible Fireman's Parade in Northeast, Pennsylvania. Your MoMo has some pretty awesome friends in high places who get us great seats for the parade. Firemen come from all over the place — even Canada! — to ride their trucks in this parade. You know all the different types of fire trucks and you literally shake with joy when the trucks start coming through.
As much as you love trucks, you also love girly things like princess dresses and painting your nails. You share a bedroom with your little sister Livy and the two of you have the sweetest relationship (most of the time). I love hearing the two of you laugh and sing to each other at night before falling asleep. Nobody can crack you up like Livy can. You also worship your cousin Kenzie and talk about her all the time. Even though she lives far away and we don't get to see her all the time, you think she's hilarious and get excited by the very prospect of seeing her.
We do lots of playdates with your best bud Jack. He brings out the more fearless and courageous side of you, which I love. It's been fun to watch the two of you go from toddlers who played side-by-side to big boys who play together for hours. You also love your friends at Miss Anne's pre-school where you do arts + crafts, tend to a garden, cook and bake, and have dance parties. And you lucked out with the very best grandparents any kid could ever ask for. You never want to leave Grandma + Opa's house or Nana + PaPa's house. I love that their homes feel like home to you.
You are starting to write your own name and especially love to point out H's whenever you see them. Anytime we see a sign when we're out and about, you ask us to tell you what it says. Sometimes I get annoyed when I have to answer those 5 million questions a day, but the truth is I love that you're so curious about reading.
You love to play driving games on the iPad and at the arcade (Chuck E. Cheese's) and it amazes me that you crash less than I do. The other day I was having quiet time with you while Livy was napping. You were sitting on my lap playing a new ATV game on the iPad. I remarked to you, "Wow Hank, you're really good at that!" You gave a little sigh and replied, "Mommy... I'm trying to be great." Then you wondered why I was laughing. Touché buddy. Touché.
I love you so much, Hank. From the day they placed you in my arms for the first time, I knew I would never stop loving you. But I had no idea how much joy it would bring me to love you every day.
Hugs and kisses,