Dear Tru,

Lately, I’ve been getting a little choked up in anticipation of this day. It just feels big. How can it be that you’re already three, sweet baby boy?

As I brush tears off my cheek, I can hear you singing and giggling to yourself as you fall asleep in your room. You’ve been totally tickled by life since the day you were born, like you’ve just known deep down what an honor it is to be here. What cracks my heart wide open and puts this lump in my throat is the awareness that you’ve had so many opportunities this past year to change your mind, to lose your sparkle, to change your tune. And yet you keep on singing. That resilience is enough to make this mama weep with gratitude.

Our family started a new journey last fall, as we learned you need much more help than other kiddos to do stuff we’d always taken for granted: to talk, to play, to eat, to understand. Last fall, for example, you knew six words. Now you know more than 50! You touched slimy applesauce yesterday. And you let daddy tip your head back in the bathtub. All evidence that you’re a total rock star! Sometimes we watch and wait while you think and think…and then manage to deliver three words all at once, like “go. see. daddy.”  You’re so proud when it works and we all do a happy dance, don’t we?!

You have worked so hard and been so brave. You have a posse of therapists who adore your sweet spirit, who are so impressed with your progress, and are becoming your best buddies. And can I tell you a little secret? For me, one of the great big blessings in all of this is how, after each therapy session, you’re so tired that you’ll often fall asleep in my arms, just like when you were a baby. I get to hold you and rock you, listen to your breath, study your perfect face, kiss your soft cheeks, thank my lucky stars and whisper sweet somethings into your ear: tiny reminders of how brilliant you are, how brave you are, and how much mommy loves you.

I feel like those sacred moments are more important than any strategy or exercise or tool we’ve been given; if there’s one thing in life that I get to teach you, I want it to be how incredibly loved you are – exactly the way you are. Happy birthday, my little Buddha.

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