Of course, you can only learn how to read if we can figure out how to keep you interested in the book learnin' for longer than ten seconds at a time. You don't exactly love having stories read to you, so mostly what happens is that your momma and I read the stories aloud to one another, while you expend your energy destroying the room. We all have our gifts, Merritt. Destruction is clearly yours. Teaching is clearly not mine, but I have faith that someday you'll progress past the point of just yelling because you like the sound of your voice. We're looking for words, dude. Yes, I know you have "Momma" down, but we're gonna need a little bit more one of these days.
This is not the letter in which I will tell you exactly how it is that I came to be in your life, but we can give the short story. I "met" you when you were about six months old, though I only saw you on a computer screen for a while there. Just before you hit the nine-month mark, I saw you in person for the first time. You were adorable. And considerably less mobile than you are now. I should really have counted my blessings. But you sleep through the night now, which you certainly didn't then, so you take what you can get. And I'd much rather chase you around the house during waking hours than deal with you screaming every hour during the night. So, thanks for choosing mobility.
The good news is, I'll always be a part of your life. You won't remember a time when I wasn't there, so you will never need to adjust to me. You've already done your adjusting. I can tell because you can't wait to see me in the morning, just so you can lean one of your cheeks against mine, or even go for the full head-on-the-shoulder hug, which you seem to have mastered just this week.
You need to know that I never wanted a boy. I thought if I ever decided to have a child, I would do whatever possible to ensure that I would birth a girl. I just didn't know what I would do with a boy. I still don't, I guess, but you're not as scary as I had always assumed you would be. I'm still certain that I'm not going to love it when you officially discover what's between your legs, but I've got your momma by my side, so I think I'll be okay.
Your momma asked me once if I would love you like you were my own. I don't have one of my own, so I can't answer that question officially. But there are those nights when you're sick and crying, and my heart is breaking for you; or those days when you smile and thrash your hands about just because I walk into a room, and then you do your patented alligator crawl to get to me; or those moments where I see you give your momma a slobbery kiss on her cheek, and I know what my family looks like.
In those moments, I'm certain that I know what it's like to be a mom. I've already thanked your momma for making me one, but the real credit goes to you, buddy. Falling in love with your momma and moving in with the two of you didn't make me a mom. You did that all on your own, since you somehow knew immediately that I will do anything for you, and that I'm so excited to be your mom. I only hope I can live up to the task.
I might need you to cut me a little slack.
Happy birthday, munchkin.
P.S. If I decide to write you another letter in the future, I promise it will be better than this. This was only my first try.