Dearest Little Pooh:
On this, your fourth birthday, I am playing with the present I had planned to bring you today. It is a soft, squishy Spiderman toy that features "over 15 sounds and phrases" when you push the spider picture on his tummy. "You're my crime-fighting buddy!" he will say one time. "You're web-tacular!" he will say the next.
I am not able to spend your birthday with you this year because your mama has the flu. I think it may be the first birthday I have missed for any of you grandkids. But don't worry. Our celebration won't be cancelled; it will just be delayed for a little while. Spiderman is very patient that way.
It has been my pleasure to watch you learn and grow and become your own little person this past year. Although you share your sisters' love for story and song, it is clear to see that you would rather be on the move than sit still to draw or paint or do other crafty things. You would rather lick icing off the knife than decorate the cookie. Clearly, you prefer action to artistry.
You loved your role as a mean, sword-bearing mouse in The Nutcracker, but didn't much like being one of only two boys in the summer dance recital. You are much more comfortable dressed as Spiderman or Batman than in a white dress shirt with a red bow tie.
Why tap and twirl, you must wonder, when you can run like the wind? After all, the infamous, underwear-clad Naked Man, the super-hero you invented yourself, wouldn't be caught dead in tap shoes and dress slacks.
Mama tells me that she has bought you Spiderman presents too, and that your cake also follows through with the super-hero theme. I imagine you are spending the day wearing your Spiderman costume, the one I bought for $1 at Wal-mart during the after-Halloween clearance sale last year.
Even though it is about four sizes too big, it made you so happy that I am pretty sure it was the best buck I ever spent. I hope that, today of all days, you can wear whatever you want to wear, do whatever you want to do, and be whoever you want to be. This is your day.
Happy Birthday, sweet boy. It has been four years since you first spun a web around our hearts and trapped them for good. You are a special blessing to our family, and in these four short years you have already contributed much toward saving this old world.