Today you turn 4. I feel like no words will describe accurately what a special person you are, but as every year, I’m writing you a letter for you to look back at when you’re older.
You’re pure joy, my little Ellie. You wake up smiling every morning – since I’ve known you, you haven’t had a bad day.
You get excited for the smallest things, and your enthusiasm and your laughter are contagious. You’re optimistic about everything that life throws at you.
You’re kind and generous. You’re funny, and always have an answer for everything – and when you’re short for words, you simply invent them (“quilent” is your latest invention, a mix between quiet and silent). You know exactly what you like and what you don’t, which makes you stubborn at times – but it’s a trait of your character we’ll always try to nurture.
You love pink so much – something I’ll never truly understand.
You don’t like most desserts and sweets – also something I’ll never truly understand.
You’ve been on the road almost half your life.
You crossed an ocean for the first time when you were 18 months.
You’ve been a full-time traveler since you were 2,5 years old.
You turned 3 in Vietnam.
You’re turning 4 in New Zealand.
You had so many first times around the world.
The first best friendship was in Spain.
The first “terrible two” tantrum was in Canada.
The first time you walked into a school without needing me to stay with you was in Singapore.
The first whole fish you ate was in Thailand.
The first time you overcame your fear of putting your head underwater was in Malaysia.
The first time you had a holiday living with friends was in Vietnam.
The first time you loved jumping the waves on the shore was in Bali.
The first time you slept the whole night without waking up was in New Zealand – sometimes I still can’t quite believe that our sleepless nights are over. In New Zealand you also learnt to ride a bike, to swim and to stop wearing nappies at night… funny, in New Zealand you unexpectedly spent a quarter of your life.
Today we’re away from our extended family, and there’s no friend celebrating your birthday with you, but your smile doesn’t seem to fade, and I know we’re enough for you – you show us every day that we’re everything you need.
Thank you for being the way you are, and most of all for teaching me every day a little bit more about true happiness. I just want you to know, I’m learning. With every fibre of my being, I’ll never stop learning from you.
Oliver, daddy and I love you to the moon and back.
Happy 4th birthday, my best Emily.
Your best mamma
PS. Today, celebrating your Montessori birthday and looking at the photos of your first four years, I realized how much life you have already lived, and us with you. What a privilege! 😍 And what a birthday today… Wow! We went on a treasure hunt, blew out the candles on the cake (chocolate and cream, as you requested), went horseback riding, swam in the pool, and had your favorite menu for dinner: corn and haloumi!