Four years ago today, we brought you home from the hospital. You came into the world via a very uneventful, routine C-section resulting in an amazingly simple recovery for your mother - which now looking back, I think that was my preemptive reward for some of the battles we would later endure. It was a brisk fall day and I wore my Wayne State University hoodie - yep, the one I still wear on brisk fall days. (Apparently, it's time to update my wardrobe.)
You, Daddy and I stopped for lunch at Qdoba before heading over to Grandma and Grandpa's to pick up your sister.
At first, we struggled to find a routine with you because you have always wanted to do things on your own terms. It will be interesting and exciting to watch how this trait plays out in your life - you march to the beat of your own drum, that's for sure.
We have a phrase about you: "Karis is the happiest child in the world. Until she's not." When you are happy, everyone in your life is happy as well. I knew there was something special about the level of intensity in which you express joy from that first month of your life. You smiled and laughed much earlier than most babies. And still, you continue to smile and laugh more than most. Everyone who meets you instantly falls in love with you.
On the morning of your birthday this year, the absolute joy and delight you expressed over "being four" was quite a sight to behold. You are totally convinced that you actually look different.
Conversely, when you're not happy...well, that's a whole other story. This year alone I've had to reschedule more professional portrait appointments, haircuts and doctors visits than I care to recall because of meltdowns. This has been a year of learning to express your emotions in words rather than tantrums. And it's been exhausting at times.
But when I look at you, I can't help but think that you are going to experience and feel life in a way that few people ever do. Your excitement over the simplest things consumes your entire body and infects everyone who witnesses it. Your eyes sparkle as they devour the world around you. And your laugh - I've attempted to write three different sentences describing your laugh but each time fell so short of fully capturing it. Its something that must be experienced.
I remember having this deep sense of contentment and joy during those first weeks of your life - I'd sit on the couch with you cuddled on my chest as your sister played contently on the living room floor with her dolls. A feeling of totality. Completion.
People often ask us if we plan to have more children. The answer is a resounding "no." And not for any other reason than our family is whole. We have an ideal mix of personalities and temperaments that brings a sense of synergy. And we are happy and content with this sense of the "whole being greater than the sum of its parts."
And while I'm pilfering a line from my least favorite actor in his most annoying role, I must say that it really encapsulates how we feel about you: "You complete me (us)."
Happy Birthday, Karis. We love you.