happy 4th birthday, burke.

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You and your brother love to hear and tell stories. It’s not uncommon for either of you to dictate a story for me to transcribe so in turn you can illustrate it. Recently, you told one like this, ” The duck, the penguin, and the man with his shovel are going to the farm. The horses are in the dirt at home. God says to love your enemies — the bad guys.” (Below the words, you drew the man with his shovel, the duck, and two penguins.) I asked you a few times to clarify what you meant and how these sentences tied together, but you felt no need to clarify. As far as you were concerned, it was perfect. I love this about you. I love these little inklings that you give to us that allow us inside your little, but quite large, imaginative world. I remember when you were born Nina said, “Poor Burke. Born into a family of oldest (and thereby perfectionist) children.” But, it’s never bothered you. You are content to be who you are and where you are, gladly exalting those who succeed around you without feeling the pressure to compete or prove yourself. For the most part, you display contentment.

While we know it has to happen, your father and I have at times mourned how fast you’re changing and growing up. You have such a sensitive heart, Burke. You love to snuggle and generously use your snuggles to affirm those around you; my favorite is still the unexpected “I love you, mom” as you hug my leg in passing, or when I see or hear you in secret acting generously toward Blythe or another younger person. You still have such a patient disposition, dear one, and seem frustrated only when you can’t quite communicate what you want or need or somehow feel unheard or misunderstood.  That said, you’ve become a lot more expressive this last year, testing out different attitudes and words (some more satisfactory than others). You still adore Liam and function often as his counterpart in all manners, including mischief. We recently cut all your hair off (much to my dismay) so that you could have a “racing stripe” just like him. What’s wonderful is that Liam adores you too. I love you, sweet son. You add so much to our lives and today we rejoice over you: happy birthday.

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