You turned five just a few minutes ago. And a few minutes before that, you were born.
How has the sun risen and set over 1,800 times since you first pooped in the bathtub with me? How is it that you uttered "Mah-mee" so emphatically that first time and the world still found a way to keep spinning all these years? How have you been alive for two World Cups and five baseball seasons and 60-something new moons?
"Beep. Boop. Borp. That's me turning off my brain to go to sleep." You told us this at bedtime one evening. But here's the deal: your brain never turns off. You wake up in the morning and immediately amuse and delight us with the tales of your dreams and the adventures your mind enjoyed in the night.
And during the day? Your brain doesn't quit.
Whether we're elbows-deep in "inventing time" or making up words to a familiar tune or just eating a sweet treat on the deck, your gears are always turning.
"The chimes gave me this idea about popsicles because they sounded like an ice cream truck and that reminded me that hot days and popsicles are meant to go together. So that's why I wanted to eat popsicles."
Perhaps now is a good time to tell you we'd love to hear you wax philosophic about your beloved "Golden Mitalia," or what us commoners call "Italian Ice," as you continue to have a way with words. Like the misheard Queen lyrics, "Don is the loser and we are the champions!" Sorry, Don. Or how you pluralize things like Dairy QueenS, or the wonderful spice, Slap Ya MamaS.
So we took this magnificent trip to LA last month. Because turning five only happens once. And we had to go big. The trip was seriously magical. From Vin Scully talking about you on the television broadcast of the Dodger game we attended, to two extraordinary days at Disneyland, to eating macaroni and cheese in a hotel bed, the entire trip was a celebration of the wonder that is you.
We won't soon forget watching you chase bubbles while listening to Vin bask in your jubilance, or the look on your face after you rounded the bases on THE ACTUAL FIELD where your Dodgers play. Or how proudly you wrote your name for our waiter at Carrows when he realized your MLB fame and asked for your autograph.
And there's no way that our Disney experience will ever be removed from our souls. You were a tour guide to other passengers on rides with us: "This is just a pleasant river ride," you'd say with a grin while on Grizzly River Run, and then you'd gleefully laugh as the whitewater rapids soaked everyone. You insisted that "Pirates of the Caribbean" was called "Pirates of the Caruvian," and you made repeated requests to ride it again. On the near never-ending "It's a Small World," you leaned over and whispered in my ear, "This is not my kind of style," and there's maybe never been a more polite response about something you hated so much. You made your breakfast into the shape of Mickey's ears. We adored hearing you sing the Disney Junior theme song throughout the park, but what is still ringing in our ears is the sound of your squeals of delight on roller coasters. And maybe just a remnant of the sound with which you startled us awake on day two (the violent clacking of your light chasers), though we admire your ingenuity in using them as flashlights to guide you through a dark hotel room and into the bathroom. In the park, you constantly reached for our hands and held our seat belts (and subsequently grabbed our hearts), and we loved feeling so needed while making you feel so secure. You made us the Happiest Parents on Earth at the Happiest Place on Earth.
Based on your exuberant reaction to seeing a dire wolf penis bone at the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits, we might have said that was the highlight of the trip. Or maybe the part where we spotted a wild harbor seal off the Santa Monica Pier and a local fisherman gave you some fish to throw to it. But no. When we asked you your favorite part of the trip, you said, "Disneyland. And swimming. And making new friends." Seems like you have your priorities figured out.
After seeing a man in a beret, "I think that was a Paris guy."
After eating cinnamon twists and making a huge mess in the car, "Uh. I'm going to have to lick my pants when we get home."
After I encouraged you to give me directions, "I'm bad at 'destructions.'" (Incorrect. You are fabulous at destructions.)
After injuring yourself and us asking if you were okay, "Umm, it's sort of like 'mayday' hurting. I have to walk like a grandpa."
After I asked you to buckle up and then you proceeded to do so with your eyes closed, "Momma. Am I impressing you?"
You are always impressing us.
Merritt, you exist in a radius of awesome. Excellent things happen in your orbit. You leave wonder in your wake.
Because of you, we have never had more fun.
Because of you, we have bliss.
Because of you, we have and know and live love beyond normal love.
You have had a banner five years. You have blown our minds and expanded our hearts' capacities infinitely. You are the best gift either one of us has ever or will ever receive. There are not two luckier people on this planet and there is no greater honor than being your mothers.
We love you bigger than we love Disneyland and the Dodgers and tacos, Bubby.
Momma & Mommy