Dear Merritt,

Every night for as far back as we can remember, we've told you the same things. "You are kind. You are smart. You are important. We love you bigger than the sky. And we're so glad we get to be your mommas." Sometime back, you requested that we add one more line of your choosing. So now it ends with, "And we hope you had the time of your life at Disneyland." Recently, we've translated the whole thing to Spanish and tried that out. It's basically a living verbal document.

But those are all the most fundamental truths we could ever tell you.

You are kind.

Whether you're budgeting over half of your birthday monies to the "homeless" category (or just straight-up handing it out the back window of the car to a family with a baby that broke your heart), or sticking up for a friend when no one else will, you always find ways to demonstrate kindness. We are so proud of the way you actively choose kindness. And even prouder of the way you always find your way back to it on your own when you've slipped.

We hope you'll continue to choose it throughout your life. That you'll keep writing us love notes and drawing pictures for your friends. That you'll be outraged when you hear of injustices and you'll fight to right them for others. That you'll be known by your benevolence, your altruism, and the generosity of your kind, kind heart.

You are smart.

Wicked smart. We left you alone to practice writing "yo puedo" last week, and when you completed that task, you decided to do some math. So when we walked in, the board looked like the equations you see Matt Damon working on in "Good Will Hunting." Okay, not entirely. But you had definitely thrown down some numbers and added them all (correctly!) together. So there's a chance you could end up being a janitor at M.I.T. someday.

And don't get us started on your Lego engineering. That's a solid Plan B if M.I.T. doesn't work out.

But seriously, your smarts extend beyond books and the street. You just get so much. With your brain and your heart, and sometimes even your gut (harkening back to the days of your tummy guiding your every decision). And while we've been able to teach you a lot in your life, you've seemingly learned more than we can wrap our minds around.

You are important.

The most important. The reason we do. The reason we are. The reason. We can't imagine anything more important than you. Than making sure you know love and joy. You are so important that you make us strive to be better people so we can give you the very best versions of ourselves. Parenting you is the most important thing we'll ever endeavor.

You're not important because Vin Scully talked about you once, or because you were on "House Hunters," or because you managed to snag the 1,000 ticket voucher in the Ticket Blaster at your birthday party. You are important because you are you. Because you exist.

We love you bigger than the sky. Bigger than your appetite when you're zoning out and watching television. Bigger than your dreams that you tell us about every morning. Bigger than your smile on any roller coaster at Disneyland.

And we are not just glad to be your mommas, we're beyond lucky. No two people have ever been gladder or luckier.

The past six trips around the sun have been our best ever because of you. Happy birthday, Caboose!


Momma & Mommy

PS - We hope you had the time of your life at Disneyland.

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