Dear Owen,

I wish I could lift your tiny rib cage over my head forever, the way I do when I'm laying on the floor, looking up at you, airplane style. Your tiny, fit frame is still easy to hold. I look up, nearly blinded by that buried dimple of yours, dazzling like a marquee diamond- the perfect accent to your separated smile, letting me know you feel happy and playful. I wish you were always within my reach, just so I could feel your thick, strawberry blonde curls between my fingers anytime I want. Thank you for letting me do that still. I wish I could stare at that gorgeous face every second. I'd study the way your teeth are perfectly spaced out, your full, pink lips, and your perfect little nose. I love it when you hold onto me with your little hand. It still sports four little dimples where your knuckles are, a relieving sign that you still have some baby left in you.

I love it when you help me with my make-up. You've done that for three years now. I love how you carefully twist the mascara cap back on, because I told you not to let it dry out once when you were only a year old, and you always remember. I love how tickled you get when some mascara goop gets smudged somewhere it shouldn't, like my nose or above my eye. I love how carefully you pick out which lip gloss to use and how you apply it so meticulously. You are all boy, so it's amazing to me that you find this entertaining.

I love the way we sometimes sing together. We don't as much anymore, but when I do sing a song we used to sing when you were a baby, I know you remember it by the look on your face. "Bitty Baby,"  "Infatuated," and "Mr. Sun" are some of our old favorites.

I love the way we "share" a room at Noni and Blue's house. I love that you appreciate my big, purple bed. Sorry, our bed. You look like a tiny, hilarious little king when you are burrowed smack in the middle. I love how fired up you get when I act mad that you slept in it while I was away. Sometimes, when I'm pretending really well, you say, "You just kidding... right Jenna?" And I assure you that, yes, I am kidding. What's mine is yours. I love it when we tell each other that the other person is just going to have to sleep in the shower or garage. Once I really did move to the basement so that you could sleep there, and you felt so bad that you loaned me a stuffed animal. I'd take that trade again and again to see you smile.

I love the way you already tease me. I'm not big on teasing, but you can do it all you want. You love to show me when you're doing dangerous activities. I didn't intend to be this worried, fretful aunt all the time, but I guess that's my role, because it's not really an act. I do get tense when you swim in the deep end, climb to the top of the ladder, and swing really high, because I just love you so much. I prefer it when you are on dry, solid ground. I love that the other day when I was pushing you on the swing, you said, "I want to go high, Jenna. I want to touch the CLOUDS!" I love that you are so brave, honestly. Just try to be careful too.

I love the way you enjoy playing in your family's cars and trucks. I love the way you play make believe now. You have the most beautiful imagination. It's so cute when you pretend to be Blue.

You aren't much of a cuddler, but every once in a while you'll let me hold you, and my heart just bursts into little pieces of Owen confetti. You are a busy guy, but sometimes you will stop to relax and give love too.

I love it when you disagree with something someone says, and you lower your chin and raise your eyebrows, starting your response with, "Well, but..."- and you do this adorable thing with your right hand to make your point like a pint-sized lawyer. All of your fingers are together, and you make an action like you are cutting the air in front of you.

I love the fire in your multifaceted eyes when I claim that you're going to stay three forever.

"No I not!" you maintain. "I gonna be as tall as Blue!"

"Ooooh no you don't. You can't!" I argue. "How will I hold you?"

"Well, you just can't! I not a baby!"

You're four. Four years ago, I held you in my arms on October 26, 2010, and the floodgates opened. Did you know that I never really considered myself a crier before then? Occasionally I'd shed a few tears during sad movies like Titanic or Armageddon, but you opened up another room of my heart that I never knew existed. The Owen Room. Eli has one too. I cradled you that night- this perfect, pink, pure little human, and I was just captivated. I remember exactly how it felt, but it's hard to describe. At 26 years old, I had never experienced such wonderment before. I was hooked, and you were only an hour old.

Every day you surprise me. You come up with new words. You become more lively and amusing to talk to. You are spunky. Brilliant. I mean, really intelligent. You know what you want. You are fun to be around, even when you feel grumpy. And the thing is, you keep getting better, more interesting, and somehow even cuter! So, I guess you can grow. I guess you can turn four. I just pray that it goes by slowly, so that I can soak up every morsel of your being, every stage you enter.

I love you so big, you can't see it. I just hope you feel it. I plan to show you forever.

Happy Birthday to my sweet Sugar Bear!

I LOVE YOU! Please don't forget it.

Love, Jenna