Everything does -- from the sprinkling of freckles across the bridge of your tan little nose to the little spike of hair at the crown of your head -- you are vibrant with life and excited about its possibilities and it shows on your happy little face.
You chose Chinese food for your birthday dinner and your fortune said, "Age is just a number, it's how young you feel inside that matters," and you were delighted at this bit of serendipity. You always exclaim about your good luck but I think it's your sense of gratitude that creates your good fortune. I believe you will always feel young inside.
You still play with toy soldiers. You look for treasure. You play in the dirt with friends. You need hugs from your brother even when you're fighting. You catch and release fish and weep if they die. You make friends effortlessly. You dream of being an engineer or the owner of an tiki hut camping resort with an exotic pet store on site some day.
I hope you're always like that. You are a wonder to behold.
Tonight you proudly presented your clean bedroom and bathroom that you had worked on as a surprise to thank me for giving you such a nice birthday. Every day there is some bit of sweetness, some gift of kindness from you, and every day there is laughter. You are a gift in and of yourself.
9 will be amazing because you are. Stay young forever, I think you can do it.
Happy birthday (yesterday. I was busy birthday-ing you).
I like you, I love you, and I'll always protect you,