Dear Clarissa

Happy birthday, sweetheart!

You’ve been looking forward to your birthday for the longest time.

“How many more Wednesdays before my birthday?”

You’d ask.

“I want a hello kitty cake, please, Mummy. Vanilla cake with chocolate cream!”

Your very specific cake request, which I’d agreed to.

Weeks before your birthday, you were already so excited about packing the goodie bags for your friends we did it one evening after I came home from work.

Yet things happened, unexpectedly.

My world was shaken, completely.

“Clarissa, we cannot have a big celebration this year, ok?” I tried my best to explain to you.

No big hello kitty cake, no candles, ok?

We’ll just give out some cupcakes and the goodie bags, ok?

And go for ice cream, ok?

You listened intently.. And said, “Ok, Mummy. It’s ok. Yay ice-cream!”

A few days later, you came to me and asked, “Mummy, can I wear a party hat when we go eat ice cream?”

Of course, I said yes.

Every now and then, whenever you got too excited about your birthday, I’d remind you again that there wouldn’t be a big hello kitty cake or candles.

I was afraid to disappoint you.

But last evening, after reminding you gently yet again that there’d be no candles or cake (because you told me your teacher could help light the candles), and that there’d only be cupcakes instead, you hugged me, tightly and happily, and said to me:

“It’s ok Mummy! I’m still very happy!”

This morning, the first thing you said when you woke up: “Good morning, Mummy! Is it my birthday today?”

I said yes, and started reading out some birthday messages from your Yiyi and aunties.

You beamed from ear to ear.

You requested for Elsa hair and obliged for a “birthday girl” photo.

We brought the cupcakes and met up with you in school during your tea break…

…with a surprise visit from Meimei.

You’d told me you wanted Meimei to be there for your celebration in school but I’d turned you down initially because it’s usually Meimei’s nap time.

But we decided to move her nap earlier today so she could make it for your celebration.

Meimei is very cheeky, but very popular. 😆😆

Most of your friends surrounded her after they were done with the cupcakes, playing with her and talking to her.

“You are so cute!”

“Can you talk, baby?”

“Baby, show me your teeth!”

We aren’t sure if she’d be as sweet and well-behaved in school as you are, so we’ve already pre-empted your teachers that cheeky Allie is coming to school next year!

I hope you’ve enjoyed yourself all the same.

On our way home, you turned to me, still excited, and said, “Mummy, I’m four years old now!”

Daddy bought the Lego Friends playground set you saw while on a Toy’r’us shopping trip with him.

One of the many shopping trips where you’d tell us, “I’ll just look. I won’t buy anything. I have so many toys at home already!” And stay true to your word.

Daddy saw how your eyes lit up, and his eyes lit up too. 😊

So we hunted for it after we got home.

You say you love this so, so, so much.

“Have I grown taller, Mummy?”

Yes, you have.

“I look like a Meimei here!” You said when I showed you this photo of you taken on your third birthday.

We had a simple dinner, and a simple play time.

Followed by a simple ice-cream.

The two “proper” ice-cream shops in the mall have closed down, but thank goodness there is McDonald’s.

You happily chose the simplest vanilla cone ice-cream.

And enjoyed it thoroughly, all the same.

(I scooped a lot of it away, oops. 😆)

Happiness and simplicity have always been very complex concepts to me.

So thank you for showing me how uncomplicated it can be.

Thank you for being so thoughtful, so cheeky and so loving.

“Do you know what is love, Mummy?” You asked me one night when I was about to turn off the lights.

“Oh, what is love?” I asked, curious to learn what you have to say.

“Love is when you don’t know where you are and you don’t know where you are going?” You said, trying to sound wise but your cheeky eyes gave you away.

“Ok I’m turning off the lights,” I laughed.

“No, no, Mummy, don’t! So you know what is love?” You asked again.

“Ok, what is love?” I said.

“Love is… when you are about to turn off the lights. It’s going to be dark and you can’t see!” You said, and laughed.

Thank you for always making me laugh, even in my darkest moments.

I hope you know how much joy you’ve brought us, and how much we love you.

I hope you’ll always be inquisitive, happy, fun-loving and healthy.

I love you, so, so, so much (the same way you always tell me, …until I want to tickle you).

Love, Mummy.