Yesterday was Brother's birthday. If you have been within a one hundred mile radius of him in the last two weeks, you were already aware of that because he hasn't forgotten to tell a single person.

I've decided that four is my favorite age of his ages so far. I probably said that about the ages of one, two and three, also.

At four, he still gets excited when he first sees me in the morning. He snuggles with me endlessly and isn't ashamed to kiss me in front of his friends at school. In fact, it's at preschool drop-off and pick-up that he gives me the biggest smooches of all.

Brother hands out hugs and kisses freely to those he loves. He hasn't yet been tainted by the "man hug" that only allows boys to hug with one arm before they quickly move away. No, sir. When he hugs, he puts his whole heart into it and you are more likely to let go first.

At four, Brother still has so many questions about the way things work. Many of the questions he comes up with leave me thinking and searching for correct answers. So many of the things that occur to him, never occur to me. This past weekend while visiting family, we got to see snow for the first time in a long time. This led him to ask, when God was thinking up all of the things to put in the weather, how did he come up with snow?

Around our house, things are often on Brother time. He moves at his own pace. When we are all in a rush, he is the one strolling along slowly, picking up rocks or studying the clouds. When we are all ready to sit and rest, he's testing out his shoes to see how fast they will let him run.

There are kids who are rule followers. Being a first born, I was one of those kids. It's not that Brother is a rule breaker, it's just that he chooses to believe that there are no rules.

I always say that Brother has a running soundtrack in his head. He's always singing, humming and dancing. He's often unaware that he's even doing it when I stop to ask him what it is he's singing. Confused, he will look up at me and then it dawns on him that he was actually just rocking out to whatever music was on his mind.

So often, at four, Brother will stop and compliment me on something or tell me that he loves me. He will stop what he's doing and say, "Mom? You're my favorite girl."

This type of affection isn't reserved for only me, however. Just this past week, he was snuggling with Sister on my bed as we were all taking our time waking up. Reaching up to pat her on the cheek, he said, "Sister, your skin is so soft."

I started to melt into a puddle on the spot.

Until he followed up with, "Not like Mom's. Hers is all cracky."

I'm hoping that was just his four year old sense of humor.

I've often thought that God gave us children so that we may teach them, hoping one day that they will turn into responsible adults. More recently, I've decided that He gave us children to teach us. I've learned so much from both of my children but from Brother, to live by my own rules, to move at my own pace and to have a soundtrack of my own.

I love you, Brother. You're my favorite boy.