It’s hard to write these birthday posts every year (hence it taking a month to get to last year) because I want to say so much knowing that this blog is intended to serve in some capacity as our family’s time capsule, but I’m also aware that I write with all of you in mind and that perhaps more is not always more.
The thing is…this boy. This precious sage little child that has only made our lives better and more rich and multi-faceted, this infant that turned into a toddler and then into a baby-toddler-little boy, this person that we live with, he’s just so much, and it’s hard to know how to capture even one second of it with any justice. So this post is the time capsule post, it’s for the man that I have an impressionistic vision of in my mind who I imagine reading this one day and thinking to himself, I was three once.
While I have my freak out moments and my weak moments and my occasional hysterical moment, there’s also this strange moment that pops up where I look at you and just can’t make sense of your existence. I can’t believe that you are a person that was incubated in my body with all of the best bits of your father cooking in there too, and now you’re out here and talking about things that interest you, and all of your joints and bones and muscles and nerves are hard at work and your eyes are bright with a rife internal life in that mind of yours and I just…I can’t always understand it. You are always and intensely the most intimate relationship in my life and oddly, the most foreign. That juxtaposition is motherhood to me; I have an innate sense of knowing you, and yet I spend a great deal of my time figuring out ways to know you better.
This past year has been a big one. (Aren’t they all?) When you turned two you had only been walking for six months and in some ways I think that held you in baby-land a little longer. You were talking like a champ with a vocabulary that was growing by the second, but there was still a lot of our baby lingering on the fringes of your assent into toddler-hood. This year, at three, there’s none of that. Instead of light threads binding you to where you’ve been, I see rubber bands winding tightly ready to spring you at a moment’s notice into all that you’re approaching. Three is all about EVERYTHING. You feel so hard and laugh so hard and run so hard and think so hard and question so hard and investigate so hard and cry so hard and learn so hard and look so hard and say yes so hard and no so hard and…just everything. You are not alone in this, and seeing you with your little band of buddies all doing everything at once is charming beyond belief.
You are still cautious, though some of that is fading a bit, but you still check in with us about whether or not you can do the big things. You were born with a ‘look before you leap’ soul, I think, and I hope that it’s something you keep forever, but I also love the moments when you know you’re being brave and get lost in the moment. You are strong-willed, but easy to redirect and more than anything you love questions. You do not like the way that most foods look, but if we can get you (trick you) into trying something, you almost always like the flavor of it which completely surprises and thrills you. Yellow is still your favorite color.
While your ongoing love affair with airplanes and things that go is alive and well, you’ve also become fascinated by the ocean and all of its creatures. You sleep right now with two whales named Bop-o and Geeko (you named them) if I’m talking about them, or Bop-o and Beepo if your dad is talking about them–naming conventions aren’t really this family’s strong suit. You’ve been telling us jokes that are actually pretty funny. You’re right on track with stretching out your bedtime by feigning trips to the potty and a deep soul-stirring desperation for a sip of water or one. more. story. You still snuggle with us in the mornings, and believe it or not, when we kiss your bumped head or bruised knee, you still believe that it’s better. You’ve memorized the books that we read to you so that you can recite them along with us. Particularly ‘Otis’, ‘Goodnight Ocean’, and ‘On the Night You Were Born’.
You are very friendly with all people, walking up to them and asking how they are or pointing to whatever picture is on your shirt. I might call you Captain Obvious behind your back, but the truth is, I love your frank observations and deep enthusiasm for the world that’s around you. You stay close to us, still wanting to play with us more than with your toys when we’re at home. I get frustrated by this when I’m trying to get something done, but writing this, I know too well that there will be day when I long for you begging to help make breakfast at my side, so I hope that you keep asking as a way to remind me to just chill out and take the time while we have it. You recover quickly from your tears and sleep on your back with your arms over your head. You will some times fake-laugh until it seems so funny that it makes you laugh for real. ‘Fake it until you make it’ is an important life lesson, so if you are 30 and reading this, take a tip from your younger self and keep this up.
It started to rain on Saturday just as we were getting ready to celebrate your birthday with a little party at home and while we were running around grabbing things from outside and feeling tempted by the urge to get irritated that the rain had come, you spontaneously looked at me at said with great confidence and reassurance, “It’s ok! We can still eat cake inside!” which immediately showed me that in a room full of adults, you were the only one with your eyes truly on the prize. This endearing, logical, and positive outlook is you 100%.
In reading this over, I can see that I’m not reinventing the wheel with my motherly observations, but while there is so much that is very unique about who you are, more than ever, I’m also aware of the bliss that lies in how very much you’re just like everyone else. I don’t know that I can really explain that more deeply except to say that your father and I give thanks every day for your health and development and feel profound gratitude for your presence in our lives and the fact that we can draw comparisons to you and the typical three-year-old experience.
To that one-day man who I cannot wait to know, I say this: you are equipped with all that you need, even at this tender age. You have it all. If you are looking back as a way of finding answers, connect with this and know its truth: you were born happy. Your name means Happy. You are a bringer of joy, a bearer of light, a tempered and curious soul. All of the happiness that you will ever need in life is already housed inside of you. As the book says, Heaven blew every trumpet and played every horn on the wonderful, marvelous night you were born.
Happy third (fourth) year, sweet boy.