You are now three years and one day old.
I can’t really think of anything much else to say because I keep coming back to that fact. Three years and one day.
I think you had a good birthday yesterday. We did all the things you liked to do, went to the grocery store where you got both a muffin and a smoothie. Watched two episodes of Dinosaur Train. Had cheese quesadillas with lima beans for lunch (you did, not me!) Played with all your new presents. Read a new book five times in a row. Had hot dogs for dinner. With an appetizer of specially requested chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.
But even as I was very much caught up in the present moment (I mean, how can I not be amused by your request for quesadillas containing lima beans) I couldn’t help but glancing at the clock every so often and thinking, this time three years ago, I was doing this. It started when you woke us up at 6:30 a.m., which is when we left for the hospital. I was frosting your birthday cake at 5:00 p.m., when I got the epidural. By 9 p.m., Dad and I had finally sat down for the evening and remembered that’s when Dr. Z came and camped out in our room, our biggest sign that things weren’t going so great. And at 10:19 p.m., we looked at each other and said happy birthday. Then we walked into your room just in time to catch you falling out of your bed, about the same time you were put into our arms for the first time.
I’ve spent a lot of time this year reflecting on our first year together. There’s a lot that I would have changed about that first year had I known then what I know now. There were a lot of really dark times but at the same time, it also had the highest of highs. Nothing, and I mean nothing, compares to that feeling of having you placed next to me for the first time. But I look at you now and I know that there is nothing, not one iota of your being that I would change about you today. Which means that in spite of it all, we must have done a few things okay.
You’ve been an incredible joy of a toddler. You have this hysterical sense of humor that never fails to make me laugh. You have this very dry wit and a way of playing on words that makes you seem so much older than just three. It’s been so much fun to watch particular parts of your personality develop, traits that have been around since you were born. You have always been a stickler for how things should be placed and the order things go in. Since you started wearing shoes, shoes have always gone in a certain place in a certain order. I think I might be the only mom in existence that has never had to remind their child to put their shoes away. You do it because, well, shoes belong in your bottom dresser drawer in their little boxes.
As much as you love routine and order, as your grasp of time develops, you’ve come to really appreciate the random things we sometimes do. We’ll get in the car and you go through your list of regular places that we go and if I answer “No” to each, you say, “Oh, are we going on an adventure?” It makes it awful hard not to spoil you.
I know this year will probably be one of our hardest years of parenting yet. People have already warned us about the “threes” and as much as possible, I think we’re prepared. Which is to say, we have a plan that we’ll promptly discard as soon as we put it in to place, ha! But the hardness is okay. I’ve learned that. It’s not fun, it’s not easy, but it is necessary and we come out on the other side hopefully better for it.
There’s so much to say about how much I love you and I’ve tried to say it before and just wind up sounding like a Hallmark card and repeating myself over and over. It’s just that when you feel something this big for a person so little, you find yourself at a loss for words to adequately describe it all. So the best that I can do is to quote William Blake when he says
“To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.”
I love you.
Happy birthday Widget.