It cannot be your third Birthday already. Where have the past 36 months gone? I remember like it was yesterday when I would tell people, you are 5 days old, one month old, 18 months old and now I have you classified in years. Three to be exact. Well little man, today is your day. Of course we celebrate all things you and all that is so very special about being three.
You will start preschool in the Fall. You will turn to me and wave as the teacher pleads with me to give you one last kiss and leave you be. I am not sure I will be ready to walk away. Soon you will be out of diapers…forever. You will want to play with your friends more than me. You will write your name. You will brush your own teeth and visit the dentist for the first time. You will call me mom more than mommy.
All these things are special. They mean you are growing up and becoming more independent. Yet, I want you to be little forever. I want to be able to sit in the rocking chair and rock you to sleep. Instead, you want to be one of three little monkeys jumping on the bed. I want to snuggle with you every night, even if it means maneuvering my adult body into your toddler fire truck bed. But lately I’m being replaced by Jingle the stuffed dog and Thomas the Train.
This summer you will put on a helmet and take a ride on a bike with training wheels. Yet, I just had the stroller wheel replaced so we can go on long, exploration hikes in the park. Perhaps I may still have a bit more time to push you in a stroller. You will swing by yourself and will only need my gentle touch to get you started. You will start swimming on your own and will not need to cling onto me for dear life. You will paint, draw and create with little or no help from me.
You will stand on the stage during your three-year pre-school Holiday performance one year from now. You are officially old enough to play smart start tee-ball, basketball and mighty mites football. I will watch from the sidelines as you run off onto the fields and courts looking back and waving to me. I will not be able to go out there with you, holding your hand.
You will request playdates more than trips to the grocery store with me. You will be able to attend the library story time without an adult by your side. You will get into conflicts and will want to work them out for yourself because you now know how to share and express your thoughts on your own.
It is hard being mommy sometimes; watching you and your brothers grow. Some days I do wish I could be without a diaper bag, multiple change of clothes and an endless supply of keep you busy activities. But then it’s days like today, your third Birthday that make me wish you were young forever.
Especially being my baby, my last born, I want to cradle you in my arms. I want to sing you lullabies again and rock you gently to sleep. I want to hear your cry at 3 a.m. because you are hungry or need me to soothe you back to a slumber. I want you to reach up to me making the motion for me to pick you up. I want to hear you say your first word again, watch you take your first step and eat your first foods. But I cannot go back.
Yet, these moments will remain in my heart forever. You will always be my baby, whether three, thirty-three or fifty-three. We are moving along through this journey called life. I know we will create new memories and cherish those as well. I know if I beg you, you will still call me mommy sometimes and not just mom. I know that when you have your college buddies over, I can make you mommy’s secret recipe hot chocolate and your pals with think I am the bomb. I can still bake you cookies, call and sing to you and buy you new clothes. We can always go apple picking, to get cookies at Starbucks and play on the slides.
But for now, today, I celebrate you. I celebrate you being just three and here with me. I will watch as you tear open your presents and scream with delight because you get yet another Thomas the Train and Friends. I will celebrate as you smile from ear to ear with your little, bitty baby teeth as we sing Happy Birthday to you. Then I will watch as you close your eyes, make a wish and blow out your candles.
Even though I want to be selfish and squeeze you up and keep you little forever, I do aspire that all your wishes come true! Happy Birthday Peeno. May all your dreams come true…today, tomorrow and always. I love you!
This post’s draft was written prior to the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Once again, these events change things like our perspectives and our thoughts. These events challenge our faith and bring reality to our fears. My heart goes out to the families, the children and administration along with my prayers and thoughts. These were and are children just starting their lives. Our children should feel safe and secure ALWAYS. This has to stop. Do not forget to hug and kiss your children everyday! Please take a moment here to stop and offer a moment of silence for those lost on December 14, 2012.