This is a picture of the Three year old last night on the eve of his fourth birthday. With his daddy.
The three year old turns four years old today! It has been four years of being reminded of things forgotten only to turn around and say goodbye to them. Some for forever. Some will be revisited again someday, God willing, via grandchildren.
With my first three babies everyone said enjoy this time, because they grow up so quickly. What a great sentiment. Impossible to live up to but great none the less. Now, with number four we can appreciate the speed at which time passes. With the luxury of distance and built in babysitters we can relish every milestone and give it the attention it is due. There is a reason the baby of the family is spoiled.
Perspective really is a blessing. From the time he was born there was a familiarity with the rhythms of having a baby around. What might have overwhelmed me at age 26 with my first baby seemed comfortable with this one. I knew that the late nights would not go on forever. I knew he wouldn't eventually need therapy if I left him to cry all alone for awhile to take a shower. I also knew it wouldn't ruin his sleep schedule forevermore if I let him take an entire nap in my arms or fall asleep with us in bed on occasion. I know sugar is not the enemy, it is a powerful ally in times of potty training. I know to call the doctor/nurse first before going to the emergency room, so you know your insurance will cover it and so you can blame the nurse that sent you there if the emergency room personnel look at you like some overly neurotic overprotective parent.
It's not all a bed of roses, though. I have found that I am without a common demographic. I don't really feel at home with the young mothers of his peers and I don't exactly have the freedom of the other moms of teens that are my age to "do lunch" or get together at a moments notice. Sometimes I feel a twinge of regret that I am "to old to be doing this" or that it infringes on my freedom to pursue the dreams and goals I had for myself at this stage of my life. But, in the cold harsh light of reality there really is no comparison. One belly laugh from a four year old can melt away the harshest of regrets. It doesn't mean they don't pop up from time to time though, and with a little imagination dreams and goals can be met in other ways. I just need to discover what they are.
You know what? He's turning out to be a cool kid. He says please and thank you and he can eat a meal in a restaurant without having to be threatened with corporal punishment. He loves to dance and sing and draw and his role model is Spongebob Squarepants. His best friend could be one of the ants I am desperately trying to destroy or some kid at the park he just met. I see glimpses of the kind of person he will become and I find I really like him.
Happy birthday my littlest boy.