My sweet little one, you are almost three. I can't recall a time when you weren't at the forefront of my mind and taking over my every thought but, at the same time, it hardly feels like you're able to already be three in just a matter of days. We have stopped calling them "days," but instead simply "adventures." You see, every day with you has been a constant and new adventure, every moment some kind of learning experience -- the latter of which is mostly for me. As for you, well, there is nothing you don't know and hold in the palm of your hand. There is nothing you don't wish to share with me at all times as if the magic of all things in this world is as vibrant and fresh for me as it is for you, as if your zest for life and the world around you are things I have missed for the twenty five years I was alive before you. I don't thank you enough for that, for wiping the jaded bits and remnants from my soul and helping to revive me when I feel like the world has nothing left to show me. Every day, every hour, you show me so much.
The past few weeks have been hard but I am existing. This is because of you. This is because when I drag myself out of bed after three hours of sleep you smile at me and give me a casual "oh hi, mommy" and I realize all I have to live for. I have everything to live for because you, my sweet boy, are everything. You keep me busy with your chatter and ideas, with your imagination that is so big I want to climb inside of it and move in forever. For the most part, I do that. I think that's my secret for making it through each day, your imagination. It's like you've invited me to step inside this incredible world that you've dreamed up where everything is still so right and incredible, everything is so vast and surreal. It is hard to feel the broken pieces of my heart trying to learn how to fit together again, shifting like shards of glass among my insides, with you grabbing my hand and asking me to chase invisible pirates with you down an empty hallway. I like the world you've created. I mean that both metaphorically and quite literally, as the world you've created for our family is one I could no longer imagine living without.
I feel like you're more intuitive than people give you credit for, as a toddler. I feel like you sense the pieces of my pain and can put together the puzzle pieces that I try to hide out of your reach but instead of grappling for them you just try to heal me. You remind me to eat, to drink water so that I "grow up healthy and strong." You are the backbone to this family, to my life; you are the only thing that makes sense when I feel like I cannot steady myself against the spin of the world. I tell you that I love you every minute of every day, something that maybe could be seen as a little bit (a very little bit) of an exaggeration up until the past couple of weeks when I want to begin every sentence as a declaration of my love because life? Life is so unpredictable and cold and scary. What I don't tell you enough -- and I still tell this to you at least once a day -- is how proud I am of you. Proud of the person you are, at not even three years old, and proud of the person that I am watching you become. Whenever I feel sad about the bits of your babyhood that you leave behind, I instead choose to redirect my feelings to the sheer pride of watching you grow into the most amazing human being that I have ever met. Somehow I don't feel worthy for you to be my son, my child, but I instead choose to just breathe you in. The smell of your hair, your skin, sweat and strawberries and plum, and I feel life breathed back into my bones.
I watch the way you play and interact with other children and, even at not-yet-three, I see so much of myself in you. You are more comfortable among the adults, more interested in adult conversation than roughhouse play, more content to just sit quietly and build, organize, imagine up scenarios and ideas that cause the other children to stare at you with a side eye that is all too familiar to me. We all joke that you are destined to be another generation of misfit, another era of Hot Topic-clad, mix tape making walking emotion and as much as that scares me because, well, I remember what school was like -- I am proud of you. It's as if you already know -- and remind me -- that the most important thing is being true to yourself. Your true colors are my favorite colors. I am supposed to be the parent, the one who guides you with strength and unwavering certainty but the funny thing is, that's what you give to me. You give me the confidence to hold my head up and do all of the things that I was never brave enough to do because you love me, because I am proud of who you are. Your heart is so unbelievably beautiful. When the nights come and I am left in the company of the pain throbbing inside my own heart, I just try to remember how beautiful your heart is. I realize that, over the last few weeks, you may have felt pushed to the side or as if we wouldn't allow you to fit into our preoccupied minds but I want you to know that couldn't be farther from the truth. You are what we have been clinging to. You have been what we have been reaching towards. You are the best medicine.
I am ready to kick off your birthday month. I am ready to celebrate you and the mark that you leave on the hearts of everyone who knows you. I want you to know how special you are. I want you to know that more important than the blood that courses through my veins, it is you who keeps me going. When my nights feel a little cold and my mind refuses to settle, it is you that brings me back and lets me find some sort of peace. You are my best friend. You are the love of my life. You, my sweet little boy, are the reason we breathe and the strength we have to keep going. It is an honor to know you and it is an honor to go through this life as your mother. You're the only thing that ever makes sense.
I love you more than anything.