My beautiful little boy,
You are three years old and I can hardly believe it. For so long I let myself dwell over the loss of your babyhood, offering my finest pouty-face every time you woke up a good deal taller and wiser than the day before. These days things are a little different. I find life within your own life and joy in watching you grow. I am eager to breathe you in every day of your life and watch you grow into the person you are slowly becoming before my very eyes. I love who you are, who you have always been, who you are becoming.
Something new to age three is my ability to spot our shared characteristics. Since your birth, of course, people have loved to comment on who you look like -- "the spitting image of his daddy" or "oh, he looks just like his mommy!" -- but now it's so much more. What I mean is, I can now see so much of our personalities in you, too. You share your daddy's problem-solving spirit, a mind for logistics and well-laid plans and an unwavering idea of what is right. You share my sensitivity and emotional heart; finding comfort in closeness, completely well-versed in describing the intricacies of human emotion. While I can spot bits and pieces of us in you, there is so much of you that is so incredible and unique. It feels so easy to just sit and watch you with wonder. At three, you seem so much wiser than I am at nearly thirty and I have to wonder where you inherit your wisdom from, your ability to see the world for what it is.
You are still shy, though I've watched you come out of your shell slowly, and a little more as each day passes. You are slowly finding your niche and your confidence and your place in this world though I fear you are so much like me and this will take more work than it does for most people. If you take away nothing else from our early years together, I want you to remember that you will always have me and you will never be alone. I wonder how it was possible for so much time to pass since your birth, how my chubby little infant is now one year away from Pre-K and only two short years away from kindergarten. I am not ready for this, for any of it, but I will find peace in the ability to watch you grow. Every growing pain, every new milestone, they are reminders of life's fragility and I will never let you shatter, I will never let you fall.
At three, you are more like one of the grown-ups than the other roughhousing kids on the playground and I so very much cherish our talks and our time together, the way you create games where others would just see scattered toys or sticks and leaves. Your imagination is bigger and brighter than the sun and it is one of my greatest hopes that you never let it dim, that you never let life dull the vastness of your creativity. I often joke that you are my keeper, reminding me when it's time to eat or when I've left my wallet in the car again. You are so mindful of everything and everyone around you and you've helped me to open my own eyes again when stepping out into a world in which I thought I had nothing left to learn. You are constantly teaching me and challenging me.
I love your laugh and your gentle spirit. I love the companion that you are, my partner in all of our daily adventures. I love your heart, how pure and sweet it is. I even love your stubbornness. My pride in you overwhelms me every day.
And so, my sweet little man, you are three. I hope you have a fantastic birthday and realize how much love surrounds you, how many lives you touch, how many people stand behind you. You are my best friend, the love of my life, my yellow bird.
While technically I gave you life, the truth is it was you who gave me life.
Happy third birthday, my little lovebug. May your day be as bright as you have made all of our days since the day you were born three years ago.