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Three.

Three years old.

Three years ago my world filled with more joy than I ever could have imagined–and I have a good imagination! I figured it’d be awfully darned wonderful to have a child around to love, but really?  I had no idea.

Henry, you are a delight.  You amaze me with your compassion and your kindness, your silly jokes and your intensity.  You are such a little person–no, you’re a big person temporarily trapped in a small body.  So much personality; it’s no wonder you’re growing by leaps & bounds–it’s just an attempt to contain it all.

I have to tell you–everyone warned me about ‘Two’.  “Two is hard,” they told me.  “Tantrums.  Potty training.  Inappropriate aggression.  Picky eating.  You’ll hate it.”

Hah.  I loved two.  As did you.  Last night when we were talking about the importance of today’s anniversary you thought a moment, then rather plaintively said, “But Mommy, I like being two.”  I know you did, kiddo.  You wore ‘two’ like a superhero cape, all bright primary colors and trying to fly.  You were very happy or you were very sad.  You learned about moods.  I learned how important it is to keep you well-rested & topped up with food!  Frustration is hard for you, as is the fear that someone is angry with you.  Which I understand, so we have an agreement now that I will be super-clear if I’m getting angry so you won’t have to guess if I’m teasing or really angry.  It’s helped, as has talking through different responses you could give if someone says ‘something’ to you.

You want sharks to be nice.  You want tigers to merely be misunderstood.  You’re pretty sure Cruella Deville is a very nice lady who’s just dressing up for Halloween.  In a perfect Henry world, there would be no mean people or animals or bad situations anywhere.  Actually, that sounds pretty good, that perfect Henry world.  Can I live there too for a while longer?

And yeah, there was the shattered elbow.  Boy did that ever suck, eh?  But we’re getting over it.  And as soon as that damned cast came off, you were back to your sunny, easy-going self, so one-handedness?  It’s not so bad.  Not as bad as sleeplessness, apparently.  Speaking of the Year of the Elbow, you think your therapists are splendidly nice ladies who just like to take you swimming and play with nifty toys.  You still get frustrated when something doesn’t yield easily to The Good Hand’s solo efforts, but sometimes I’ll look over and see you concentrating like mad, your tongue peeking out from between your teeth as you grip a lego or a pen lid or some other recalcitrant small toy in The Not-so-Good Hand.  And then I’ll realize that it’s. coming. along.  Slowly but surely, we’re getting you back to the land of two-handedness.

You love your books, and it seems like you’re ‘this close’ to reading them on your own, but you’ve been there for a few months now, so maybe it’s just a fond mama idea.  But I do love coming in in the morning and seeing you ‘reading’ books–piles of books–to all your critters.  You’ve started spreading your affections about a bit amongst the stuffed toys.  You’re still clutching Real in the middle of the night when I check on you, but as often as not, another toy gets pride of place next to you in the car, or in your fort.  Trains aren’t so important anymore, although the recent acquisition of “Kelly the Tow Train” has you practically giddy with glee.  But I suspect that’s just because for you right now, it’s all construction vehicles all the time.  I never knew so much about CAT vehicles.  I never wanted to know so much about them.  But it’s cool to see you developing your own interests and dragging us all along with you.  For you, I have learned to be excited by the sight of a tower crane or a bulldozer on the side of the highway.  If that’s not true mama-love, I don’t know what is.

You are compassionate and kind.  You’re shy now, which you weren’t a year ago, but you’re easily won over by people who aren’t too insistent.  You bring toys to your friends when they’re crying.  You share with babies.  You talk a lot about rescuing animals and people.  You make plans for how to keep your smaller friends safe from bigger, slightly more rambunctious friends or dangerous situations.  Your sweetness eases so many of my fears for you.  You are a charming boy.

And you are a big boy now–big enough that it’s sometimes tough to snuggle you on my lap, arms and legs tucked underneath, the way you crave, but you’re still my Snuggle Puppy.  You’ll always be my Silly Monster.  I love you not to the moon and back, but to the stars and back “because, Mommy, the stars are much farther away.”  So they are, kiddo.  As far away as the edge of the Universe and back, that’s how much and how long and how far I love you.

Being your mommy is more fun every day.  I am the luckiest woman in the world to have you for a son and your daddy for a husband.  Life is so very good these days that it’s hard to believe it’s our real life, that this is the life you’ll grow up knowing and–I hope–loving as much as I do.  Tomorrow is the first day of school, with all its attendant joys and sorrows.  Teachers, friends, a life separate from Mommy as your life has never been before.  I’m so proud of you, so eager to watch you navigate your way through this world.

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And honestly, I can’t wait to see what “Three” brings!

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