Dear Kid: Three Years (and Merry Christmas)

It’s two months after your birthday, but I can't procrastinate into the next year, so I find myself delivering this message to you the day before Christmas Eve.  That seems fitting and appropriate, however, because you are just beginning to catch on to just how rad this particular holiday can be.

Today you are 1,183 days old.  This means that even in our darkest hours together, you have brought us 1,183 days of joy.

And this year has no doubt been filled with dark hours.  In the first part of 2014, you lost both of your grandparents on your dad’s side.  Your capacity to process that experience at 2.5 years old was incredible.  Your whole demeanor changed that month.  You knew something had gone terribly wrong; you understood the permanent void that would indelibly exist.  This loss once again reminded me of the incredible impact we as parents have on our children. 

This Christmas, I am thankful for the smiles you bring to your dad’s face on a nearly minute by minute basis, and that we are able to use your presence in our lives to create our own holiday traditions and memories with you. 

Perhaps the biggest change we have seen in you this year is your increased capacity to communicate – both with us and with strangers.  Most of the time this leaves me coyly smiling to strangers, beaming with pride and sharing a knowing nod that says, “Yes, I know my child is gifted - a genius, basically.”

Other times, what you contribute verbally to strangers makes me – and certainly your father - want to self-combust, disappear in to space, or, in dire circumstances, offer your hand to said stranger and say, “I found this young child wandering around with no supervision.  Did you see him with an adult earlier?” 

Costco seems to be your verbal bomb location of choice, where you often kick your volume level up to that of a Five Finger Death Punch concert, and vehemently express your desire for things like chocolate asscream.  Frozen has also taken over our lives, and so perhaps one of your more memorable Costco performances included your rendition of “Let it Go,” where, despite constant attempts on our part to set you straight, you (still) insist that the lyrics sung at the song’s peak emotional crescendo are “The bastard’s in the past!”  (Please note: the correct lyrics are "The past is in the past.").  You sing this line with extra gusto, and the understandable response you receive from innocent passersby only seems to fuel your desire to provide an encore that we're all begging you not to provide.   

But truly, your vocabulary is extraordinary.  You regularly use 3 and 4 syllable words with us and in the right context.

Concentrate on me Daddy.”

“Mom, you are frustrating me right now.”  (This is actually a 3 syllable word but you change it to four.)

And, as if I really need a verbal reflection on everything I say, you often whip out these little gems:

While leaving the house:  “Alrighty then, let’s hit it.”

While picking up toys:  “Ummm, a little help here?”

When we do anything you don’t really want us to do: “Shame on you, Mommy.”  “I’m disappointed in you, Daddy.”

When we ask you to finish your dinner plate before dessert:  “You’re killin’ me guys.”

And my personal favorite, when I am trying to reprimand you: (*Slowly puts index finger up to my mouth*) “Shhhhhhh, Mom.  Listen.” (*Raises one eyebrow*)

Your ability to communicate has also brought to light just how unreasonable you are being when you throw fits, because we finally know WHY you are throwing fits.  We are no longer afforded the luxury of giving you the benefit of the doubt. He’s tired, we’d say.  His stomach must be upset, we’d rationalize.  He is NO DOUBT HAVING GROWING PAINS we would shout over the screaming. 

You also take pleasure in losing your mother loving shit over the fact that I stirred your yogurt.  Or that Gus the Dog jumped off of the couch.  Or that we ran out of lotion.  And to think, I thought we’d just have a little dry skin that evening.

And yes, you’ve used your share of expletives.  I’ll have to talk to your…eh’em…father…about that foul language of his.  Moving on.

You cuddle. 

You think Spiderman and Jake the Pirate are cool but you love princesses – specifically Rapunzel.  You can play the game Memory better than I can.  You love to visit with MorMor and tease Papa.  You are literally witty.  Witty.  At three years old.

You laugh often and unabashedly.  You are a gracious gift giver and receiver and almost always say thank you without being prompted. You know when someone is sad, because I can visibly see you are hurting for them.  You know what it means to miss people.  You know the importance of telling people you miss them.      

You have made it a habit to name all of the people you love before I tuck you in at night.

In so many ways, each and every day, you show me what Christmas is really all about. 

And to think, I thought I would be the one showing you.    Thank you for that.



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