Wednesday, November 01, 2006
A Long-Awaited Day
It is the eve of your fourth birthday. There has been much talk of it, much anticipation and eagerness. You have practiced holding up four fingers instead of three. We had a party for you on Saturday; you dressed like an astronaut and your eyes shone like the stars. You were surrounded by people who love you, people who have watched you grow over the last four years. How quickly they have gone by, these days with you. You who are full of life and laughter and opinions and stories and will.
When you went to bed tonight I lay down with you and told you the story of the Autumn night on which you were born. It was much like this night was, cold and clear with stars like frozen diamonds in the sky. I spared you most of the details, but when I said that I had to work hard and that I had some pain you scrunched up your face and asked with all sweetness "Is this what your face looked like when you had that pain?" I told you how Daddy walked with me, how Daddy held me and reminded me that you would be born soon. And when finally you were in our arms what joy we felt, our boy, brand new, dark hair and dark eyes, a life entrusted to our care, tiny, precious. I told you how you cried, and Daddy leaned close to you and spoke, and at the familiar sound of his voice you turned toward him and grew quiet. As you heard this story tonight you tucked into your blankets, your big blankets in your big bed, and pretended to be that tiny baby once again.
But you are changed, no longer that baby who needed me for your very life and sustenance. You are racing toward independence, becoming the person you will be. I lingered with you tonight, feeling the passage of time, saying goodbye to three and hello to four. It's only one day's difference, but it feels big. It's unstoppable, this thing called time. I kissed you and hugged you, feeling your arms around my neck. (Arms that fly toy airplanes and throw rocks and swing swords.) Some people give bear hugs, but you "boa constrict" me when you want to give me your strongest, fiercest hug. And I boa constrict you right back, wanting to hold on to my little boy. Tonight one hug and kiss wasn't enough, (it's never enough) and we did it again. I looked at you and told you with all seriousness that this was the last kiss and the last hug as a three year old, that you would never be three again. You looked sober for half a second at the thought of that, but soon gave way to merriment once again.
Daddy took us out for dinner tonight; you ate pot-stickers and rice with "pump" sauce. You exclaimed several times how much you loved this meal. In the parking lot afterward, I crouched down next to you and we breathed into the cold night air, breathed dragon smoke together. We breathed dragon smoke, and roared, and laughed. Daddy bought you a new sword, one with a sheath, and when we got home you knelt down in front of him and he knighted you with it. You were full of excitement.
I don't know when this happened, this bigness. You have a different look, different even then a few months ago. You are becoming more somehow, more you, more complex, more of who you will be. I'm glad that God chose me and Daddy to walk this road with you. We hardly feel equal to the task, but that keeps us crying out for wisdom. You were our baby, our firstborn; you are our boy. We love you, with all that is in us.
Here's to many more adventures together, my sweet Peregrine.
And a very happy birthday!
I love you always. (And I love you more.)