Today you are four. On this momentous occasion, all I can really think to say is, BEING A PARENT IS SO HARD. And this day means that I still have 14 more years of it to get through.
I love you so much that it makes it hard to say the following, but somehow I think I'll muddle through: HOLY JEEZ at those lungs you have. You've suddenly found yourself in a place in your life when it seems like a good idea to scream, writhe, and throw tantrums for an hour or so at a time, for terrible offenses done to you by your awful family such as opening the yogurt wrong, giving you a bath ever, or taking off your shoes before we try to put on your jeans.
Let me just reiterate: On Thanksgiving day, you got your pants wet so we had to change them, and you had an hour-and-a-half fit because I took your shoes off before I put the clean jeans on. Because taking the shoes off makes them get "all sprinkley". And I tried every thing I knew to appease you; I offered to put the shoes back on before putting the jeans on, to change your socks, to clean out the shoes (whatever that means), to give you a gold monkey, and to put on different shoes. You made it incredibly clear that the only thing you wanted, the ONLY acceptable option at that time, was to never have taken the shoes off in the first place.
Honestly I don't know what in hell you're talking about half the time, but as long as you're not yelling, I sure do like to listen. Recently you asked if I got "that" from across the street. I had no idea what "that" was, and I was too afraid to ask because I knew it might displease you for me not to know, so I flew by the seat of my pants and said "No, Kristi gave it to you." And you were absolutely enlightened and satisfied with my answer, so much so that you then wanted to know if she also has "Wall-E ones". I told you I don't know, but I'll sure ask.
Before I forget- Kristi, do you have Wall-E ones?
Anyways, Reed, you are testing every limit I got to the point where I think, I will never be the same, some of these things will never go back to the way they once were, and it's not a bad thing, only a weird thing. Honestly I can't describe how weird it is to be a parent, to have known you when you were a squiggly baby, and then a tottering toddler, and now a little boy.
One day you were running through the house making car noises, and I suddenly looked at Jason and said, "Oh, Christ, one day he'll be a teenager." Because that's part of this whole parenting thing for me: I frequently forget that all these periods, these moments in time, are only moments, are finite. I remember when you were a teeny baby, and I was so tired, and I was telling Ma that I wasn't sure if I'd make it. She said, "Just remember that none of this is forever. It only lasts a little while." I have since passed that little jewel on to most of the pregnant women I've known and some of the non-pregnant women who talk about having kids one day because, for me, it was so easy to think, Okay, here it is, this is the rest of my life, this sleeping for an hour or two at a time and always feeling sweaty and scared and anxious and nauseated and wrong and unsure.
Point is, I remind myself of that fact all the time, that this won't last long, that before I know it you'll be all grown and I'll be going, Wait, where did my time go with my baby? Because I already listen to you sing songs and describe movies and shows and watch you draw pictures and think, Where did my time go with my baby? Thank the good Lord that, right now, you'll still kiss and hug me, even in front of "your children" at the daycare. And a couple of months ago I spied you holding two stuffed dogs up and pressing their mouths together, making kissing noises. HA. Sometimes you're sweet as pie.
For at least a little longer, I'm going to keep thinking of you as my sweet baby, even though I know you're not a baby any more. Because even if they're few and far between, I still get moments where you snuggle in my lap, or kiss my cheek, or tell me you missed me, or stroke my hair, just because you feel like it.
I love you,