Sunday, March 26, 2017

dear maddox//four years

dear maddox,

happy, happy birthday my sweet little love. today you are four. today you have lived on this earth for one thousand four hundred and sixty days, each one more perfect and precious than the last. i should not be surprised that we are here already, with how cruel time rushes past us, but i am. as i look back through my last letters to you and look through your baby pictures and remember where i was at exactly this time four-years-ago (sitting in my doctor's appointment when she said, "let's have a baby tonight! you would be born the following day at two twenty seven in the afternoon.), i cry tears of joy over you, sweet boy. you already asked me, "mama, will you be sad tomorrow?" your sweet empathetic heart, worried about others, always.

the answer is yes, yes i will be sad tomorrow. i will watch you play with your friends and open your presents and be surrounded by people who love and cherish you and i will rejoice for this community of people who love you, who love us. but i will be sad as you turn another year older and suddenly say a word that you've never been able to say, like how you can suddenly say "okay," instead of "otay." i will be sad that these moments are fleeting, that the years are fast and that you are moving more towards independence. you promised me that you will give me cuddles tomorrow and then i cried again, wondering just how you are all the best parts of us, with a little flair of attitude thrown in for good measure. you also like to say, "i'll always be your baby goose. i'm your baby goose, amin't i?" and you are, forever and always.

can i tell you what happened a few weeks ago? i can't even remember now what sparked the tantrum, i'm sure it was something to do with not enough books before your nap, but your fit was a new kind of mad. we let you be upset and quietly shut the door as you balled your little hands into fists and screamed until your face was red. we went back to whatever we were doing and i heard you calling for me after a few minutes of silence. and my sweet boy, i didn't instantly rush to you. i thought you were calling me back to argue some more but after a few straight minutes of you yelling for me, i finally went to you, and do you know what you said? you said, "i just want to apologize for yelling like that." i think that i sat on the bed and held you in my arms until i could keep it together but all the while, sitting in utter amazement at your three-year-old self, apologizing for your actions without being prompted and not because you wanted anything in return. sometimes i can't even do that.

my heart explodes daily. when you tell me a joke (you're all about jokes now), or ask if that's a damn coffee maker or tell me i'm your favorite people or make a wish in the wishing pool at the library for your little sister to come home soon or tell me how you're so good at sharing so you'll be the best big brother. you make up games and songs and entertain yourself when i can't. you play with your tiny dinosaurs and can list off probably every single dinosaur there ever was and tell me how they died (dust cloud, obviously), and what fossils are and your favorite facts about every single one. you are a little sponge because i think everything with teeth is a t-rex and you are ready to correct my errors and to teach me everything you know. you are brilliant and kind and wonderful and funny and you are the best part about this life.

i think i am surprised that we are here at four because we have moved so far beyond your baby years. i look at those pictures and videos in awe because that was lifetimes ago. when you used to say, "i'mma know?" instead of "i don't know," with that perfect little inflection at the end. now you can rattle off words like "pachycephalosaurus" and i have to sound it out every single time.

you have taught me more in these four short years than i think i learned in my lifetime before you. i didn't know that i could love someone as much as i love you, but it still surprises me. when i drop you off with one of your grandmas and i fight every nerve as it screams to go back to you. this thing we do now, this push and pull of letting go and testing independence. it's an exercise in letting go and i'm terrible at it.

you have been talking about your birthday for months now. and yes, the pain of you growing older will be there, as i wonder how time could possibly move as fast as it does and how swiftly it has carried us from your first day of life, to now your fourth birthday. i rejoice over you, am thankful for you, cannot imagine a more fortunate existence. i love you to pluto and around the sun, more and more and most.

i will forever be turned inside out, because you are my son.

i love you, i love you, i love you.

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