Wednesday afternoon you would not go down for your nap. You kept knocking on the door, saying, “Mom, I can’t sleep!” over and over again. You just started calling me “Mom” on Wednesday. Before that, it has always been “Mama” and “Mommy.” Please don’t grow up so fast.
So, I went up and told you to try to sleep because I knew you would be tired if you didn’t and because I need to rest too at nap time. Finally, I went up at 3 p.m. to get you and when I saw how tired you seemed, I asked you if we could snuggle together for just a few minutes before we went downstairs. You were asleep within just a few minutes, snoring beside me, so I stayed and stared at your face. There was a little sunlight that kept peeking in from the blown shade of the open window and it laid across you and danced a bit across the bridge of your nose. You looked so little, so perfect. It occurred to me that at three and a half years old, that makes you the longest job I’ve ever had. And I wondered, how did you get to be three?
They say this time flies, they say blink and you’ll miss it, they say they’ll be grown up before you know it. I believe them. I believe that I will find myself suddenly staring at my grown boys towering above me and wonder how it happened so fast. But I also know that right now, with a three-year-old and a one-year-old, sometimes time seems to be ticking by at a snail’s pace and I’ll dream of a day when I can sleep in again, when I can write again, when I can clean multiple rooms in my house in one sitting, when I can some day feel like a productive, put-together, showered human being. But as soon as I start wishing for all the time in the world, I realize how quiet my day will be without you and I miss you.
I love being your mommy. And you love being my little boy. Early in the day, around lunch time, you are already putting in your request that I read you your bedtime story. At first, I would resist this because it’s helpful to me when Daddy puts you to bed; then I can get a few things done. But, lately, I don’t resist because I love it. You fill the house with chatter and imagination all day long. You can pick up any two objects and begin a story. Often times it’s your crust of bread and your apple peels, which leads to a looooong breakfast or lunch. You never want to stick around for dinner. Thursday morning I heard you putting one of your toys in time-out using the exact dialogue that you and I had had when I put you in time-out the day before. It was hilarious.
You spend a lot of time in time-out these days. Mainly because you don’t listen to me when I ask you to do or stop doing something. Mainly because you knock Charlie over a lot. Earlier in the week, I thought you and Charlie were playing nicely on the rug, until I looked over and you were furiously trying to close the sliding glass door as fast as you could and lock it. When I went over to see what was going on, there was Charlie, sitting underneath the patio table looking in at us.
Charlie adores you and as he gets older and more playful, I think you are starting to like him too. I love hearing you try to explain things to Charlie as if he has any idea what you are saying. You get pretty frustrated with him sometimes because he wants to play with you but he doesn’t understand the rules. I guess that’s why I get frustrated with you sometimes too. We both need to be gentler with those who love us who are littler than us.
A few days ago as I was strapping you into your car seat, you looked at me and said, “Mommy, you’re my best friend.” I loved that. There are certain things about you right now that I would bottle up and keep forever if I could so that some day when you’re grown up, I could just pull them down off the shelf and experience them again. I’d keep your little legs. You’re such a skinny, wiry little thing. I’d keep your big-mouthed laugh and your contagious tummy tickling giggle. I’d keep your mischief. I’d keep your forehead, so that I could rub my hand across it. I’d even keep some tears to wipe off your soft, little cheeks. I’d keep you singing Michael Jackson in the car. I’d keep you doing Zizzer Zazzer Zuz somersaults in your bed. I’d keep your little butt when you pull down your pants to pee in the most inappropriate places (i.e. outside church). I’d keep the conversations you have with your circus elephant and the little voice you’ve decided your elephant likely has. I’d keep you punching the tigers at the circus, sitting on my lap, your hand in the popcorn box. I’d keep you in the fort, laughing with Charlie. I’d keep every last question you ask me. I’d keep all these things and I’d get them all down and I’d snuggle with them and I’d laugh with them and I’d hug them as tight as I could to my heart.
But I’d just want this jar for visiting from time to time. You, Finny, my little boy, you, I want to grow. Keep growing. Keep learning. Keep doing more and more exciting things. I want to experience them.
It’s hard to put into words how much I love you. But I have to try. Because even when I’m a mean, nasty, tired, grouchy, frustrated mommy, even then, there is nothing more precious to me in this world than your little face looking back at me. Even when you’re lying about the fact that you did indeed just push Charlie over.
I love you, my Finn. Always. Always. Always.