My son turned three this last weekend. Three-years old. I’ve caught myself thinking about those words a few times over the last couple of weeks. Three years. It seems like such a short period of time. I mean, in the grand scheme of things, it really is a short period of time. But it’s amazing what those fast-flying years can encompass.
Three years ago, we brought him back from the hospital. He was tiny and frail, and I kept thinking I was going to hold him wrong or bend something the wrong way. It was insane to think that my wife and I had been put in charge of this little human being. Mostly, because it was ME (my wife would have done fine regardless). I sometimes had tenuous control of my own life…and now I was one of the people entrusted with someone else’s? That realization can do powerful things, I think. It makes you think about what you want in life: what’s important and what you’re doing with yourself. It makes you take the focus off of “you” and even your significant other, for a while at least, and realize that there’s something bigger now.
I made a promise to my son in those first couple of days he was in our house. I promised that, no matter what happened in life, no matter how crazy it was in our house, I would be there for him. It didn’t matter what he did that might anger or disappoint others, I would always be there for him. Unconditionally. I know, it’s pretty cheesy – I think a lot of parents think those thoughts and mean them – but I said it out loud to him. I said it while holding and rocking him one night, trying to calm him when he was upset, and I meant every last syllable of the words I spoke.
As he gets older, he tries to test me on my resolve. He does things for sheer spite, it seems at times. He fights me and pushes me and makes me so angry I feel myself turning red. But I’m never really angry at him; only his emotions and actions. And he can turn that anger away quickly with a quick smile and a laugh, or a familiar phrase. It’s amazing, really.
I’m beginning to realize that these early years of his truly are fleeting. Three years. In the grand scheme of things, it’s a drop in the bucket…but they fly by quickly. So I’ll soak in the morning naps on the couch with him. I’ll cherish the times he comes to me and asks don’t I want to go to his room and play legos? I’ll hang on to the cute way he says certain things (“Is that a good idea?” after every idea he comes up with, for example). I’ll savor the way he tells his mother that sometimes he just wants “Daddy Time”, and wants her to go away so we can hang out together. I am hanging on to it all…because the last three years sometimes feel like a blur. But they’re some of the best of my life.
Happy birthday, little monkey.