Monday, February 2, 2009

Fantastic four

This is you. Today. On your fourth birthday.

This is you. In your birthday shirt. On your birthday bike. On your favorite day of the year.

I understand that each day is unique. Each day is special. Once lived, you can never get any particular day back. But on these most special days, I am more acutely aware that today is the only fourth birthday you will have. That today is the only fourth birthday I will get to help you celebrate.

How did I get here? How did I come to be staring through this lens at my four year old. I remember many of the milestones along the way. The momentous occasions. The achievements. Even the most despairing moments. But most of the 1,461 days in between are fuzzy.

I remember being pregnant and feeling you swimming and squirming around inside me.

I remember those first few days when you were a tiny newborn, and I was trying to figure out who you were as a little person and who I was as a mother.

I remember how special I felt in those early weeks when strangers would ask me how old you were and I could answer them in weeks.

I remember pinching your plump thighs. Running my hair across your face to make you laugh. Taking countless pictures of you with your toes in your mouth.

I remember watching you bounce and bounce in your Jump-a-roo. I remember chasing you around and around the kitchen island as you pushed your dump truck and giggled a deep belly laugh.

I remember recording your first words and then marveling as your vocabulary grew beyond what my little journal could hold.

I remember a few days when you pushed and pulled and twisted every boundary you met, while I chased after you, picking up broken pieces and stepping between you and peril — just in the nick of time.

I remember the delight and discovery of two, and the urgency and upheaval of three. I remember teaching you about opposites and metaphors and things that go together. I remember tantrums and turmoil and striking bargains to avoid meltdowns.

I remember your first smiles, your first steps, and your first day of preschool. I remember the first song you sang from beginning to end. I remember the look on your face the first time you tasted chocolate.

But I don't remember the millions of moments in between that stack all those milestones together. I can't recall off the top of my head how old you were when you stopped breastfeeding. I don't know exactly when you last sat in your baby swing or ate rice cereal or pooped in a diaper. These days it's even difficult to recall what our conversations were like when you didn't have any concept of time or when you weren't yet able to form full sentences. So many of your milestones are progressive that's it's difficult to rewind my memory precisely. To back up the counter to a particular point in time and recapture what we were like then. What life felt like at that specific moment.

But a montage of highlights rolls through my head like faded filmstrip footage on these special days. The scenes that connect then to now somehow align as I watch you ride your big boy bike down the block. And suddenly the in-between doesn't matter. What matters is You. Here. Today. In all your fabulous four-ness. And what matters is Me. Here. Today. Watching you. Cherishing you. And cheering you on as you take on the big stuff. First training wheels. Then two wheelers. Then whatever comes next.

Happy, happy, happy birthday, my Josheroo.

Those were the days
when we had childish dreams
We’d run through the house
chasing our cares away

Turn on the sprinklers
we’d roll in the evening grass
laughing until we cried

And I love the lovely years
No worries — no fears
Oh what a great life

— Fisher, "The Lovely Years"

1 comment:

Sus said...

Happy Birthday Josh. Four IS a long way from three isn't it? And a light year from four years and a day ago.

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