Luke, you are three! Three! After months and months of talking about it endlessly and telling everyone and everybody that your birthday is October 19th and that right now you are two but on October 19th you will be three, October 19th finally did arrive and at 7.00 on the dot, you banged on your door and yelled, "MAMA!!! I got up at seven-zero-zero!" and I went downstairs and gave you a big hug and said, "Happy Birthday Little Bear!" You got to watch two episodes of Curious George instead of your usual one as a birthday treat and then you went to school all dressed up because picture day corresponded nicely with your birthday. We took apple slices and honey and caramel (caramel SAUCE you were quick to remind me each time I mentioned it) for dipping as a birthday snack treat for your class and then I drove around doing errands while you were at school all day reflecting on how very different my life was from three years ago on that day.
I wrote about your birth here. I re-read it from time to time and it seems like a lifetime ago and simultaneously thirty seconds ago . You now do all these things I could not even begin to imagine you doing three years ago. You talk. I know you have been talking for ages and ages, but you talk all the time about everything and anything. I know you don't know every word in the world, but it feels like you have the words for everything you need in your little world. You walk. I know you have been walking forever, but now you run, hop, try to skip (it's more like a gallop) and climb the ladder at the playground with an ease you seem to have possessed forever but it's really only been about a month. You eat. You use a fork and a spoon most of the time and the only meal that really created a complete mess is still mac n' cheese, which always correlates directly with bath night. Shh, don't tell anyone but you don't get a bath every night. Dirt is good for you.
I cannot grasp all that you have taken in over the last three years. Three years sounds like such a long time, but it skipped by in a flash. In three years I learned enough to pass the Utah Bar. In three years you have learned your numbers, colors and letters, how to smile, put yourself to sleep, and almost get dressed. You know that the clock says 7.00 a.m., how to spoon tomatoes into jars for canning, how to use an iPad, an iPhone and any other device that requires tapping a screen, how to dig in the garden, carry an egg without squeezing it too hard, how to feed Buddy his dog food, load the dryer and help me sort clothes. You finally worked up the courage to ride on an animal on the carousel at the Zoo and you can climb into the car and into your carseat by yourself. You know how to give the best hugs and huge smacking kisses on our cheeks. You memorize books after reading them once or twice and you tell people you are good when they ask, "how are you?" You remember to say please, thank you, you’re welcome and excuse me most of the time. You constantly amaze me. I am in awe of how much you have accomplished and figured out on your own.
You are mind-bogglingly stubborn. You have a very clear sense of what you want in life. You will hold out for fifteen, twenty, thirty minutes in hopes of getting what you want even if I have made it clear I am not going to give in. You can be very bossy. You tell me all the time that I have to do something. You get upset with your teachers sometimes if they aren't singing the song that you wanted. You often try to "help" your classmates (whom you call "your kids") with things they don't want help with. But you also, so your teachers told me at you parent-teacher conference, are a leader and the kids look up to you. My heart burst with pride when I heard this. But more importantly, they told me you are an exceptionally happy kid and this made me so very happy. Your father’s and my greatest wish for you is to be happy in your life and to be happy with who you are and with those around you. To know that you are happy gives me hope that somehow between all of the timeouts, the lectures, the frustrations and the battles, we are doing something right. We are giving you a home that you love and where you are safe and secure and content. We are trying so hard to be good parents and hopefully you know that in the last three years, it is you who have given your parents the greatest gift - we are so very lucky to be your parents. We love you little bear.