You are three years old today. Our days of having a two year old in the house are gone. That would be a little sad if it weren’t for how wonderful the past year has been. I can’t be sad over something that was so good.
You have certainly changed from little toddler to little boy. Anytime I call you “Baby Boy” (a nickname I have for you) you remind me that you are “not a baby – I am big!” Right you are. You grow taller, stronger, faster all the time.
Your vocabulary continues to amaze us. What is perhaps stranger than your absolutely limitless word bank is that you understand us so very well. We can explain something quite complicated and you get it. You pick up words to songs or phrases with no effort and then randomly repeat this back to us at oddly appropriate times. Of course your constant talking exhibits itself in humorous ways. You love to break into a quiet moment at the supper table with your catchphrase, “HOT CHICKEN!!!” Sometimes we get a “Go Dordt!” or a “Let’s get this party started!” But by far my favorite Hunter-ism is the way you often say “Thanks so much, Sugar!”
You are smart and you want to learn. There are many times, however, when your sisters are doing something beyond your years and you get frustrated. They are so good to you. They are patient, kind and loving. Sometimes they play trucks with you just to make your heart happy. You are always bummed when they get on the bus in the morning. After they wave at you and you at them, you turn around and I can almost see you counting the moments until they burst back in the door. You love them intensely. If you are upset about something, you seek one of them out for comfort. The three of you are a sweet team.
Let’s not be mistaken though – you are tough and rugged!! You don’t play Barbies or dolls just because your sisters do. No, you like trucks and tractors and balls and running and jumping. The miles you have crawled on your knees I could not imagine. Sometimes you like legos or puzzles, but most of the time you’re driving something or other on the living room floor.
You are still my little sidekick. Every morning you ask me where we are going today. We go on lots of adventures, you and I. This fall we spent countless hours at Big Rock Park, a wooded park with trails not far from our house. You LOVE to hike at Big Rock Park. We tromped through the leaves and explored the woods together – just you and me. We saw deer and squirrels and beautiful trees. You soaked it up and only rarely asked to be carried because your legs felt “busy”. We do lots of things together and I have to tell you how much I treasure all this one-on-one time with you. Someday you too will be at school, so these days when I have you with me are a precious gift that I am storing in my heart.
I always reach for your hand, and many times you will reach for mine. But sometimes you pull away because you want more independence. There are times I can let you have your way, and there are times when I have to force you to let me hold on. This is the constant challenge with parenting – figuring out when I can let go and when I need to stay close and when I need to just hold you close. You love to explore and try new things. I love how you are brave and daring with just a touch of caution thrown in. You look at me and tell me how big you are. I smile and nod while my heart beats in my throat.
As you reach for more and more space, I will ever be the one staring after you – watching in a mixture of wonder and worry. There are bigger, harder milestones down the road, but I will be cheering you on, encouraging you and nodding back at you. Even after your little two year old voice has deepened, when you ask me “Mom, do you see me?!” I will smile, look up at you and say, “Oh yes! I see you!” And what I mean every time I say that is that yes, I see all of the years of your life and they are a joy to my heart.
I pray that you will always be so vibrant and full of life. I pray that your heart will hunger and thirst for more and more of Jesus all the time. I pray that joy will mark each and every one of your days – even if those days are sometimes challenging. I pray that your curiosity and sense of adventure will draw you ever nearer to the One who is the most mysterious and wondrous of all. He has awesome adventures in store for you, my son.
You changed our world three years ago. We were thrilled and nervous to add a little boy to our family. You have been so much better than we could have ever dreamed or asked. You make us laugh and you are the sparkle in our days. You are, quite simply, a delight. So when you are all done with falling asleep on our shoulder or needing help to go potty or holding our hand on a walk in the woods, I will look back on this time as the magical blessed gift that it has been. And I will be joyful in my expectation for all the good yet to come in your life.
Happy Birthday Little Man.
I love you so.