Today my beautiful Rondel turns three years old.
Three seems so young, and yet I can hardly believe that my baby is getting so big so fast. Sometimes it feels like his babyhood was an epoch past, the sleepless nights pacing with a crying infant a half-remembered dream from another life, and yet it was only three years ago that I began that adventure, three years ago that my newborn’s first reaction to meeting his mom was to start nursing with the most enthusiastic latch ever, three years ago that my life changed in more ways than I can number.
The memories fade and feel so distant, leaving me with just the three-year-old Rondel to know and love and guide through life. The Rondel who talks constantly – to me, to himself, as one toy to another – and turns his emotions and stories into songs. The Rondel who lives in a world of his imagination, populated by his toys and the characters from the books he loves. The Rondel who calls his little brother his best friend, and asks for him when he’s napping. The Rondel who articulates his needs and feelings incredibly well, and comes up with strategies to handle his sensitivities and struggles that I wouldn’t even think of. The Rondel who who still loves to snuggle and will burrow himself into me for cuddles.
And someday that Rondel will be gone too, just memories, built into his older and more-defined self. It is such a privilege and a joy to watch him grow, to help him grow, to be a part of his maturing, but I’m starting to realize that it may be bittersweet.
But for him, right now, it is all joy as he gains new skills and knowledge, as the big world around him becomes more understandable and accessible, as the big world within him becomes richer and less unmanageable.
Happy birthday, big boy! I love you!