Happy birthday, darling!
Today you are three years old. You can’t understand this now, but time is so strange when you’re a grown up. It seems like you’ve been with us always, and yet it also seems like you were born just yesterday. It took a little less than three years for your Daddy and I to meet, fall in love and get married. Don’t worry, it was love at first sight with you.
Let me tell you a little about who you are at this moment in time. You are a pint-sized comedian. You make silly faces and funny voices all the time. I don’t know where they come from, except that there is a funny bone inside of you. You crack us up and also lose yourself in deep belly laughs just about everyday. Speaking of bellies, you have the best one! It is big, round and Buddha-like. We comment on it so often that it has become a point of pride for you. After meals you like to open the window (pull up your shirt) and show us how big it is. I can’t resist kissing it; the skin there feels as soft as your whole body did when you were first born.
You are smart! You’re picking up your letters and numbers at lightening speed. You’re also very good at rhymes and keep pointing them out to me. Recyling and trampoline was my favorite. I like that you were a two-year old who knew both of those words and could detect the scant rhyme they share. Your ear is fine-tuned to the world around you. You insist on listening to classical music on the radio and are enthralled whenever we hear it live. The mother inside me wonders if you are a muscial genius. Even if you’re not, I’m glad that you love it. I hope music will always be a big part of your life.
We have a had a busy year. Here’s a list of some of our activities: Italian, French and Spanish story-times (Oh, English, too): The Magic Flute Opera, The Tiger and the Brahman Ballet, Carnival of the Animals Ballet, strawberry picking at a farm, petting zoos, trips to an urban organic farm/commune, meeting and watching Elmo and Cookie Monster sing and dance, riding on Thomas the Train, Peter and the Wolf, a musical instrument petting zoo, pumpkin patch, Ohshogatsu, another Japanese festival, monthly building projects at the Home Depot, bike ride through the Everglades, a National Geographic Explorers Bird Watching class, trip to Biscayne Park’s Family Fun Event, Mommy and Me classes at the Seaquaurim (sea lions, invertebrates,sea turtles), Nature Tots (worms, sea shells, eggs, butterflies, wind, flowers), Chinese Puppet Theatre, Nature Puppet Theatre, Noon Year’s Eve at the Children’s Museum, a hundred visits to the Children’s Museum, 2 visits to the Science Museum, a planetarium show, movie theatre, 1 visit to the Miami Art Museum, 2 train rides with Daddy, 2 visits to the Mounted Police Stables, a glass-bottomed boat ride in the Florida Keys, a date with mom and Dad, tour of the Miami Beach Police Department , many, many playgrounds and so many days at the beach. Whew! It’s been a blast!
But the times I love most of all are quiet. The days when we lay on the grass and look up at clouds moving. The nights when I lay down with you before you sleep and you turn to me and say, I love you, Mommy. The times when all that you need is me, and you let me kiss tears off your face. Holding you in the rocking chair and singing you lullubies.
Things I don’t want to forget from this year are:
The day when you spontaneously named your blankie after my teddy bear.
The fact that you think Superman’s sidekick is Little Lamb because that’s what you and your brother were for Halloween.
You blinking pride out of your eyes when we told you there was a hospital named Jackson. I swear, you think it was named after you.
Your outstretched arms and fingertips as you crossed the room sideways doing the Brahman dance.
You swishing in the ocean happily.
The way you run to me for pretend gold medals after playing on the playground.
The fact that you think that all dates include: wearing a button-downed shirt, sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico, dinner at a restaurant, fireworks and a super moon, just because we couldn’t find a babysitter and we let you tag along on our anniversary.
You with your helmeted bobble-head riding your scooter.
The shy, excited smile you beamed the first night in your bunk bed when you got out of bed with Max to go potty after being tucked in.
The night you suddenly burst into tears when reading Ten in the Den and we came to the page where the mouse was alone.
Your insistence on wearing tank tops for the last three months. Your favorite clothes: the fishies jumpsuit, Sesame Street shirt and giraffe tank top.
The moment you told me in all seriousness that you would not touch the backpacks at Max’s school again after being told that rule during our visit. You are such a good boy and so deeply sensitive.
The way a shoulder tickle drops you to the floor in half a second. And the way you say, “I want to giggle,” when you want to be tickled.
The fact that you expressed a favorite color before you were ever told about favorite colors. First it was orange, now purple.
Your voice singing songs I taught you and now making up your own songs. When I ask you who gave you your beautiful voice, you answer, “God and Jesus.”
Every night when you say, “I’m excited for a lot of kisses!” after I sing your songs.
Oh, I could go on forever. My point is always the same. You are Jack, and you brought sunshine to our world for three years in a row. Saying I love you seems inadequate. What I really want to say is: love is you.
And you are mine.
All my love, all my life,