I'm sitting in the back of cab on this rainy Tuesday afternoon, clutching shopping bags - one with a few Magnolia Bakery cupcakes, a balloon from Nordstrom's kids' shoe department, and my purse. Jack is sitting next to me, playing with his new toy airplane and talking in robot-speak. I look up to the front of the cab where I see a paper November 2011 calendar taped to the dashboard, and I smile.
Today Jack is 4.
I don't think my heart could grow any bigger to love this guy, but it does. You know when you're in a new relationship - be it dating or friendship - and you're trying to figure out the person and their personality? Well, I'm realizing that can also happen with your own children, nieces and nephews. Sure, you know these little people since birth, but there are subtle revelations along life's path where you get to see your little one's personality and character reveal itself, and that's pretty cool, to say the least.
I was fortunate to take off today from work to spend the day with my guy. I was touched by the birthday celebration the teachers did for Jack at preschool - they had him stand in front of the class as they celebrated wonderful him. Kids are no angels to be sure, but his preschool teachers invoke such a strong sense of love, respect and responsibility in the classroom, that the kids can't help but follow their lead. And when my guy declared his favorite colors were pink and purple, and I braced myself, all of the other big boys took it in stride. As one teacher asked him a few other questions, I couldn't help but smile. It was like watching a little Jeremy - with all of Jeremy's mannerisms - speaking before his class.
The day was rounded out by having lunch with Daddy at Nordstrom's Cafe, a new pair of Batman rainboots, a lovely party at Mommy's office, complete with cupcakes and presents (seriously, it will never be lost on me how awesome my workplace is), our cab ride home, and dinner with Maria and her daughter Ruby.
I don't have a lot of parenting perspective just yet, but here's what I know so far. The three's weren't so bad. The two's were like reasoning with a crazy person, but the three's were much smoother. We had our moments, and I certainly lost my patience big-time here and there, but overall, Jack is growing and maturing, and it's wonderful to see. This year, he became a big brother and a preschooler. He says things like, "You look so beautiful, Mommy," and he's empathetic. Jeremy and I have moved past the stage of just feeding and watering Jack - now we're on to helping him grow his emotional, intellectual and spiritual self, and that is an overwhelming privilege.
Happy birthday, my sweet boy.