Yesterday was Harrison’s third birthday. For months, he looked at a picture we’d framed of him at his first birthday, which hung above the kitchen table, and asked when he’d get presents again. For months, we explained that his birthday would come, as would some presents. He’d stare longingly at that picture of himself, surrounded by gifts, and daydream about the next time that would happen.
Now, I’m not trying to raise a greedy, selfish kid. But he’s three, and presents matter. We talked about other things as well, like the people who would be there, and the things we would do, and the fun we would have. I just hoped he wouldn’t be disappointed when the day came.
Would he like his presents? Would he have a nice day? Would he be in a good mood? I even called my mother a few days before his big day to tell her how excited I was to plan a special day just for my boy-and how I was kind of surprised at how much fun I was having over the whole event. She said that was normal.
But what I didn’t tell her was that I was kind of scared too. Three year olds are a unique breed. They have really, REALLY strong opinions. They also change their minds like every twelve seconds. If he wasn’t happy with all the hard work I had done, it was going to break my heart.
Justin and I bought him a Thomas bicycle, and I was convinced that by the time he received it, he would have decided that he didn’t like trains anymore. I planned to take him to his favorite place, with one of his favorite friends. I was worried that by the time we went, he’d decide he didn’t like that place anymore, and he wouldn’t like his friend anymore. We planned to have pizza for dinner because that’s his favorite food, and I feared that he wouldn’t be in the mood for pizza that night. That he’d want grilled cheese instead.
Well, he DID like his bike. And he DID have fun at his favorite place with his favorite friend. And he DID eat his pizza. It was fine. It was perfect. He was happy, and that’s what matters. But do you know what he was most excited about?
The banner I made by hand with paper, string, and a sharpie.
The balloons his daddy brought him home after work.
The dollar store flag his Mimi brought him.
The extra wrapping paper his great Aunt Marylou let him play with all afternoon.
His family being there, all of whom he hugged and snuggled.
I write a LOT about how crazy my boy drives me. I cry a LOT about how crazy my boy drives me. But when I get to watch his happiness at life’s simplest pleasures, I realize that deep down, that kid is gonna be ok. His heart is big and strong. His love runs deep. He knows what’s important in life.