In recent weeks I’ve been struck by my son’s speech development, which appears to be in one of those periods of warp-engine overdrive. He’s expressing opinions, making jokes, displaying stubbornness, asking the big, meaning-of-life questions, and generally blowing my mind with the startling beauty of his unique and constantly changing persona. He’s so beautiful, you know? I don’t say that in the easy, obvious way, with regard to physical appearance – when I talk about his beauty, I mean his generosity of spirit, the unstinting way he shows affection, the essentially sweet and gentle child he’s been from the start. He possesses an internal beauty that knocks me clean off of my feet, every single day.
The other day he was excitedly telling me the plot of an OCTONAUTS book we’d checked out from the library – the Octonauts are his current book series of choice – and during a pause for breath I impulsively said “I love you.” He went rocketing right back into his plot description, but then visibly applied the mental brakes, paused for a beat, said “I love you too” in an only slightly rushed voice, then picked up the Octonauts thread once more. I didn’t hear much of the plot description after that, however. I was too busy feeling love for this kid roar through me like a tropical storm.
Miranda and I worried about our capacity to raise two children, and I can’t say those worries were unfounded, because it’s been a howling rollercoaster of effort and emotion. We feel overmatched much of the time. But this boy. This sweet, kind, loving boy, with his fascination for sharks and trains (holla, Chris Barton!), his fondness for bacon, and his tendency to narrate every kiss and every hug we share with an emphatic “there’s your kiss, and there’s your hug”…I can’t even vaguely remember why I thought life could be complete without this boy, who turns 4.00 years old today.