Happy birthday Hunter. Somehow you are three years old and you, my baby boy, are becoming more independent and more complicated and yet still filling me with so much joy every single day.
When you smile I smile with you almost as if we are connected – it is impossible not to share in your happiness. And just about everything makes you happy. I hope that your enthusiasm for the new things life brings you never wanes. Your approach to most things is one of a head first nature – you are fearless… with just one exception. Large groups make you apprehensive, taking a step (or ten) back before you tentatively join a circle.
I wonder how you will feel at nursery next week? Will you be happy or sad, confident or subdued, loud or quiet? It terrifies me that I have to let go – I will not know what your day looked like. I can ask you of course and, although you are not lacking the words to tell me, quite frankly, sometimes you talk absolute nonsense – tales of T-Rex chases and shark attacks are commonplace. But I know you will be kind and it warms my heart to have seen those traits develop within you.
You challenge me. There are occasions, you know, when you lie unmovable on the floor like a wet rag with so much more weight than seems plausible for your little three year old body to carry, when I have to take a minute to myself and breathe. I try not to get stuck in these moments – taking a leaf out of your book and moving swiftly from one instant to the next – why do grown ups hold onto these things?
You are caring and protective and seeing you as a big brother has been one of the biggest treats. Sometimes I forget you are so young still, that you yourself are only just becoming a child, just creeping out of that baby and toddler phase. Perhaps it is because you are forever viewed with your tiny Summer shaped shadow trailing behind you and, with that comparison, it is easy to forget that, you too, are small.
Sometimes I feel guilty. I simply do not have the time I had before – those endless hours of undivided attention. My time is split now; I am pulled in many directions all at once and I know it must be hard for you to have been forced to adapt to this new world where you are not the only one. But I hope that when you ask me, ‘Mummy, will you play with me?’, my answer can always be yes. Because one day, and I dread it, the day will come when you have grown and do not ask again. So when I come to wake you up in the morning and you make a space for me in your tiny toddler bed, I will always climb in. When your favourite song comes on and you ask me to dance, I will. And when you reach you arms up and ask me hopefully for a ‘Big whee?’, I will always lift you up and spin you around until that infectious giggle floods out of your mouth.
You are precise, pedantic even, when it comes to neat lines and things being in their place and I see so much of my Dad, the original ‘Hunter’, in you. You have a love verging on obsession with cars and motorbikes and tractors and lorries and one day I will tell you why it is that you are so drawn to them – it is in your blood. I can’t tell you how beautiful it is to see little bits of him in you.
Thank you for teaching me what it is to love; to love unconditionally through those hard moments as well as all the good times. Thank you for teaching me what it is to be a mother – fumbling my way through this whole thing without a manual. Thank you for being mine.
This post contains affiliate links and gifts
shirt – Next
denim jogger – H&M
sneakers – Zara
I made the cake under the tutelage of Cupcake Jemma on Youtube