Today is my last day of having a three-year old. Just about this time tomorrow my son will officially be four years old.
I look through the photographs of him from being tiny in my arms right after he was born to riding his balance bike at breakneck speeds down our driveway last night and wonder where all those days in between went. I dropped him off at his school this morning and he ran off into the classroom with an offhand ‘Bye Dad’ over his shoulder, eager to play with his friends.
Four years old. 1,460 days.
It’s been the fastest four years of my life. A blink. A moment. For him it seems like Christmas is still forever away even though it’s only three days off. For me it will be next Christmas before I know it. Everyday behind me is a blur, not sure what I did or when I did it, but every moment spent with him is burned into my brain. It’s like doodles in the corner of a book, flipping the pages and seeing every day fly past.
Last night I sat and played Uno with him, his third time playing since I bought the deck a few days ago. It’s not hard game, but I watched his face as he looked at a green two on the bed between us then at the cards he held sloppily in his hands, then reached down and drew a card. I imagined the new synapses firing inside his little head, new paths being created for a different kind of logic that he hadn’t had before.
I’ll be so happy for him tomorrow, watching him open his birthday presents, likely tossing some aside as soon as they’re unwrapped to grab the next gift and tear into it. I’ll be sad tomorrow, too, thinking about how fast it is all going.
Not all the moments are necessarily happy ones. So many screaming fits and tantrums, yelling and crossing his arms in a huff. Doors slamming. Just last night a huge cry after we told him we had to put the cards away to take a bath. “One more game…” he wailed as it turned into a ten minute melt down. Whenever we look at him and think about how big he’s getting, how much more mature he is now than he was, he reminds us, yes, he’s only four years old.
For now I have to get through tomorrow and all the new distractions that will come in the form of toys, clothes, games, books and more, and the eventual moment we tell him it is time to put it all away to get ready for bed.
Then we begin to prepare for his 1,825th day celebration.