Three years. I can't believe that three years ago today, I had yet to meet you. I would never be ready for what was about to come my way, but I was more ready to meet you, this little man of mine, than I had ever been for anything in my life. But even though I hadn't yet met you, today I can't remember my life without you.
It's been a year of growth for all of us. And if I had to pick an age that has been my favorite so far, two would be it. As challenging as some days have been, it has been a year of adventure, of learning, and of loving. The terrible twos, when you think about it, aren't really that terrible after all. Sure, tantrums abound and limits are tested and patience runs thin. But man, is it fun watching you grow and learn.
You fight us hard. We've battled over everything from school uniforms to what color crayon you want to use. We've had to discipline you and reprimand you, and sometimes I've even had to reprimand myself - to remember that you are still little. And that you won't be this way forever. That eventually, the tantrums will go away and they will be replaced by different problems, bigger ones.
But even though you fight us hard, you love us hard, too. You run to Daddy when he gets home from work, and you kiss me every single night and say, "Good night Mommy, I love you." You love to cuddle with us on the sofa, and your hugs can make all our biggest worries disappear. Your emotions run deep, and our love for you grows deeper by the day.
You have grown to be independent. While it was always important to me that you were independent, it's a little heartbreaking to realize you don't need me for everything anymore. Declarations of "I can do it," and "No, Mommy, let me!" sometimes make me wish you needed me more. But you want to feed yourself, and bathe yourself, and go to the potty by yourself. Sometimes, though, you still ask us to hold your hand so you can go into the dark bedroom and get the toy you want from there. And in those moments, I realize that you're still my baby. I know as time goes on you will only become more independent, but I hope to have little flashes of you needing me for a long time.
Watching you explore might be my favorite thing to do. You take in everything around you and you notice the most minuscule little things. You love to check out the world around you and you analyze how things work with a curiosity that I never knew existed. You watch us complete a task once, and you can carry it out yourself right after. You've even learned to ask Google to play your favorite song. I can't wait to see where that mind of yours continues to take you.
You started school this year, and you have made friends, and you have learned. I always knew that having you start school would broaden your world, but I never imagined just how much. You talk like a little parrot now. I can't believe that I was worried about your speech development at 18 months, and now you never stop talking! Your social skills rival that of many adults I know, and you insist Daddy and I "look at you" whenever you are trying to talk to us. I always knew you were friendly, but hearing you talk about your friends, and tell me you want to invite them over has been music to my ears.
You are active. You don't stop unless you are asleep. You're always in motion, and while it can be exhausting, it's also kept me in the best physical shape of my life, even through my eighth month of pregnancy with your little sister! You're running, and jumping, and being a loud little boy for most of your waking hours. And I wouldn't change a thing.
Tonight, on the cusp of your third birthday, we want to tell you how honored we are to be your Mom & Dad. To let you know how lucky we are to be the ones to watch you grow, hold your hand, and share your joys and your trials. You might be growing up, but you will always be our baby.
Happy Third Birthday, Caleb!
Mom & Dad