three years alive

Dear Tolliver,

Today you turn three.  You like elephants, ice cream, steak, basketball, blue, building blocks, riding bikes, reading books, cuddling, dump trucks, potty words and impressing your brother.

I may have written that your favorite color was dirt, but I think your new favorite color is no pants.

You have the, what I assume to be universal, small child trait of finding me when I am least able to give you my full attention, attempting to nestle yourself into my arms when I'm folding laundry or perform your newest salsa beat when I'm trying to piece together a coherent thought.  When I’m on the phone with the insurance company, or when the timer is beeping because dinner is done, you need me most. When I’d really just like a moment of privacy in the bathroom or when I want to finish the last three pages of a good book, your desires are urgent.

If I listen hard at night I can almost hear you growing.

I'm not sure anyone could pack more spunk into thirty six pounds.  Sometimes you have so much to say you do not have time to inhale, like the ocean or the wind, you roar unendingly, telling stories with the signature earnestness of a raconteur.
You call windmills fanwheels, the ones we saw out the window on the way to Iowa and the ones we saw at the model train exhibit at COSI last week.
You tell people you have hinges right here in my skeleton while you touch your knees.  They help me move my legs, you explain.
You smile and say “cheese” better than anyone has ever said it before.
You talk about conductors and insulators like you're ready to run a course on electrical engineering.
You yell out from your bedroom when it is way too early for you to say anything at all.
But you leaned over and hugged me this morning and said I love you Mommy, thank you for my new loader truck.  It is big and yellow and I can load it up and dump it out and load it up and dump it out.

You talk up a big storm, but you seem to know, already, that just because someone else is being heard doesn't mean your voice can't be heard too, even if you're saying different things.
You grasp my sleeve at sudden unfairness, at commonplace loveliness.  Nothing is a lost cause for you.
Although most of the time it's like you've taken a page straight from the book of Veruca Salt, you can be amazingly patient.  And you are so wise.

You are wise and you are wild and free, curious and tireless.  We tell you about Celia because your sister died while you were still in newborn diapers, yet she changed every day of our life together.  We want you to be cautious.  We are so glad you are in the world with us.  While you blew out candles, we breathed in air and bargained with God and the universe.  We want to keep you in the world with us.

Today you turn three, but when you woke up this morning I stared into your eyes as if it were the first time I'd seen you, studied you like art, your collarbone and coloring, your teeth and your toes.  When I think about your future, I wonder who will look at you like I do.  Who will pin your prize papers to their refrigerator, who will pull the blankets to your chin.  Who will show you love when your path takes you away from me, from home?

I love you, little Tollie.  I hope I never forget how good it feels to love someone so much.

1 comment:

rht said...

You won't ever forget!