17 August 2012


My son is four.

Wait. I need to clarify. My oldest son is now four. Since there’s actually two of them now. (But that’s a whole different story in and of itself.)

If there’s anything I’ve completely failed to learn in life, it’s how to be prepared. Possibly because I was never a boy scout, this is a skill I’ve just never acquired. I am not prepared. For anything. And so my son turning four should have been no different. But at the same time, this was something that I was especially not prepared for.

How did that happen exactly? Four years is a long time. A long time. Where did it go? Looking back at earlier birthday photos, it’s shocking. Really shocking. To see how far we’ve come. It’s impossible to fathom how long he’s been around. Four years is a very long time.

And this is what it’s going to be like now. Marking every year. That he’s around. This one started out a little different, though. The Doozer started to get weird, leading up to his birthday. He started telling us he didn’t want to turn four, didn’t want to be a big boy, wanted to stay a little kid. It was difficult to argue with him. We just tried to convince him that being four is not all that different from being three. That it doesn’t mean he’s a big boy, he’s still a little kid.

For now.

Of course, he is getting older. He is getting bigger. And it’s not going to slow down or stop. It’s just going to accelerate, it’s going to go by in the blink of an eye.

First, there’s fours preschool in a few short weeks and then there’s going to be kindergarten, elementary, high school, college. All gone in the blink of an eye. Hopefully we don’t lose this, don’t let go, of this little boy who rocks our world and doesn’t want to be four.

In the end, he loved his birthday. Had a blast. Forgot all about turning older. But we didn’t. We don’t. We can’t. He’s got a baby brother now, so it’s even clearer to us how grown up the Doozer is, how much he’s growing every day, how he’s no longer the little baby he once was.

The Doozer is four. It’s difficult to comprehend. No matter how true it might be, no matter how many times I might repeat it. Ours is a world of dinosaurs and superheroes and those freakin’ Cars movies. The kid’s all sassy mouth and insurrectionist tendencies. There’s less cuddling, more adversarial nonsense. Independence, defiance, imagination run amok. The occasional sneak preview of the coming storms, adolescence, teenagehood, the complications of the evolving parent and child dynamic.

But then there was a moment, just recently. When he said something very wise. In a rare moment of affection for his newish sibling, the Doozer told us that even when his little brother grows up and is a bigger kid (and a grown-up) that “he’ll still be my baby.” Wise, indeed.

My sentiments exactly.

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