For Harry on your 4th birthday

Harry,

I’ve been sat here for the last hour, staring at a blank screen, thinking back to four years ago when you still kicked inside my tummy, so wrapped up in all of our hopes and dreams. I guess your birthday will always be the most emotional day for me, unable to stop the tears as I see how fast you’ve grown, to swallow that lump in my throat as you blow out the candles on yet another cake, to accept that our last little dove is not so little after all.

I’ve never shied away from the fact that you were never a part of our plans. After the girls were born just fifteen months apart, with Lewis already ten, we knew that for the sake of my physical and mental health, and, in truth, our bank balance, there would be no more babies for us. And so when we discovered that I was pregnant again, with Eva and Megan just eighteen and three months old, although it was a shock to say the least, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that you were Heaven sent. And you are.

From the moment you came into the world, completely grey and silent, as the crash team pumped oxygen into your chest, hooked you up to wires as alarms sounded around us, I held my breath and prayed you would be okay. And I’ve been doing the same every day since.

Because you, my beautiful baby boy, are wild. You run, you jump, you swing and somersault, you fly, you roll, you launch yourself about with astonishing bravery, and often stupidity, and we spend every second of every day grimacing as your head hits the floor, rushing to scoop you up as you go flying, rubbing bumps, nursing cuts, icing bruises, and yet nothing at all phases you. Infact I’m not even sure that you feel pain at all.

But for someone who is so rough and so oblivious to the dangers around him, you are the most loving and kind little boy I have ever known. Every night when I tuck you into bed, you ask me to crawl in beside you, to have you lay your head against my cheek, and you ask me, “What shall we talk about today?”. And when I kiss you goodnight, a thousand times over, you whisper in that sleepy, irresistible way that you do, “Mummy, I love you all the day long.” And those are my favourite moments, reserved purely for you and I.

Our time together was cut short this year with the start of pre-school, where you disappear for fifteen hours a week, tearing indoors in a whirlwind of energy, and returning to me hours later, with sleepy eyes and mud stained knees. With school approaching this September, I am forever hearing, “I bet you’re looking forward to having every day to yourself?”, and whilst I nod along and make jokes about how my house will certainly be tidier, I am so sad that it will never again be just the two of us.

We’ve had some amazing adventures this year Harry – the six of us, and the two of us. We’ve holidayed in England, Scotland and Wales, travelled across the country for weekends away and fun days out, and whilst we have created so many memories, and experienced more than most children of four ever will, those aren’t the moments I will cherish from your fourth year.

I want to look back and remember the conversations we shared about dinosaurs, the way you got frustrated when I pretended not to know the difference between herbivores and carnivores, the frown on your face when I didn’t let your T-Rex eat my Velociraptor in quite the way you had ordered me to.

I want to remember your obsession with Paw Patrol, how you asked me, every single day for twelve long weeks, if Father Christmas would bring you the Look Out Tower, and the look on your face when he did.

I want to remember how you asked for nothing but jam on toast, cheese sandwiches and chicken nuggets and chips, and how you would clamp your mouth together should we dare to sneak anything else onto your plate.

I want to remember the nights you crawled into our bed, how you would fall asleep with your lips pressed to mine, how I would wake to find you stroking my back and telling me, “It’s morning time!”. I want to remember how you would ask me to pick you up when out walking in the winter, how you would pull up my hood, blow hot air into my face and tell me, “I’ll keep you warm Mummy!”.

I want to remember how your eyes sparkled when you laughed, the way you always made me feel happy even on the days I was feeling sad, how wonderful the world is when I see it through your eyes.

I want to remember the days we took flowers for Joseph, how you would sit there and tell him, “Hey big brother, we have the same name!”. how you would place your hand against his headstone and whisper, “I wish you could come down from the sky and play with me. I want to remember how seeing you there, older than your big brother will ever be, both hurt my heart and healed it, all at the same time.

I want to remember the moments I caught you and Lewis sharing a moment, the mirror image of each other, the way that you gazed at him with so much love and admiration, and how it still makes my heart swell to see you there together. My boys. 

I want to remember how when I took a photo of you with your sisters, they would say, “Harry in the middle!”,  placing protective arms around you, and how you would pretend not to like it whilst secretly revelling in their attention.

I want to remember how every day you would amaze me by learning something new, how you learned to recognise your letters and numbers, how you would insist on sitting down to read Megan’s reading book each night even though you and I both knew you were reciting it from memory.

And I want to remember that at three, you were the happiest, kindest, wildest, most crazy little boy I have ever known, and that not a single day went by this last year when I didn’t marvel that you were mine, and I was yours, and how very lucky we were to have a bonus baby as wonderful as you.

This next year is going to be a huge one for you starting school, growing fast, gaining your independence and growing in ability, and yet, although I am so sad that my littlest dove has to spread his wings, I will be right there behind you, championing you on, hoping that in a year where so much is about to change, you never will.

Happy 4th Birthday Harrison Joseph, we love you all the day long.

xxxxxx

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91 Comments

  1. May 27, 2018 / 8:46 pm

    Oh my goodness, this was such a wonderful read. I hope that he had a wonderful 4th birthday and that he has a fantastic year too!

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 4:34 pm

      Thank you so much Jenni! xx

  2. May 27, 2018 / 9:12 pm

    Awww I love that line where you talk about him running and jumping around being completely wild! It’s such a nice description of a childhood 😊 I hope all children get to grow up like this!

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 4:34 pm

      Thank you Charlotte, he’s such a spirited little boy, he’s adorable! xx

  3. Monidipa Dutta
    May 28, 2018 / 9:34 am

    You have poured your emotions into it. Such a lovely read. I really hope little harry had a lovely 4th birthday. His pictures are so cute and please tell him I have sent him lots of love…

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 4:34 pm

      Thank you so much xx

  4. May 28, 2018 / 10:22 am

    Aaaw! Happy ffourth birthday to Harry! He is such a cute little bouncy boy. It really feels nice when a mother sees how much her kid has a grown and is all jumpy. We celebrate you ma’am…

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 4:35 pm

      Thank you Dalene xx

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 4:35 pm

      Thank you Emily! xx

  5. May 28, 2018 / 10:52 am

    A really lovely read, Laura. Happy Birthday to your little boy x

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 4:35 pm

      Thank you Lauren! xx

  6. Kim Styles
    May 28, 2018 / 12:02 pm

    Wow. that is totally beautiful and you have poured out your heart . Beautiful ! Happy Birthday to Harry x

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 4:36 pm

      Thank you Kim! xx

  7. Laura: Adventures with J
    May 28, 2018 / 12:39 pm

    As always your posts make me cry! My little J is 3 and a half and I just said to hubby yesterday that despite the challenges we have with tantrums and stubborness being fully in play, I absolutely love this age. I love having conversations wih my boy and going out on adventures with him. His imagination and interpretation blows me away regularly and his love fills me with happiness. I hope you have a lovely day together celebrating.

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 4:36 pm

      Ahh thank you Laura. 3 was the best age, I feel so sad that there will never again be a 3 year old in our house. I’m hoping 4 is equally lovely! xx

  8. May 28, 2018 / 1:53 pm

    Happy birthday Harry! Beautiful Laura and you are lucky to have each other. How are our babies 4 and going to school? I can’t cope with it xx

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 4:37 pm

      Thank you! Ahh don’t, I can’t cope with the thought either!! xx

  9. May 28, 2018 / 4:38 pm

    Such a beautiful letter! Definitely shed a couple tears. You have a beautiful family. I think this is an amazing idea to write them a letter on their birthday. One they can look back on and see how you felt. Amazing!

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 4:37 pm

      Thank you Tricia, I hope these letters mean a lot to them when they are older. xx

  10. May 28, 2018 / 10:17 pm

    What a beautiful read, Laura. I will take a page out of your book and cherish the next year with Caspian as much as you have with Harry. Happy birthday to your little man xx

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 4:37 pm

      Thank you Nadia. Time goes way too fast, three was just the best! xx

  11. May 28, 2018 / 10:58 pm

    He will remember all of these precious moments shared with family because you made all of these moments possible for him and he will always appreciate that for you! Lovely read!

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 4:38 pm

      Thank you Amalia, it has been a lovely year! xx

  12. May 29, 2018 / 1:29 am

    Oh my gosh! He is sooo adorable! I don’t have a baby boy…so you, you know hehehe Happy birthday Harry! 😀

    Anyway, glad that you are able to to do this birthday posts for you kids. My gosh, I only have two and can’t even make a birthday post for them. haha

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 4:38 pm

      Thank you, ahh it’s hard to find the time isn’t it! I find them very therapeutic! xx

  13. Tawnya
    May 29, 2018 / 3:52 am

    What a heartfelt post! I love the pictures of Harry, especially the smile in that first one. Happy birthday Harry!

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 4:38 pm

      Thank you so much xx

  14. May 29, 2018 / 6:29 am

    He sounds like such a little character! Happy Birthday Harry!

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 4:39 pm

      He really is the best! xx

  15. vishnu lada
    May 29, 2018 / 7:43 am

    ohh..great…the lines and content are really very good..worth reading

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 4:39 pm

      Thank you! xx

  16. May 29, 2018 / 11:37 am

    What a sweet little boy! Happiest Birthday to you Harry! Your smile is so beautiful and contagious! He’s growing up to be such a lovely and respectful little man. He’s lucky to have a mama so loving as you.

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 4:39 pm

      Thank you as much Alison xx

  17. May 29, 2018 / 12:39 pm

    Such a beautiful letter, I hope he had a wonderful birthday and is looking forward to the fun and busy year ahead.

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 4:39 pm

      Thank you Anosa xx

  18. May 29, 2018 / 12:52 pm

    I adore the children’s birthday letters, filled with so much love. I too miss the madness of smalls during the day so I try and stay busy

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 4:40 pm

      Thank you so much Lynne. xx

  19. May 29, 2018 / 6:12 pm

    What a lovely heartfelt post with loads of beautiful pictures. It looks like you have shared some amazing times together. Happy Birthday to Harry!

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 4:40 pm

      Thank you Melanie, it’s been a wonderful year together xx

  20. May 29, 2018 / 6:34 pm

    Seems like a day in paradise. Many more happy returns of the day Harry! Keep it up!

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 4:40 pm

      Thank you so much! xx

  21. May 30, 2018 / 3:45 pm

    Such a beautiful post! May God bless you, Harry, wishing you a very happy birthday!

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 4:41 pm

      Thank you! xx

  22. May 30, 2018 / 4:57 pm

    Oh my super cute overload. I’m glad you’re spending a great time with your kids. Happy birthday Harry!

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 4:45 pm

      Thank you! xx

  23. May 30, 2018 / 8:27 pm

    You always make me so emotional! aha I just loved this. I hope you guys had a great day and the pictures are so cute too

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 4:54 pm

      Ahh bless you, thank you! xx

  24. May 31, 2018 / 12:35 am

    Aww such gorgeous words and posts like this are going to be the best to look back at and read together when he is older again. I usually write a letter to my sons and put it in an envelope for them to read when they are older, so special

    Laura x

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 4:55 pm

      Ahh that’s lovely! I think one day they will love these letters! xx

  25. May 31, 2018 / 2:02 am

    Aww, Laura. I’m sat here sobbing! This is exactly how I feel about Oscar. Although he drives me mental some days when he’s not QUITE so loving and calls me names lol. I hope Harry a brilliant birthday.

    Louise x

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 4:55 pm

      Ahh bless you! Harry calls me names too if that’s any consolation…haha! xx

  26. May 31, 2018 / 5:54 am

    cute little Harry ! he is so adorable! and even if I don’t have children myself I sat here sobbing reading your words ! so emotional

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 4:55 pm

      Thank you Denni! xx

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 4:56 pm

      Thank you Lauretta. xx

  27. May 31, 2018 / 2:52 pm

    Happy Birthday to Harry. He is such an adorable little man and I totally love his smile. Time flies and he will surely become a wonderful man as he grows quickly.

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 4:56 pm

      Thank you! xx

  28. May 31, 2018 / 7:47 pm

    This is just beautiful… A very happy birthday to that cute little thing 😍❤️

    BTW the pics are amazing! What do you use to click pics???

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 4:57 pm

      Ahh thank you! I have an Olympus PEN, a Nikon D700 and a Nikon D90 too! xx

  29. June 1, 2018 / 6:37 pm

    Happy birthday little man, hope you have an amazing day

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 4:57 pm

      Thank you Kara! xx

  30. vishnu lada
    June 2, 2018 / 1:26 pm

    Very beautiful pics…really amazing to read article….happy belated birthday…

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 4:58 pm

      Thank you! xx

  31. June 6, 2018 / 8:48 am

    a very belated happy birthday to the sweet kid, hopefully you had a great and enjoyable day altogether..

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 4:58 pm

      Thank you Ali! xx

  32. June 6, 2018 / 2:23 pm

    Happy birthday to your gorgeous son. I loved your tribute it is heartfelt and so meaningful.

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 4:58 pm

      Thank you Nayna! xx

  33. June 6, 2018 / 2:53 pm

    A very happy birthday to your lil boy! I read your story in About Me it’s really very painful.. God bless you n your kids!

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 4:58 pm

      Oh thank you Deeksha, that’s very kind of you xx

  34. June 6, 2018 / 8:21 pm

    happy belated birthday to your sweet little man- what a generous loving and lovely post to him!

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 4:59 pm

      Thank you Cait xx

  35. June 6, 2018 / 9:43 pm

    Happy birthday Harry! Looks like it was a fun packed birthday 🙂 and beautifully captured in this post. We are only 4 once in our lives!

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 4:59 pm

      Thank you Elaine! xx

  36. June 7, 2018 / 4:34 am

    Seems like a day in heaven! Harry is looking too cute and adorable 🙂 🙂

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 4:59 pm

      Thank you Oliva! xx

  37. June 7, 2018 / 8:14 am

    what a cute, very big eyed and hearted, lovely boy. I can see from the pics he must be a true fun for all the family and friends. He’s gonna be an absolute protagonist of his life, pretty sure of it

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 4:59 pm

      Thank you. He is very special xxx

  38. June 7, 2018 / 12:44 pm

    What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful little boy. You are so lucky to have him and he is lucky to have you as his mom. Happy Birthday Harry!

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 5:00 pm

      Thank you Kate! xx

  39. Danielle
    June 7, 2018 / 4:13 pm

    Awwh, what a lovely post. Happy birthday Harry! Some lovely family photos here to cherish.

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 5:00 pm

      Thank you! xx

  40. Autumn Murray
    June 8, 2018 / 3:46 pm

    Happy birthday to Harry! You are an excellent photographer and he is the perfect model. The photos of Harry with Joseph made me cry. May God continue to bless your family.

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 5:00 pm

      Thank you! xx

  41. June 8, 2018 / 4:50 pm

    This is such a great way to remember your son’s fourth year in the world. I love this. It’s great to remember the little things even like the conversations about carnivores and herbivores.

    • Laura Dove
      June 8, 2018 / 5:00 pm

      Thank you! Haha he is Dino obsessed! xx

  42. June 8, 2018 / 5:33 pm

    happy 4th birthday to this little awesome man ! you take great portraits , whats the secret how do you manage ? tried and failed miserably as they don’t sit for a second

  43. June 9, 2018 / 12:21 am

    Those years go by fast. I’m sure seeing him start school is a crazy feeling. I love the assortment of photos you have, especially the one with chocolate on his face. I love that not all of them are 100% perfect.

  44. June 11, 2018 / 12:09 am

    This is the loveliest dedication I’ve ever seen. Happy 4th to your little one and I hope this touches him liked it’s probably touched a lot of us.

  45. June 11, 2018 / 8:14 am

    What an amazing collection of photographs and words. You should totally turn this post into a photobook, it’s all so beautiful x

  46. June 13, 2018 / 2:46 am

    that’s such a great way to show your love and appreciation for you boy and other kids. Love how yo told your story and the photos are stunning… you have a beautiful family and I’m happy you know it and cherish them!

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