I’ve been putting off writing this letter to you, refusing to believe that my baby boy is no longer a baby at all, that, in the blink of an eye, you are three. THREE!!
And although I am equally sad that your siblings have grown so fast, at least as they grow there is always you, the baby of the family to follow.
So it’s difficult to accept that for every first we share with you, it will also be our last. Whether you’re three or thirty three, there will never be another little Dove waiting in the wings to soften the blow.
And the hardest thing about lasts is that sometimes we never even realise until enough time has passed to notice that we haven’t used the pram for a few weeks, that you no longer need our help to put on your shoes, that all of the sweet little mispronunciations that once melted our hearts haven’t been heard in a while.
And had I known that those moments would be your last I would have cherished them even more so, freeze framed them in my mind, the last time I kissed you goodnight in your cot, the last time I caught you sucking your thumb, the last time we were able to carry you for more than ten minutes without our arms aching.
Because the truth is, as much as I would love to keep you a baby forever, you’re not, nowhere near. When I kiss you goodnight and tell you, “I love you baby boy!”, you tell me, “Me not a baby!”, your little face creased into a scowl, for in your eyes, and everyone else’s but mine, you are a big boy now, not even a toddler but a child. And an amazing one at that.
I always think of you as our bonus baby, completely unplanned and yet so very wanted, and you are everything that I imagined you to be. You have Lewis’s kind nature, his laid back attitude and big brown eyes, Eva’s sense of adventure, that dare devil streak and fearless intrepidation, and Megan’s stubbornness, a wicked laugh and a glint in your eyes. And you have, I truly believe, Josephs spirit, tucked away in a corner of your heart, our little piece of Heaven.
You are also solely responsible for at least 80% of my grey hairs as I genuinely have never known a child as accident prone as you. Over the last twelve months you’ve had four black eyes, a hefty case of concussion, your head stitched back together, your tooth knocked back and more cuts, bruises and scrapes than I care to mention. There isn’t a single day when we have made the school run without you falling, at least once, a day out that doesn’t end in disaster, or a holiday where we haven’t ended up in A&E. Just today, on your birthday outing to the zoo, before we had seen even a single animal, you needed a visit to the first aider for a nasty bump to your head. You are always in such a hurry, a crazy little whirlwind, and my heart is constantly in my mouth!
For the first time in your life you’ve had me to yourself this year. For fifteen hours each week week, with Lewis and Eva in school and Meggy at pre-school, it’s been just you and me, and I have loved every single moment of that time. For someone so young you are the best company and, even if you do talk relentlessly about Paw Patrol and Binosaurs, I cherish every single conversation.
We have had so many lovely adventures together this year, days at the beach, hunting for pumpkins, playing in the snow and picnicking in the bluebells, but my favourite moments are the days where we walk along hand in hand, or I carry you in my arms when your little legs have grown tired, and you tell me, on repeat, “You my best friend? My a good boy?”. And when you start your fifteen hours at pre-school in September I am going to miss those days so much, and I will be lost without you, my bestest friend and my good little boy. I can’t even allow myself to think about the fact that this time next year you’ll be close to starting school.
But for now you are three, and the most adorable little boy in the world. You are funny….
You are loving….
You are cheeky…..
You are sweet….
You are imaginative…
You are mischievous……
You are out right crazy…..
And most of all you are mine, all of ours to keep, and after eight long years longing for another little boy to hold, we never take it for granted just how lucky we have been.
I am so sad that our baby days have gone by so fast, a complete blur of dirty nappies and sleepless nights, but so grateful that I got the chance to do it all again. And if ever there had to be a last, as undoubtedly there always must be, I can’t think of a little boy any more perfect than you.
Happy 3rd Birthday Harrison Joseph.
We love you all of the stars in the sky.