Only Four Years

Tonight is the last night my darling “middler” will be three years old.

 

The impending birthday has been a milestone causing much excitement this past week. Because Dos is not completely settled into the concept of time we’ve had to explain over and over what day her birthday is and how many more days it will be until she’s four.

 

In her sweet little voice with a huge southern drawl she tells us things she’s going to do when she’s four:

 

“When I’s four, I’m going to drink milk.” (She’s never liked milk. Ever. But I guess she will once she’s four.)

 

“Once I’s four, I will be able to cut with a knife.” (Maybe one with a blunted edge.)

 

“I’s going to be four soon and then I will have a baby.” (Um.. yeah. She’s confused but we love her anyway.)

 

The big day has arrived!

 

Tonight at dinner Dos looked over at me, put on her serious look, and said, “I’m sorry, Mommy, I’m going to have to grow up.”

 

I must have looked puzzled because she repeated, “I can’t help it, I’m going to have to get bigger.”

 

That’s a game I play with the girls. I grab them up into my arms, snuggle them, then pretend I’m dying because they’re so heavy. I beg them to stop growing, tell them they’ll never be able to eat or sleep again, all so they will stay my little girls forever!

 

Dos was referring to our game, waiting for me to complain and moan that she simply could not get any older, no matter what!

 

I looked at her, hair caught up in crazy curls around her ears, cheeks rosy, eyes shining and teeth pearly white, and three years of memories hit me in quick succession…

 

Her birth day, when we had just moved into one of the armpits of America (at least the humidity felt that way!) and I was so grateful to be getting that baby out so I wouldn’t freeze our air conditioning up anymore…

 

The first sound of her voice, squalling as the doctors removed her via c-section…

 

Trying to keep Uno from smothering her with love and sucking on her toes…

 

The months of colic and vomiting, gas pains and constant rocking as her little system adjusted…

 

Her infectious laugh and sparkling eyes, her amazing mobility and strength…

 

The first day she went to our Mom’s Day Out program and how I cried and cried…

 

Potty training Dos after the day she took off all her clothes and pooped on the floor in front of the door right as company was walking inside…

 

The day she took my boss’ credit card at our staff lunch and slipped it into the wall paneling… (it was rescued four hours later by Chinese wait staff using a skewer, duct tape and Asian ingenuity.)

 

Remembering how big she grew the moment Tres was born and what an amazing sister she has become…

 

That she sweats when she sleeps and has little hair to keep it contained… that her hair tickles my nose when we snuggle together in the mornings…

 

Listening to story after imaginary story she tells, my heart breaking when she talks about missing her best friends, laughing that she strips down every time she has a chance…

 

Her gentle heart and how aware she is, even when it seems she’s completely oblivious…

 

Seeing her name on our calendar for her birthday and thanking me for “signing her up” to be born…

 

…it all hit me in an instant as I looked at her bright green eyes in the face I love more than life itself.

 

“I know, baby,” I told her, swallowing to speak past the lump in my throat. “Just promise me you’ll keep snuggling and I suppose we’ll get through together.”

 

Later, before bed, I took an extra moment to lace my fingers through hers, feeling the sweet delicacy of her bones, marveling at her agility and the way she can smile that makes her look like a resident of Whoville.

 

It’s only been four years since she changed my life forever. Only. Four. Years.

 

I had no idea my heart could expand to this capacity, that in the same moment I could love so fiercely I could burst and be exasperated and laughing at another human’s audacity! My life is richer for knowing her.

 

Only. Four. Years.

 

Dear Lord, please help me through the next four. I may not make it out alive.

 

But if I don’t make it, at least I’ll die laughing.

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2 thoughts on “Only Four Years

  • September 4, 2011 at 9:59 pm
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    Nice. (Claton)

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  • September 4, 2011 at 10:09 pm
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    Love this, my friend!! You ARE truly blessed with three beautiful daughters, including the one who will start liking milk tomorrow! 😀

    Reply

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