*photos courtesy of Savant Studios
Members of my my family might swear that the above picture is my youngest brother, Jonah, as a child. It took me by surprise to see it. But no, that's Conor, on the 4th of July, tackling his celebratory cheeseburger with a little help from his dad. Doin' it like a big boy, something that lately, he's decided he wants to be very much. For the last month, I've asked him if he wants to turn four and he says "yes!" with all the energy of his little heart. (which is a lot.) I would tell him, "Well, if you want to have a birthday and turn 4, then you need to be a good listening boy, because 4 is big, and Big Boys are good listening boys." He's been trying his hardest. And hoping that if he makes it, there will be presents, preferably Batman presents and an Iron Man mask waiting for him. (I think he'll be pleasantly surprised.)
Last night, after his bath, after we brushed his teeth, after jammies and combed hair, after reading (again) his latest issue of National Geographic Little Kids, and saying his bedtime prayer, he climbed into his bed and I tucked him in just the way he likes. Under his "cozy blanket", the one with the worn out corner that the twiddles while he sucks his thumb, with his feet burritoed and tucked in at the other end. I laid my head on his tummy and told him the good news (or bad, depending on which side of the coin you're on. Mothers understand the pain of little ones growing up.)
"This is the last night that you'll be 3," I said nostalgically.
"It is?" he wondered.
"Yep. Tomorrow you will be 4."
"Then I will be a big boy!"
"That's right," I said. "You were a really good three-year-old, Conor. I'll miss you being three. Thank you for being three."
"You're welcome," he said, even with his thumb in his mouth. And then, "Wait, wait. How old are babies?"
And that caught him off-guard. "But zero is nothing!" He countered. "Babies aren't nothing!"
I giggled at his logic.
"Thank you for being my baby."
"You're welcome," again through his thumb.
"You're going to be a great four-year-old."
"Yep. I suuuuuure am!"
"You're a very important boy, Conor," I whispered in his ear, as I do every night. "A very important boy."
And then I turned on his music, turned off his light, and closed the door for the night.
Today my boy is 4. The real Big Boy leagues. Happy birthday, Conor James!