Our 3 year old is turning 4 at the end of the month and I've found myself honing in on the big boy encouragement the closer we get to the date. You can do it you’re a big boy, be a big boy, whose a big boy, wow look at that big boy. After a while, it’s just become habit, another one of those phrases that fills the day, like, has anyone fed the dog, I can’t find my car keys and what’s for dinner. But it’s been there, slowly taking shape, without me ever even noticing. He has been changing ever so slighting, all this time.
Last Thursday morning, I tiptoed into his dark room to wake him for an early flight to Santa Barbara. His first trip without me. If you know us, you know we love to be together as a family, we even prefer to travel as a family. However, Brett and I felt this was a great opportunity for some dad and son bonding time without the littles in tow and a bit of a birthday trip as well.
As I sat down at the edge of the bed, questioning whether we should have gone as a family, worrying that he might miss me and want to come home, I heard him yawn and whisper, “mommy, I'll miss you, but it’s going to be awesome”. As if he was reading my mind, knowing I needed to hear this for him, for me, for the days filled with to-do lists and the loads of laundry that distract me from noticing he's growing up so quickly. It’s one of those moments as a parent when time stands still and you ask, did I miss it, when did this happen, can I go back?
For the next half hour I watched him. He couldn’t be happier or more confident. I watched, as if for the first time, as he packed his own bag full of snacks and threw on a baseball cap. He looked just like Brett, so handsome and west coast cool, I nearly cried at the sight. The two of them posed for a picture, sort of, and I thought to myself what a privilege. To be able to raise a child, trudging through the hard days and ugly moments, and find yourself on the other side watching them walk bravely into the world. These are the very best days.