You Are Four

July 1, 2013 at 8:00 am 7 comments

In the comfortable, quiet dark of your room you sleep amid toys and soft blankets. You have grown so much. The only resemblance between you now and when you were an infant is you still like to leave your feet uncovered.

I watch silently, caught between letting you sleep and scooping you up to give you the biggest hug of your life. Only in these quiet moments can I actually see you in perfect focus. The rest of the time you are a giggling blur.

Today you are four years old; so tall, so smart, so full of fire and obstinacy.

Your transition from three to four has been remarkable. I can feel your gentle but incessant pull toward greater independence. The separation is growing and it tears at my pride because I always want to be your everything. “No, I do it, Daddy…” has become a familiar refrain. It gets easier if I remember you are doing exactly what I have encouraged you to do all along. I just try my best to ignore the sting in my heart when your hand lets go of mine.

We argue often now and my soul breaks to see you so angry with me. We fight about what to eat, what to wear, what we do, and where we go. Sometimes I feel that I disappoint you at every turn: not swinging you high enough, not pouring enough juice, not letting you have everything all of the time right now.

We don’t understand each other because we see the world through very different lenses. The best I can do is be patient, remember that what means so little to me can mean everything to you, and make what you need important to me as well. When I do that, great things happen for us.

Sometimes, though, I still have to explain why it isn’t a good idea to push your brother off of the bunk bed ladder.

We have so much life ahead of us. Soon you will be going to preschool. The training wheels will come off of your new bike. We will move out of the only home you have ever known.

You mostly speak of these challenges with excitement in your voice. But once in a while you ask if everything you have will be going with you when we move to a new home. I try to smile and say ‘yes’ but the truth is we will be leaving a lot of ourselves behind.

Your birthday is an annual reminder to me that parenting is a continuing, bittersweet sadness of losing what you used to be combined with the wonder of watching what you become. I will miss the three-year-old version of you and I am thrilled beyond measure to see how you handle being four.

As you grow and move farther into this world please know that you are capable of great things. Just remember to give that extra effort, and again give just one more try. I know it is hard to do when you’re still so young and impatient. Trust me, it is hard to do at any age. For my part I will do my best to remember to let you try first. I only ask that you not slap my helping hands away with such ferocity.

Today is a special day to celebrate who you are and all that you have accomplished in your young life. You smile brighter, laugh harder, cry louder, hug tighter, and run faster than ever. Being your father brings me endless joy.

I will always love you beyond my last breath.

Happy Birthday to you, my Darling Doodles, my Norah Grace.

boo_and_maddie_sm

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Entry filed under: Being Dad. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Nadene Good  |  July 1, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    Thank you for sharing such wise insight. I am sure all 3 of our children were 4 once, the years blend as they whiz by. Love to you and family. Nadene

    Reply
    • 2. Hop Dad  |  July 2, 2013 at 11:48 am

      Thank you so much, Nadine!

      Reply
  • 3. bussokuseki  |  July 1, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    Wonderful & precious. I just finished writing about my awe/joy/sadness that my youngest is now five…http://wp.me/s2R0UA-five

    Be well~

    Reply
    • 4. Hop Dad  |  July 2, 2013 at 11:48 am

      I just read that writing and it is wonderful. Thank you so much for stopping by and for the compliment.

      Reply
  • 5. bloggerfather  |  July 1, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    For the first 4 years, at least with my now 5yo son, I’ve felt like every phases was harder, and sometimes more frustrating, but also more rewarding than the previous phase, but after he turned 4 it actually became easier. I know there will still be challenges in the future, but it’s nice to know things can get better too. Four was an amazing year, and I can’t wait for my 3yo daughter to turn four. Good luck!

    Reply
    • 6. Hop Dad  |  July 2, 2013 at 11:50 am

      Thank you so much! I am excited to see how she handles four.

      Reply
  • 7. Brewsurfer  |  July 8, 2013 at 10:37 am

    Parenting, to me, seems like sailing a boat. You never go straight, but in order to go forward you are constantly going right, correcting left and turning back again. Great post embodying the constant work in progress that is fatherhood.

    Reply

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