When I went downstairs to dig out the Christmas bins this year, I looked around and realized that ever so slowly, without my being aware of it, our basement has become a graveyard for baby things.
First you outgrew your swing, your legs kicking so energetically that you were becoming a topple risk. When you learned to walk, you no longer needed that exersaucer (the one you did hundreds of laps with while I made dinner). Then came the day when you began protesting your highchair, refusing to settle for anything less than a booster seat like your big brother. It wasn’t long before you started boycotting your crib too, threatening to throw yourself over the side until we finally released you.
As I look at the baby detritus around me, it’s not that I’d wish you back to babyhood. After all, we love the person you’re becoming, and it’s a delight to see your personality emerge with each passing week.
The two-year-old version of you is made of grins and grit, delight and determination, impishness and independence. You live large and love big. You adore dogs and social gatherings and cheese and somersaults and leaping off high places—and, if you have your preference, doing it all without pants on.
You have two speeds: full throttle and asleep. After a day filled with jumping on things and then hurling yourself off, and trying to keep pace with a five-year-old, you snuggle into your bed (not a crib) with a rotating cast of stuffed animals tucked under your knees. Before bed, you inevitably request the car book, pointing out who in our family drives each one (I’ve never envisioned myself as a dump truck driver, but who am I to argue?). You don’t say much, but you certainly know how to get your point across, taking us by the hand to show us precisely what you want or acting out elaborate charades.
Looking around me, I wonder if it’s the rocking chair that hurts most. There’s nothing fancy about the chair—it was handed down by a friend who got it from a friend, and it’s been recovered multiple times. You haven’t sat still long enough to be rocked for some time now, and there’s no reason to keep unused furniture in your room—it would only serve as an unnecessary obstacle to your games of chase and hide-and-seek. Besides, I don’t know how much longer my arms will even be able to hold you.
But doing this the second time around, I know how fast the sands of childhood slip through a parent’s fingers. Now I know how birthday candles accumulate faster than I’ve given them permission to. Now I know how the calendar pages keep turning, even if I’d like to stay in a particular season a while longer.
You won’t remember all the nights your dad and I rocked you in the middle of the night, singing “I Bid You Good Night.” But even after you’ve outgrown lullabies, I think those words and melodies (and the love undergirding them) weave their way into your DNA somehow. Maybe they become part of you, grounding you not only in our love but in your belovedness as God’s child.
So, happy birthday, my little boy who is literally racing your way into your third year of life. Your dad and brother and I love you so much. And please excuse me if I tuck you in more than once every night, while I still can.
I love you, but Jesus loves you the best.
And I bid you good night, good night, good night.