Dear HD: An Almost-Four Letter


Dear Happy Dude,

You know how once in a while, you just have a hard time saying goodbye to me during school drop-off? You’ll be fine for weeks at a time and then one day, you just suddenly wrap your arms around my leg and say, “No. You’re not leaving.”

And then, when I try to peel you off, your eyes start to water and I quickly remind you that you really, really love school? Eventually your fabulous teachers take over so that I can hightail it out of there and before you know it, you’re having fun and you forget that you really did not want me to leave. You know what I’m talking about, right?

Well, I have a secret for you…

Once in a while, this happens to Mommy, too.

Usually, it’s when we’re having a really good morning. You turn off the iPad and get dressed as soon as I ask. You don’t complain that your sleeves are too bumpy or that your shoelaces aren’t tucked in perfectly. We get out the door unfrazzled.

I drive you to school and we sing Backyardigans’ songs in the car. You say things like, “Remember that time I was brushing my teeth and the toothpaste hit the mirror when I spit? That was so cwazy!” and I say, “I sure do remember that” because it was only like an hour ago.

We walk hand-in-hand to the playground and you tell me things like, “Sometimes my friends are silly! And sometimes they’re just nice.” And when I answer, “You’re lucky to have so many nice friends,” you say, “I’m YOUR friend too, Mom.” And my heart. OY, my heart.

And then, on this kind of day, we enter the playground, you hug my legs and yell, “Bye Mom!” and run away.

“Wait!” I yell, “Come back and give me a kiss!”

You do and you look like this:


And then even though you run away again, I don’t leave. I can’t. Not yet.

Yup, it happens to Moms, too. And today was one of those days.

I just found myself rooted to that playground mulch, watching you find your friends, wishing that I could just freeze time for a few tiny minutes and keep you in this place. This just-days-shy-of-four-years-old place.

Because HD, here it is… I really think you’re a perfect you.


… EVEN THOUGH you were up three times last night complaining, “My mouth really hurts. My mouth still really hurts. Sleeping is not helping my mouth to stop hurting.” And then at 5:15 this morning, when I sleepily shuffled to the bathroom with you, you looked at me wide awake and said, “Do you know what yellow plus black makes? Because I don’t.”

… EVEN THOUGH you won’t eat anything that could even remotely be considered healthy except for applesauce from a pouch and MAYBE an apple slice on a good day (with NO SKIN). And if I do what the experts say and just put a vegetable on your plate, you will either scrape it off onto the table OR refuse to eat anything else until I remove it. Good times.

… EVEN THOUGH you’re still having too many accidents for my liking, including one that prompted me to post this on Facebook the other day:

“It is NEVER a good thing when an almost-four year old yells from the bathroom, “MOM!! Um, I got a little problem here!””

(Let’s just SAY I threw a pair of underwear, pants AND a plastic stool right into the garbage because I couldn’t cope with the mess.)

… EVEN THOUGH your addiction to The Backyardigans has almost surpassed that of your previous addiction to Cars and you walk around quoting Pablo, Tyrone and Austin all day which can get a TINY bit annoying.

Despite all of these things and the occasional whining and bedtime shenanigans, I STILL think you’re a perfect you.

I think that you striking a ninja pose whenever you see a camera is perfect.


I think you being somewhat neutral on pumpkin-picking is perfect.


I think you moving through life on your own terms, at your own pace is perfect.


I think you’re VERY funny and goofy and clever and creative and usually quite calm and MOSTLY always happy. And all of that is perfect.

I think that after you turn four on Saturday, you’ll still be all of these things, but you just won’t feel like a baby anymore and my eyes will water for sure.


Four = Big Kid. But it’s like I always tell you HD, you’ll always be my baby. And I’ll always think you’re a perfect you.

Love you the most… don’t even think about it.


6 responses »

  1. Happy Birthday HD! I love this tribute to son from mom. It was beautiful. I agree with Michael, before you know it, they are in college. These are the best times in their lives and yours. Enjoy!

  2. I SWEAR I had the same sort of thought about how time flies with him when he was trying to explain something this weekend about his friends at school and just using such ‘big kid’ observations and mannerisms. Not sure if everyone in Internetland also knows this but he can write his name down now, too, which for some reason for me is one of the marks of a ‘Big Kid’. Happy b-day Happy Dude!

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