Tonight Teresa and I said goodnight to our two-year old son for the last time.
I sang the goodnight prayer with Aidan, and then I told him a “Jerry Ant” story – made up on the spur of the moment.
He read me his favorite book du jour, Buenos Noches, Gorila. And we talked, for a while, before he kissed me, and hugged me hard around the neck, like he always does.
The story I told him was of Jerry Ant’s third birthday. When he was two, Jerry Ant was so tiny people could barely see him. And he was so quiet they could barely hear him.
But on his third birthday, Jerry Ant ate not one, not two, not three servings of his ice cream cake. In fact, Jerry Ant ate no less than ten pieces of cake. And the next day, he wasn’t tiny anymore. He was big, and he was visible, and he was audible. He could do more, and be more. (He was also sick, but that’s besides the point.)
Tomorrow Aidan turns three, and a book of our life closes. Or, rather, begins a new chapter. We love our little guy to death and beyond, and will even when he’s bigger and older.
But there’s a sweetness, a newness, a poignancy, and most of all an overwhelming feeling of how brief life is, when your kids are small.
Everything is new. A trip to the grocery store is an adventure. Going to the bank with Daddy is like a voyage to Mars. A candy treat is ample cause for rejoicing.
I hope I never forget how Aidan looked and I felt when I came home from a week-long business trip to San Antonio. I drove home fast from the airport and came in around quarter after eight. He was sleeping but I woke him up.
He smiled. Mouth closed, teeth not showing, but smiling. Smiling big. Saying nothing. Just holding on to me as I held him in my arms, smiling and smiling and smiling.
Stay fun, Aidan. Keep smiling.
You are in our hearts today. You will be in our hearts forever.