And then you were three

Dear Orson,

My wonder, my wild child.

So full of curiosity, bursting with questions for the people that you meet. You’re interested in them all, however fleetingly they pass through our day. I sometimes wonder if they notice you – your voice so articulate for one so small – or whether they just don’t know how to answer. If they don’t you are quick to correct them, polite but persistent.

Your heartfelt pleases and thank yous make us smile. We have never asked for them especially, but you quickly learnt how hard they are to refuse. To be honest you are so clear on what you want and why most days that there’s rarely a reason why we should say no, though I can’t always agree to ice-cream for breakfast.

Your personality is blossoming with just as much clarity as your words. I don’t know why it should surprise me that you are so resolutely your own person, but it still does most days. This year especially I suppose I have worried that you might become stifled by all the time you’ve spent at home – that with only me and daddy and Arthur for company you might forget the infinite possibilities of ways to be that are found beyond our threshold. It’s a strange thing, though: the smaller your world has become the bigger you have grown to fill it.

You are a collector. Of ideas, of stories and of shells. You love rocks, and fossils, and how they transport you back to the time of the dinosaurs. You imagine your way into their heads and let them lead you on adventures, back before the asteroid hit the earth. That imagination leads you to all sorts of places. It infuses simple toys with infinite possibilities, and creates a bridge between you and your brother making the years between you melt away.

Not always. Sometimes that bridge is harder to cross: when Arthur’s nearly eight year old appetite seeks something different than the rambunctious unpredictability of a toddler. Often our grown-up brains struggle to rise to that challenge, too.

Your frustration is palpable when that happens, when the universe won’t bend to your will. It’s a difficult lesson to learn: that in some ways you are powerful enough to travel millions of years in the past or to the darkest deep of the ocean, and yet you can’t always get the things that you want.

And I want you to hold on to that power! I cherish your fierce will just as much as it fatigues me, and you will need it in the years to come.

It’s a difficult world you’re growing up into.

I hope that by the time you are big we might have sorted some of the problems out. That people might be happier in themselves, and more at peace with each other. That they too might have found a way to satisfy their hunger close to home, building tighter communities which sustain each other and drain less of the planet’s resources.

I think about this stuff a lot. As much as I strive to be present with you I cannot help but wonder what the future holds. And there are so many lessons you could teach us.

To be brave: squaring up to new situations with a strength beyond your stature, taking a moment to narrow your eyes and assess the possibilities before leaping straight in.

To explore: embracing nature with your whole body, from your toes to your taste buds. You are as much at home in the woods as on the beach, with birdsong or scuttling crabs for company.

To rest: hunkering in for cuddles when you need to recharge, restoring your body with mummy milk and your soul with the magic that seeps out from the pages of the books you love.

I keep getting glimpses of the boy you are becoming, and it reminds me to hold tight to those last vestiges of babyhood. These are exhausting but oh so precious times, and I do not want to miss a moment.

All my love for always,

Mummy xxx

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