Welcome to 3

The white shirt nicely sets off your jaundice.

Dear Sebastian,

This is a letter to you. I am writing it on the Internet because you cannot read yet, and if I wrote it on a piece of paper, I would probably lose it by the time you learned to read. Things on the Internet stay there forever, and that is a good lesson for you, especially if Facebook is still around by the time you learn to type and upload photos.

This year, I hope that your sunny disposition doesn’t change one whit. You’ve got a laugh that makes everyone around you pee their pants with sympathetic mirth. Your smile is like the sun. You like to roll around on the floor and scream, “Whoa!” as if you were being shoved about the carpet by an invisible giant hand.

This year is also the year I hope I hear clearly and with cognition, “I love you, Mommy.” I know you do love me — I can hear it in your voice when you say “cookie” and “Elmo.” But I would like a four-word sentence with no ambiguity in meaning. And I would like you to look me in the eye when you say it. (Is that creepy?)

This week, you start school. You’ve been in full-time daycare since you were 7 weeks old, except for those life-sustaining 10 weeks every summer I get as a teacher. And now, along with daycare, you’re getting another addition to the mix: PPCD, aka preschool program for children with disabilities.

I am thankful this program exists, yet I despair that you qualify for it. It all started when you were 18 months old. We took you to your pediatrician (a very nice lady) for a checkup, and she asked if we had any concerns. Your daddy and I looked at each other, and he quickly said, “No.”

“Well,” I said. “There is one thing.”

And a ball started rolling, and keeps rolling every day, and sometimes it feels like the rock that chased Indiana Jones through the Hovitos cave, crashing down toward us as we scramble to keep from being crushed. Other days it feels like a bouncy ball you buy at Kroger, fun and lightweight and no big deal. Just $1.99!

So you’re going to PPCD, and it will be three hours a day, and you will love it. Daddy and I have both met your teacher and seen your classroom and learned your schedule, and it’s all right up your little routine-loving alley. You do have to ride a bus to get there — from daycare — and that fills me with soul-crushing mommy guilt, but this is a letter to you, not my therapist, so we’ll just leave it at that for right now.

Daddy and I love you, my beautiful boy, and we love you just as you are. The only thing we would change about you is your sneaky posting of two- or three-letter Facebook updates from our phones, because like I said, those things are immortal.

Happy birthday.

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