It’s so cliché to say, but time really does fly. I can still clearly remember sitting down at my computer to type my letter to you for your second birthday, and here I am doing it again for your third.
I’ve been pondering what I want to say to you this year—what wisdom I want to impart, what dreams I have for your year ahead.
Ultimately I’ve concluded that what I wish for you right now, as you turn 3 years old, is that you HOLD ON.
Hold on to your kindness, for the world will try to steal it.
Oh Luke, you are such a sweet boy. And not just when you cuddle with Daddy or whisper, “I love you, Mommy” unprompted; your kind and gentle spirit extends to your peers too.
Why, just last week I heard you sweetly ask one friend, “Would you like to play hide-and-seek with me?” and to another you said, “May I sit next to you, please?”
This is more than just good manners (though I sincerely hope you hold on to those too). It is your deep and genuine kindness at play.
The sad news is this: Without a doubt, the world will try to squash it. It will tell you that nice guys finish last, which in some ways is true. If you hold on to your kind spirit, you probably will never be as rich as Donald Trump or in the spotlight as much as Tom Brady—and thank God for that.
Hold on to your kindness, and you will be so much better.
Hold on to your excitement, because too many people grow up to be bored and dull.
The world is an exciting place, and right now you appreciate that more than anyone else I know.
I see it in the way you flap your arms with elation when we walk by a construction site (“Look, Mommy, it’s an excavator!”) or when you squeal with joy at adding one more block to the skyscraper of a tower you’re building.
I see it in the way you start running laps around the kitchen—your excitement energizing your entire body—when I say you can have a cupcake for dessert or that your aunts are coming for a visit tomorrow.
These sorts of things are meant to excite us, yet the excitement of childhood rarely lasts. The monotonous responsibities of adulthood can quickly make life seem boring: Go to work, clean your house, do your laundry, repeat.
But hold on to your excitement, and life will never be dull—and neither will you.
Hold on to your inquisitiveness, for it will always serve you well.
Admittedly, sometimes it’s annoying when you ask “WHY?” over and over again.
But when I stop and actually try to answer your questions and explain things to you, you listen with every ounce of your attention. I see the wheels turning as you process every word I say, be it about why the sky is blue or why there aren’t real dinosaurs at the zoo.
You are so eager for knowledge right now. You are a sponge absorbing every drop of new information.
Hold on to that thirst for learning, son. It will help you in school, yes, but also far beyond it.
People who long for understanding are usually the ones who get it; people who are always open to new ideas are usually the people who have them. I want you to be one of those people.
Hold on to your incredible ability to weather life’s transitions, because that’s a skill many adults are still seeking.
This was quite a year for you.
There was your first day of preschool.
There was the start of organized activities, like swimming lessons and toddler soccer.
And the biggest transition of all—the arrival of your baby sister and your official promotion to BIG BROTHER!
Hold on to your ability to do that, son, because life is famous for throwing us curveballs, and the best thing you can do is keep taking them in stride.
Hold on to your faith in me, because I’ll always try to be better for you.
Oh, Luke, I’m already messing up as your mom.
Like the time last week you threw a tantrum solely because you were extremely overtired—which I knew, and was mostly responsible for—and yet in the moment I handled it all wrong.
Or the time I desperately wanted to get some work done so I let you watch way too many episodes of Super Why while I typed away on the computer.
I’m nowhere close to the perfect mom, but I do believe I am the perfect mom for you.
And believe me, son, I am always trying to be better for you. I am always working to challenge my own weaknesses—my general lack of patience, my Type-A desire to have everything planned out, my tendency to give in to your incessant requests for chocolate, and on and on and on—in the hopes that your life will be better for it.
My promise to you is that I will never stop trying.
Hold on to my hand, because neither one of us is ready to let go just yet.
When I re-read the letter I wrote for your second birthday, I was shocked at how much you’ve developed this past year—how much more independent you are.
My heart both soars and aches to realize how much more independent you’ll grow over the next 12 months.
As you navigate these important preschool years, I hope you’ll keep reaching for my hand, and I’ll keep holding on tight to it.
For we will blink and it will be time to let go.
Let’s not rush it. Let’s not let go too soon.
Happy 3rd birthday, Luke! You are so very loved!