i hope i don’t forget:
how you changed the pronunciation of banana to bonana and called coins “points”.
how obsessed you were over hamsters, wanting to watch them go through mazes, wanting to check out so many books about them, and asking to be one for Halloween.
how you questioned why I was brushing my teeth “in morning time” because we’ve failed miserably with making you do the same.
how you sat on my foot and clung to my leg before we had a babysitter.
how you shouted out “Hey, Neighbor!” every time our neighbors are in their driveway.
how you counted all ten ducks on every page of 10 Little Ducks to make sure it was the correct number.
how many times you requested that Dad buy more Chewy Bars from the store and how many times you refused to let us put any type of lettuce on your plate.
how you cruised down hills on your balance bike without fear while people walking nearby watched with fear.
how you started forming inside jokes with Zadie like “Hey little baby sister” and “What the baby heck?” which turned into “What the coffee beans?”
how you suggested “We could go to Target” every single day.
how you worked so independently on random Ari projects, like organizing the fruit to be together as a family or pouring cereal into different containers of water for God knows what reason.
how you wondered “Mom, who sings this?” when the radio was on in the car and I said “It’s Taylor Swift, buddy. Do you like it?” and you just started beaming.
how your favorite way to help around the house is to cut a sponge in half and wash the dining room table with Zadie.
how you replied “Absolutely” and “Definitely” so many times to me when you agreed with something I said.
how you murmured in my ear during a kid play saying “Stuart Little is making me super tired.”
how you would declare “i love ya” after tucking you in at night.
like i told your sister,
i don’t want to forget,
but i know these are moments you won’t remember.
my prayer is that all this quality time with your tiny soul will build amazing muscle memory for both of us,
that you’ll know how strong our love is for you,
because it was built into your character before you could ever even name it or appreciate it.
Ari, my darling, the last four years have been hard for everyone. We’ve been facing pandemics of many kinds since you entered the world November of 2018. I have worked to release myself from the guilt I held from paying more attention to the hurt in the world than delighting in you these last few years. You are truly an angel to me- the child who taught me to play and to laugh and to smile, and to scream and to cry and to sleep all in the same day. I am forever grateful to you.
happy 4th birthday, ari james.