Today you turned 3. Today you were supposed to be leaving footprints on a beach in the Bahamas, giving a dolphin a kiss on the nose. I was going to joke about celebrating your birthday in a tropical destination on purpose when we all really knew it was because your older siblings had the time off from school. That’s the life of a 3rd child. But now the life of a 3rd child means waking up and being with siblings that should otherwise be in school. Now it means your Mom and Dad get to watch you turn 3. Really watch you. Not watch you during bedtime stories and back rubs or during the rush of a morning routine. We won’t be sent the picture from your teachers with you wearing a crown; your friends singing to you at snack time. No, not this birthday. This birthday we will be with you every single minute of every single day. We will watch you turn into a 3 year old with true presence. We will never, ever forget this time with you, sweet boy. You are surrounded with love…with family from afar, with drive by’s from friends, with the palpable communal vibe we can’t see but we sure do feel deep in our bones.
Today you took a sip from your new water bottle and I said without knowing: ” You can show that to Miss Jody at school soon.” Your 3 year old innocent face looked back at me and asked “When the sickness is over, right Mommy? When they stop coughing? I’m so sorry you are growing up in a scary world right now. I’m sorry this is your childhood reality. But want to know what I’m not sorry for? I am not sorry that I get to kiss your newly minted 3 year old cheeks today, tomorrow, and the next day….and the next day after that….
Happy 3rd Birthday Riggs Philip Quinn.