I don’t know when this started occurring. I know it’s been several months, but exactly when it started, I haven’t a clue. I do, however, remember the first time it happened:
NE, you’re three as I write this, so for argument sake, we’ll say it was about six or eight months ago. You would have turned 3 only a few months before this first occurred. I was tucking you into bed after reading you a story. We had just prayed together, like we do every night. You were laying down, all snuggled up under your blanket looking up at me with those bright eyes of yours filled with such love and admiration. You were happy. I’d have given just about anything to have been able to read your mind at that moment in time. Truth be told, I’d give just about anything to know what goes through your mind at any time of the day. To watch you play, read, run…just to watch you process what’s going on around you brings about so many different facial expressions that evoke wonder on my part…wonder about how a three-year old processes all of that data differently than a 37-year old. I digress…
Kneeling by your bedside on this night, I’m proud to be your dad. Proud of all that you are…not because of what you’ve done, but just proud to know you and proud to be given the responsibility of being your daddy. As I look down upon your smiling face, I say three simple words to you. Words that any adult who reads this will hear and think nothing other than, this is a dad praising his child. Three words we hear all the time, whether in being said to friends and family, or in mainstream media. When composed in the order I chose to use them, they make perfect sense…to an adult. In the mind of a three-year old, however, the same three words mean something completely different. And until the mind of a three-year old is unleashed upon the world, no adult can ever be prepared for what comes next.
Three words…In my mind’s eye, I’m trying to tell you so many different things with these three words. In my three words, I’m trying to tell you that you’re awesome…that I’m proud of you…that I’ll always be proud of you…that I’m here for you…that I’m blessed and proud to be your daddy…that you mean the world to me…that my life would never be the same without you…that you make a difference in my world…that you have a magnetic personality…that others are drawn to you because you’re a great person…that you’re a great helper…that you’re an awesome big brother to SI and an amazing little brother to SD…that you’re smart…you’re funny…you’re beautiful on the inside and the outside…that you’re good at problem-solving…that you’re compassionate and caring…that you think of others first…that you have a servant’s heart…that your decision-making is impressive for a 3-year old…that you’re a loving person…that I love you.
Three words that in the mind of a three-year old have no correlation to any of what I’m really trying to say to you. Three words that in the mind of a three year old mean something completely different than their intended meaning. As I look down upon your innocent smiling face, all that I want to say to you to express how much you mean to me is, “NE, you rock!”
And after saying all that I want to say, you look up at me with a puzzled expression on your face. A brief smile breaks across your mouth as you tell me in all seriousness, “I’m not a rock.”
Not what I was expecting, but you are son. You are more than you’ll ever know. All of you are rocks in my life…rocks past which the river of my life flows and is blessed to have in its path.