3rd Birthday: Grayson Michael Papciak, Carrollton TX

October 26, 2018

dear grayson..from mommy

I could write about this kid forever .. but I promise to only shove about five hundred words in front of your face tonight. Six hundred, max. And there will be pretty pictures! But, yeah. My child turned three two weeks ago and I could basically not be any prouder of him. There’s nothing inherently unique or shocking about my son. I mean, he’s adorable, and people love his curls. But honestly, he is blissfully typical. He likes things other kids his age like, he does all the things those kids do, and not a lot more. BUT THERE IS. NO. WAY. He could make me more proud.

Grayson loves taking walks these days. Now that we live in a legitimate neighborhood with houses and streets and everything, we go on walks a lot. His obsession right now is Halloween House. One of our neighbors has done decked his house OUT in ginormous Halloween inflatables. It’s pretty amazing, and Grayson is absolutely obsessed with it. And I am obsessed with the fact that since his birthday is during October, Halloween will (hopefully) always be as special to him as it is to me. So but this month, our walks have largely focused on Halloween House. And last night’s walk, on which I brought my camera, was no exception.

Like most three year olds, Grayson refuses to leave the house empty handed. As you can see, on this particular outing he brought not only his troll doll (which I scored from an antique store) but also a pair of heart-shaped sunnies from my studio. The red pair, because all sunnies have to be red. He will not entertain any other color, and all red sunglasses are HIS. I mean he will legitimately point at any rando pair of red sunnies on the street and gleefully proclaim, “My sunnies!” He LOVES red. And he loves sunnies. And he loves his troll doll too. (“Trolls” was actually his first favourite movie.)

So here we are on our walk, with our sunnies, and our troll doll, headed toward Halloween House because we love Halloween. Allow me to comment on why I love the way my son is dressed today. First of all, there is something so 70’s or 80’s about this sweater. I purchased it from consignment and it goes so perfectly with those red pants (most likely also purchased at consignment). Also, red pants = red, which is Grayson’s favourite. I love how big he’s gotten. I love the way he still looks like a baby at the same time he’s starting to look like a little boy. This is part of what makes toddlerhood so special, I think.

We arrive at Halloween House and Grayson points to each inflatable in turn, exclaiming over them and awaiting my reaction to each. “Look mom, Pirates!” (They’re ghost-pirates, actually.) “Look mom, pumpkins!” “Look mom, that!” (He doesn’t know the word for witch. We’re working on it.) Like a lot of children his age, he repeats the same things he said yesterday when we were doing this same activity. But I love hearing it today just as much as yesterday. And I kind of even like that I heard it the exact same way twice.

Grayson and I walk back to the house. He’s reluctant, but I convince him there’s no way for him to eat the Halloween candy we have at home as long as we’re still at Halloween House. Grayson talks the entire way home. That’s actually something I’ve always been proud and impressed about with him. He’s a brilliant conversationalist, even if I’m the only one who understands him 100% of the time.

As he slips his tiny, soft hand into mine, and I look down at his curly head, and I listen to his special toddler way of saying things, my heart could literally explode. You know that feeling? Oh my god. I’m addicted to it, and I feel it just about every third or fourth time I look at him or hold him. What was my life before I had this kid? I don’t know. It wasn’t bad. But it wasn’t THIS. And I would never give this up.

Grayson, this is the third October we’re celebrating you. And when I look back on all the Octobers before you were here, I just can’t believe how incredibly empty they all were. And how I didn’t even realize it! I already can’t wait for your next birthday, and the year ahead. To see how much you learn and grow and love. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: everything you do amazes me. Mommy loves you – happy birthday, honey bug.

OK: it’s almost 800 words. Sorry not sorry, y’all 🙂

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