I Am Three | A Birthday Letter from Dad

Dear Lucinda,

Last year, I contemplated the “Tremendous Threes” and, as your mother mentioned elsewhere, it is clear we are well on our way. With increasing frequency we come to loggerheads about some thing or other. For whatever reason, eating dinner seems to be where we clash with the most frequency. I have no idea why; nor do I know why it is that I must always feel like the “mean” parent. Your mother tells me that at varying points (though for some reason it is only when I’m not around) she too is the mean parent. I am skeptical, but in fairness to everyone you spent a good amount of time in the not too distant past crossing your arms, huffing, and announcing to both of us that we were “being mean.”

Thankfully we appear to have nipped that off, though the huffing, which is a nicker-like raspberry, remains the clearest way you continue to demonstrate your complete distain for anything we appear to be doing.

I nevebelieved my parents when they explained to me that my punishments “hurt them more than it hurt me.” I still don’t believe it, frankly. But let me tell you, when I choose to send you to time out, it really does hurt me. It breaks my heart just a little every time. Not because you’ve done anything to hurt me, but because I feel that somehow I have failed you. Me sending you to your time out chair represents a complete collapse of creativity on my part. I have let you down because either I am too tired, or lazy, or incompetent, or dull to figure out how to advert your march to “thinking time.”

Last week several times, when I’d run out of ideas and sent you off, you decided to use the nuclear options: “I don’t care!” and “Never!” My heart almost stopped. How could I respond to that? I felt forced to resort to a Cold-War style tactic of announcing, “I don’t care that you don’t care.” However, at the last second, I choose to execute this with a goofy affectation, a silly voice. This de-escalated the standoff into a barely suppressed giggle from you. “Whew!” Who needs a Cuban Missile-like confrontation with a toddler? And lately, after you’ve “gotten yourself together,” I give you a hug and a kiss, which is a thinly veiled request on my part for your forgiveness. Thankfully, you’ve always accepted my apologies.

It used to be that I thought we were born and created in the world; I now see it differently. I remember the first time I looked at you and said your name. It was like magic. You started to crystalize, your name the final touch required to anchor to the now a soul that always has been and always will be. To me it now appears that every day is a revealing process; light added to darkness,uncovering what was already there, unknowing transforming into the possibility that we could not yet see. Each day you emerge a little more from the gloaming and show yourself to us, and we emerge from our own obscurity to see who we can become. The process is not an easy one, but as always, it is an interesting one.

Thank you and I love you.  ~ Dad

On your birthday, breakfast yogurt deserves sprinkles!