So, one week ago, my boy tuned four. As cliché as it sounds, it really does seem like just yesterday we were bringing him home from the hospital.
Although I can happily reminisce of all the fun we've had together these last four years, I am still a little wistful thinking that he is already a quarter of the way to 16 (yea, I thought about it that much).
I can look at his face and see the little baby I used to hold, the boy his is now and the man he will become. He is still so much the same person he has always been, but there are slight changes that make me realize he's growing up before me.
When I look at him, I am reminded of my little baby boy, who just needed me so much. We would spend our days, cuddling and kissing. I talked to him all day, about everything and nothing, and was rewarded early on when he responded with his little baby chatter. Sometimes, we would go on walks around the neighborhood, or have lunch with Daddy or go shopping with Grandma (Target, of course—his favorite store).
As he got a little older, his love of books grew (just like his Mama) and some days were spent reading-all day. Sometimes, we would get through all his books, and then start over again. I read them in different voices, made all the sounds that went along with the book (Z, what does a cow say? Moooo!) or acted out parts of the story just to make it more interesting. Reading is still a huge part of his life, and every night at bedtime he and Daddy read several books. And, now, he 'reads' to me; he knows a lot of books by heart and will recite them to me or Dad. Sometimes, he'll just sit by himself and read through his books. He knows his alphabet and even which letters most words start with. I anticipate the day he'll be reading all by himself.
Once I realized he was no longer content to just sit and watch me while I cooked, I decided to bring him into the kitchen. At first, he was so little, he had to stand on his tippy toes on the kitchen chair, just to reach the counter. He loved helping me make anything and everything, but his favorite was baking. Cookies, cupcakes, bread...you name it. If he could decorate it, even better! Yes, there were lots of messes to clean up afterward, but lots of memories to go along. He still loves helping me cook (even though he has his own 'kitchen' now) and now has his own apron, chef's hat and even rolling pin. We still make anything and everything, and his favorite is still baking. The difference is that now he can do so much more; crack eggs, whisk, measure, pour. He really is one amazing sous chef!
He was always so social, even as a baby. People told me he would 'grow out of it' and go through a shy stage, but shy is never a word that has described this guy! He was never scared or timid around strangers. People would approach us in the store, and he would just look at them-study their face. As he got older, he would walk up to people say , “hi” and give them a smile and wave. As much as I cringe at the sight of him engaging with complete strangers, I'm always amazed at his presence and outgoing nature. I even taught him to introduce himself to people; now he goes around the playground saying, “Hi, I'm Zavion!”
In general, he is tenacious; stubborn; passionate; assertive; driven; thoughtful; creative. As much as these words describe him though, there is so much that just can't be used to describe him. He truly is unique, one-of-a-kind. He has always been so comfortable being him, and I think that makes him special.
When he was younger, and putting us through some trying times, people would say, “Oh he's just 'willful.' He's going through a stage. He'll grow out of it.” I would just smile, because even then, I knew my boy. I knew his personality, because it is just like mine, and so I knew-I knew he would always be, him. While, that has been a crazy ride at times, it has also been incredibly amazing, fun and rewarding.
I love you buddy and everything you are, can be and will be.