Evie is three, and three is a difficult age for my babies. Three is the year they have to learn that other people have needs and desires, too, and that they can’t always do what they please or have what they want right when they want to do it or have it, or sometimes at all. It’s a rather rude awakening after the previous years of, well, lavish spoiling.
So Evie is three, and she doesn’t get snacks if she didn’t eat her last meal, and she can’t leave the table until I tell her she can, and she can’t walk around in the pew at Mass, and sometimes she has to drink water instead of juice. It’s a hard life, I’m telling you.
Lately, I haven’t been reading a chapter book aloud at bedtime. I’ve been reading picture books, lots of them. The children get to pick one or two apiece, and I pick one or two, as well, and we end up with a pile of five or six books to read together. We go upstairs to their bedroom, mostly to get Henry into the going-to-bed spirit, and I settle in on the floor. Evie drops into my lap, and Henry squeezes in, too, but then he decides he’d rather walk around. He comes and goes, but Evie stays. Being read to is just about her most favorite thing in the whole wide world, and it doesn’t even matter what we’re reading. She just loves the words and the pictures, and it is really the only time she sits still.
I love those few moments of just holding her, of her still being my baby. She looks at me. “I’m not a baby. I’m a big girl, now, Mama,” she says, even though she promised she’d be my baby always, even though I know for certain by now that this can never be. I tuck her into bed and she kisses me too hard and too fast. I try to gather her up in my arms like I used to before she was three, but she squirms away, not quite ready to settle down just yet. I give her one last quick kiss on her forehead and let her go, and then I leave, a little heavy-hearted.
Evie is three, and three is a difficult age for this mama. Three is the year I have to learn that they aren’t babies anymore, that I can’t hold onto them, no matter how hard I try. Three is the year that breaks my heart.