I've been picturing you recently as an adult. Your wispy blond hair is now a light brown, closer to your father's and mine. Your blue eyes are still shining but there's a bit more of an experience of life behind them and you've endured heartache and disappointment - those things I had hoped that you never would. There's a bit more confidence in your step and more security in the way you carry yourself. You are beginning to figure out who you are, what you want, where you'll be. But that smile is still there. The one that has the power to reduce me to a pile of mush and that can get you out of anything you've gotten yourself into.
When I picture you in this way, I picture you happy. I hope that you are. It's the only thing that I ever wish for you - your happiness. No matter what shape that takes on for you. No matter if I agree with it or not. You should be happy. Life is short and it's the only thing that truly matters. I know that there will be hard times for you, and I also know that I can't protect you from them. But I hope that you're able to look to the other side of them and see your happiness waiting for you once again with outstretched arms. You'll get there. I promise.
When I picture you as an adult, I still picture that laugh that you have. The one that is loud and that rocks your entire body and sends everyone that you're with into fits of laughter themselves. It's a powerful laugh, Henry, and I hope that you never lose it. I hope that light and laughter and joy always find their way to you. I picture you making it a choice to find the good in the small things, the good in other people, and the good in life itself. I picture you sitting with your Dad and I around our dining room table, with your family sitting nearby, making us laugh with stories of your children, and making us miss the time when you were their age. But also, picturing you this way, I can tell you that we are so proud of you.
When I picture you this way, I also look down to see that you are still my little sidekick. The one who wraps his arms around my leg when he gets nervous, who clutches my shoulders tighter when he gets scared, who buries his face into my neck when he doesn't want to talk to anyone else. You are still my fun two year old who makes me laugh every single day, no matter what else is going on in my life. Your wispy blond hair flops into your eyes and your toothy grin lights up any room that you walk into.
But there's something else, too - your careful, cautious steps have now become sprints. You run faster and fall harder. But each time you pick yourself back up and keep going. I can tell that we're moving closer to me actually seeing you as an adult. And those are the times when I wish with all my heart for a Pause button. Something that will allow me to fully enjoy every single minute that we have of you as our toddler, our baby. Because in the blink of an eye, you will be an adult. So, let's enjoy this time together. Let's enjoy the small details of our day - the kisses before bedtime, the snuggles first thing in the morning, the pile of toys that cover our floors. Because until I can reach for that Pause, this is the only chance we have.