The boy turned 4 yesterday.

It’s hard to believe time has gone by so quickly. Some days I wish for time to hurry along because I am tired and my patience has worn thin and my hair has turned gray and I just want a moment of quiet to collect my thoughts. But in those quiet moments I get alone, few and far between though they may be, I curse myself for wishing time to pass. I want those long days back.

There have been times when I felt upset over my dirty floors. I sweep and mop and the floors become dirty, as if by magic. But then I noticed that one of the things that dirties my floors is the little greasy foot prints of a blond-haired, blue-eyed boy who can’t be bothered to sit still and wait for the floors to dry. Those foot prints get bigger all the time. Sometimes I hate to mop them away again. I wish I could always have those little footprints on my floor.

I don’t think there could possibly be a mother on earth that loves her boy as much as I love mine. Maybe all mothers feel that way. There’s a book for little kids about this mother and her son. It has that famous line, “I’ll love you forever. I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.”

I bought it for him one Valentine’s Day, but I’ve never been able to read it to him the whole way through without bursting in to tears. I truly know what it means to love someone so much it hurts.

He’s smart. He knows nearly every type of tractor and farm implement that exists. He wakes up talking about tractors and he goes to sleep talking about tractors and sometimes in between he talks about lawnmowers and excavators. He’s a John Deere man, but if you offer him a Kubota he won’t turn you down. He’s in the market for a Massey Ferguson, and wouldn’t mind having a New Holland, Oliver or Singer Monarch.

When he was two weeks old a lady laid hands on him at a yard sale and blessed him to be a great gospel singer. I used to try and see that through, but he’s not big on music unless it’s about heavy machinery. Until the pandemic took over our lives, he liked to loaf around at the thrift stores as much as I did. He made a lot of friends. It also made a bit of a hoarder out of him. He doesn’t like to get rid of a thing.

He works from daylight until dark. Hay baling, mowing, tractor tilling, weed eating. He’s a busy boy. He has the best imagination.

Besides farm equipment, he likes tools. He has all his own tools, real ones, and he knows how to use them. His uncle got him a weed eater and leaf blower for his birthday. Real ones. He knows how to use those too.

His fingernails are always dirty from playing in the muck. He likes mud and dirt and dust. His rain boots are nearly always filled with rain.

He has terrible table manners, and most of the time can’t be bothered to eat a thing. He won’t sit still long enough. Mama says he’ll get fat like the rest of us soon enough.

Sometimes he gets a temper. He’s my child through and through.

He has to rub my arm when he falls asleep. He used to say to me, “I need you,” all the time but he doesn’t anymore and I miss it.

He’s the best brother. He adores his sister, and though I’m sure he is sometimes jealous, he never takes it out on her. She can hardly look at him without laughing anymore because she loves him so much. They are going to be best friends.

But for now, he is my best friend.

He is four.

He is the most beautiful boy in the whole entire world. He is the smartest boy in the world. He is the hard-workingest boy in the world. He is my best friend.

I love him so much.

Those are the things I tell him everyday.

“Did you know it?” I always ask after I say those things.

And he always nods his head yes.

Danielle Wallingsford Kirkland is a former Sentinel staff writer and correspondent. She can be reached at danielle.w.kirkland@gmail.com.

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