I don’t recall anything from when I was three years old, so I am assuming you won’t remember details of this trip to Denver. That’s why I am writing this letter to you, which I hope you might enjoy reading when you are older.
Darlene (whom you call “D”) and I arrived early at Denver International this morning and set up watch in front of the elevators that we knew would bring you and your Mom to the main terminal. As soon as you spotted us, you leaped out of your UPPAbaby stroller and sprinted across the granite floor to give D a hug.
“He was a total champ,” Roo told us when she reached us with the stroller. She said you had a window seat and that when the Southwest flight touched down you went nuts. She thinks you were very happy to be here and to realize how fast that plane was moving down the runway.
After getting your duffel bag on wheels at Carousel 6, we headed for the A Line train to Union Station. You rode free, because you are under 5. As the train pulled away from the airport, a jet slanted up into the sky. It was close enough for a great view.
“Follow that plane!” you shouted at the window. You wore a bright orange Nike sweatshirt, jeans, and New Balance running shoes with flashing red lights.
When we reached Union Station, you were happy to ride in the stroller. We pointed out our high-rise building as soon as it loomed over the street scene. In the lobby you met the weekend concierge, who is from Pakistan and who gave you a high-five before we took the elevator to our floor.
It was clear that our Yorkie Claire remembered you from our home in Cambridge, because she did not bark when you entered the apartment. She did become a constant wiggle from head to toe, prancing alongside you as you checked out the view from our high windows.
After some quiet time, when you played but didn’t sleep, we reconvened in the living room. We decided to postpone our planned trip to the Denver Firefighters Museum and instead to walk to a park next to Cherry Creek. You were carrying your blanket friend named Blue, and your Mom said he had to stay in the apartment.
“Bye, Blue,” you said as you tossed him onto the blowup bed Darlene set up for you in her quilting studio. “See you after dinner.”
The Downtown Children’s Playground turned out to be filled with equipment that you found fascinating.
Your favorite — and mine, too — was a blue digging tool in the big sandbox.
You sat on the wide metal seat, which reminded me of seats I’ve seen on old tractors, and you worked two blue handles. When you pushed the one on the right it planted a little gray bucket shovel into the sand and scooped the sand toward you. When you pulled on the left handle, the scoop raised just like a steam shovel. By swiveling your seat in a circle, you could drop the sand anywhere you wanted.
Grampa couldn’t wait to try the shovel himself, which is when I figured out the difference between the right and left handle. I thought you would want to learn how they worked, so I sat behind you and placed my hands next to yours for a demo.
The demo didn’t last long, because you made it clear — politely, I thought, for a three-year-old — that you preferred to work the shovel yourself. You didn’t really care which handle did what. You worked them both vigorously in your own way, which resulted in lots of sand getting moved around.
We had supper back home. Since I love macaroni and cheese as much as you do, I was happy to whip up a box of Annie’s for you. You had one bowl and an extra helping, and you also pleased your Mom by eating a piece of red pepper. You were thirsty and drank a whole glass of milk.
At supper you asked each of us what the best thing about our day had been, and we asked you the same thing. Everyone’s best thing had to do with your arrival in Denver.
During the wind-down toward bedtime, Mom sat with you on the couch and read you a story, Old MacDonald Had a Truck. After that I took her place and watched a show with you your Fire tablet. It was about talking cats.
When your Dad was ready for a FaceTime video chat, we put you on the Herman Miller swivel chair in front of my big computer monitor. You kneeled on the chair and rested your hands on my desk, watching Mike on the screen.
“Do you want to tell him about the plane ride?” Roo asked you.
“Yeah, it was so awesome!” you said.
“Did you go underwater in the airplane?” Mike asked.
“That sounds like so much fun,” Mike said. It was a good connection, so he looked and sounded as if he were right in the room.
“How was your day?” you asked your Dad.
“It was very good. Me and Ryan hung out and were like, ‘I wonder what Jake’s doing.’ I said, ‘Jake’s on an airplane right now, Ryan.’”
“Hey, Ryan did something really silly?” you asked.
“Ryan was a little silly, but he is missing you,” Mike said.
“Hey! I had mac and cheese for dinner!” you announced, which pleased the chef. When your Dad asked what kind, you told him approvingly, “Purple box!”
Roo asked how Ryan had gone to sleep. “Easy peasy lemon squeezy,” Mike reported.
Mike asked what your favorite part of the day was, and you said it was when the plane landed.
“He was probably the most happy person on the whole plane,” Roo said. “Nobody looked as happy as he did, especially not the one-year-old kid. We’ve got to start building some Frequent Flyer miles. He’s a pro.”
You threw kisses to your Dad through the screen, and he did the same.
“I got it!” you said.
“We’re going to let you go,” your Mom said. “We’re signing off from a successful day.”
It’s past midnight now, Jake, and I hope you are sleeping soundly in the studio after your very full day of travel from Boston to Denver.
Darlene and I have lots of fun things planned for you today, but the most fun is going to be watching and listening to you turn every moment of this visit into something we’ll never forget.