It is late. 1:42 AM to be exact. It is now the morning after your birthday and I am laying in bed going from looking at you through the monitor, to looking at your dad sleeping next to me, to writing this letter. It was your birthday when I started writing and one rewrite after the other has led me into the wee hours of the morning the day after.
I spent all day finishing up details for your birthday party later today. You know…the party I said I wasn't going to do anything for this time around. I chose Toy Story as the theme because you love those movies so much I wanted to put a little smile on your face, even if you will not remember it when you grow older.
It is now 1:49. I am tired. I should go to sleep, but I wanted to write something for your birthday, so forgive me if at times I sound scattered or random. I started by thinking I would write a short blurb for my Facebook page. You know, the usual “on this day, you were born to forever change my life” kind of deal, but then I trashed it.
Then I thought about writing something witty and sarcastically humorous about toddler tantrums and needing more wine so others would chuckle at my expense, but I trashed that one as well.
I want to write something that is for you. Something that I know you cannot understand now, but something I hope will show you what you mean to my life even at your ripe young age. Something that when you have children of your own, you will understand even more. Something that you can keep in your heart when I am no longer there.
Yes, two years ago on this day, you were born to forever change my life. I wont give you the usual “you are the biggest blessing” and “never sleep again” message because that is what everybody says.
As they tell writers….I will write to you from my heart.
The past two years have been both beautiful and hard. Learning to be your mom and everything that comes with the title has been and continues to be be overwhelming, exciting, scary, worrisome, and the list goes on and on.
It is now 2:28 AM and in thinking what to write, my thoughts go back and forth between the exhausting tantrums over boundary exploration, the immense and engulfing love that keeps me awake at night praying to God that he keep you healthy, safe, and happy, and the hope that you have fun in your birthday party. Yes, this is what it is like to be a mom.
But as I weed out all of the noise from my head, it becomes clear to me that you came into this world, not only to be my beautiful son, but also to be my dedicated and inspiring teacher. Every step you have taken, every skill you have learned, every new experience you have had, all teach me a valuable lesson in life.
You taught me that many overlooked things in life, like boxes, and wooden spoons, and flashlights, can be fun if you just stop for a moment to enjoy them. You taught me it is possible to make the best of what you have.
You taught me that sometimes when you are having a bad day all you need is a blueberry, or a strawberry, or raspberry, or something colorful and healthy.
As I watched you play with the grass for the first time, I learned that blades of grass are as beautiful and awe inspiring as the most beautiful of flowers. I learned to admire all that is in nature by watching you discover it.
You taught me that no matter what it is, whether it is a plane, a bird, a cloud, or the moon…if it is in the sky, it is fascinating and worth looking at. I had grown so accustomed to the wonders of the sky, they were no longer wonders until you came around.
You taught me to dance. No, I knew to how to dance before you came around, but you taught me to dance like no one is watching. Watching you dance alone taught me that when I want to dance, I don’t need a partner, I just need to let go. Like my father, your grandpa, used to say “Music is the unconscious arithmetic of the numbers of the soul”. I sometimes think (wonder, wish, hope) that when you are dancing alone, he is dancing there with you.
I bought you a brand new lovey…a brand new replica of the scruffy one you hold dear. But no matter how many times I encourage you to exchange them, you refuse because your dingy and raggedy little monkey lovey has always been there to comfort you when you needed him…and you love him…and when you love someone or something that much, you never let them go. No matter how they look.
After watching all of your little friends learn to crawl and walk months ahead of you, I grew worried that something was wrong. Months later I was happy and relieved when you took your first steps. You consequently taught me to be incredibly grateful for the ability to move and walk.
Your loud belly laugh is like sunshine in our house. It is the best part of my day. It makes everything better for me. I really mean it. No matter what is happening, what I am doing, or what part of the house I am at, when I hear you laugh I immediately cheer up. You taught me to make sure our house is filled with laughter…everyday. You also taught me that when all else fails, a good tickle or silly face goes a long way.
In watching you painstakingly try again and again and again…to walk, to to climb…to use a fork…you taught me that persistence is much more important than ability when learning to do anything.
You taught me that the world does not need me to be perfect…it just needs me to be present and not give up. This one speaks for itself.
By trying to keep up with you and be happy doing so, you taught me that I need sleep as much as I need air.
With all the times we were ill together, you taught me that just when I thought I couldn’t handle anymore…I could. That and more.
Through you I learned that your dad is an amazing loving father who is willing to do anything for us. Just looking at you tells me that we were always meant to be together.
You taught me that sometimes it is ok to cry when things don’t go our way, or when we are tired, or hurt, or scared. Watching you also taught me that sometimes when you cry, you just need someone to hug you and tell you it will all be ok.
You taught me how much fun it can be to go outside and get some fresh air each and every single day. It is easy to be reminded of it when you stand by the kitchen door looking outside like the whole world is waiting for you.
You taught me that just like sometimes you need your mommy for no reason at all, sometimes I need mine as well. My mommy, your granma, says this never goes away. No matter how old you are.
All of the times I did not let you climb things because I thought you could not do it and would get hurt only to find out you could climb things perfectly fine taught me that just because you don’t know how to do something or you don’t know how to do it well, it does not mean you shouldn’t try. It also taught me I should never assume someone cannot do something just by the way they look.
What a great teacher you are…
Yes…I am blessed. I am blessed that you came my way. I am blessed that through all of the noise of everyday life, I am able see you as the great person that you are. That through the tears, and the tantrums, and giggles and wiggles…you are and always will be my greatest teacher. You came to slow things down to enjoyable speeds, to shed light to sometimes dark rooms, to fill the random voids of everyday life with laughter.
I think it is fair to say that two years ago yesterday…we were both born.
I love you son.