You exploded into our lives through a fury of burning tearing pain. I had pushed so hard with one leg, rolled up on one hip because you were turned sideways, that I couldn’t bear any weight on that leg the next day. You had tried to ram your head, fist, and shoulders all at once. When at last you slipped out and they placed you, warm and slippery and ticked off, into my arms, I was trembling and overwhelmed and couldn’t tell if I was seeing boy parts or an umbilical cord between your legs.
“Is this is a boy or a girl?” I remember asking. Then your dad and I burst into tears at the words, “You have a healthy baby boy.”
In so many ways, you are like our first child. You made us parents of a typical child for the very first time. You, whose heart is whole and immune system strong and synapses firing straight and regular. You were my first to really nurse, which I remembered every time the pain made my toes curl and my womb clamp down. You slept for hours, swaddled in the cradle where your dad spent nights as an infant. You grew and you laughed and you rolled. You picked things up with your chubby fingers and made baby noises that turned into syllables that turned into words. You mastered the intricate dance steps of suck-swallow-breathe so effortlessly.
You showed me that motherhood isn’t all fear over oxygen levels and calories consumed, it is something to enjoy. You showed me what a wonder it is to watch a tiny human life grow and discover the world and your own body. Your sister had taught me how complicated the simplest maneuvers are, while you allowed me to revel in the joy of each milestone. I am still in awe of the ease at which you mastered basic things like pushing up, sitting, and crawling.
You are more than halfway to manhood now. Your shoulders are the perfect height for me to rest my arms on, but I’m sure it will seem like seconds until you rest your arms on mine. You are growing and maturing and I love seeing you explore what you love and love what you learn.
We’ve had some precious moments together. I feel rich from our hugs before school and kisses goodnight. You tell a great story, and laughing with you over the silliness of a repetitive song in Boychoir feels like fireworks in my heart. You think deep and you ask good questions. You read me well, and I’m so proud of the courage you possess to tell me that I used words to tear down instead of build up. This shows me that you believe me when I say that I love you no matter what.
Remember this as you grow and stretch your wings and try new things and fail at some: you can’t say or do anything that will change my love for you. You are my son, and you always will be.
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