I don’t remember not having a mom’s life. There’s never been a significant part of my life, where I didn’t have a baby on my hip, or I wasn’t preparing snacks. When my friends were at the mall, I was usually fixing dinner. Such is the life of an oldest daughter in a large, Southern family.
When I found out that I was pregnant with you, I didn’t have the panic that a lot of expectant mothers have. Was I ready? It was be a struggle, but I was nothing, if not prepared to take care of a child. My lack of worry spoke to my lack of clear understanding of what was actually involved in being a parent, but I think I’ve caught on.
Thirteen years ago, right about this minute, 7:09 a.m. I was getting my Pitocin drip to induce labor. I won’t go through your birth story (17.5 hours, LOTS of pain and ultimately, a C-Section). How you got here, while important, isn’t the point of this post. The point is, on December 17, 1998, I gave birth to you, a son.
People always say they count fingers and toes first, and I don’t recall doing that. I’m sure I did at some point, but I really wanted to just see your face. Even if it was the face of a four-fingered kid, you would have been the most awesome four-fingered kid ever. My December boy, born with size 2 feet, was this mixture of brown and hot pink frustration. Your APGAR score was a 9, and I’m pretty sure that he aced the crying portion of the test. “I’m naked, it’s cold, you’re strangers and not one of you gawking bastards are gonna get me a blanket? I see you.” The funny thing is, though your speaking voice is loud now, you hardly ever yell.
It’s important that we look at our children through the eyes of the world every now and then. As parents, and especially mothers, you guys can frustrate us to no end. I often see the kid who leaves toys on the floor, leaves the refrigerator door open too long, and never places a new roll of TP on the holder. I take the time to realize that you’re so much more. The world sees this boy with warm, brown eyes, who holds doors open for everyone, and always says “please” and “thank you.” They see this gangly kid, trying desperately to fit, who doesn’t quite understand that you are way more awesome than the caricature you’re trying to be. They see that once you hammer out the chinks that come with growing up, you are going to be a great man.
People would like to say that I’m partially responsible for who you are, but I’m not so sure. I always knew you were going to be a good kid. I tell people all the time, I’m lucky to know you. If you weren’t my kid, I’d still want to hang out with you, my pensive boy who so deeply wants to be cool, you whispered that you wanted a telescope over any other “normal” teenage stuff. The glint that you got in your eyes when you said it, like an echo of your father’s expression, will always make me chuckle. You are so special, and a blessing to us all.
Happy Birthday, my star gazer. Thank you for being.