October 24, 2012

To the Boy Child, on his 5th Birthday

Dear James,

I laughed and watched you jump up and down on your bed tonight, screaming, "Tomorrow is my birthday, I get cupcakes, Stella can't come to my party, and I like dinosaurs."  I giggled, then I sighed, and for a moment, my breath was taken away.

You are five years old. What in the world?

This time, five years ago, I was in the evilest stages of labor... the so-many-hours-of-natural-childbirth-hoopla... and at 1:00 am,  after literal DAYS of labor... I was told that I was going to get a c-section, unless they pumped me full of Pit and epidural'ed me... to try and get you out.  I complied.  And finally, so did you.

You were so stubborn.

At 4:47... or 4:44... or 4:25 (I'm sorry, I have absolutely no idea what time you were born...I'll look at the birth announcement and get back to you), you arrived.  I know you arrived, because you are... well, here now.  And gosh, you were precious and so soft and tiny. Your Mia held you when you were still warm from the womb, and I was so glad to have you on the outside of my body.

But you were so stubborn.

And now, five years later, I have a long laundry list of the things you are. And last year, on your 4th birthday, I was still astounded at your pig-headed, bull-headed, stubborness.  (I have NO idea where that comes from.. I mean, really...)

And yes, you are still... so very stubborn.

But my dear boy, on your 5th birthday, the list of things that you are... far outweighs the things that you are not.  You may not be patient or easy-going... but that's the short list of the so-called negative I even remotely see in you.  And honestly, those impatient and tough qualities are not really "negative" -those make great leaders, entrepreneurs and celebrities.  Your personality is a nice change from the "wussification of America" and coddled children I see running the halls of your very school. (Seriously, do you need to cut up your five year old's chicken fingers??)  I'd rather see you fight and spit and throw a fit... instead of sinking your eyes into a video game (which, sorry... nope, you didn't get this year, either, buddy... you are too smart for me to plug you into anything. You'll thank me. Someday.)

The things you are.  I may cry a little now.

You are kind.
I was running on the treadmill today, and I was thinking of what a kind boy you are.  I ran and huffed and thought, that kid is so sweet, so nice, so sweet, so nice, so kind, so nice.  Now, I don't get to see you at school (maybe you're a butthead to your classmates), but I see a sensitivity and compassion in you... and I don't think you have to work at it.  I think it's you. I think at the genuine core of your being, you are a kind and caring boy.

You are brilliant.
Everyone thinks their kids are brilliant.  But you... you, just are.  Period. The way you can put together puzzles, and remember things from when you were barely a year old: "Mom, remember when Stella came home to the house for the first time and I saw her?"  (Seriously, dude... you were 14 months old.)  "I remember her, and Mia gave me a doughnut hat."  (These things are true. He had a hat from Krispy Kreme.)  You are special.  And I can't wait to see what you do,who you become and how you thrive...

You are mine. 
I love the book, The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown (the same author of Goodnight Moon). Just the other night you asked me to read it.
"You want me to read this?" I asked. "Silly monkey, this is a baby book."

Your little eyes sparkled.  "I know, Mom.  I want to read the baby book."

We snuggled into your perfect blue little bed, and I read...

"Once there was a little bunny who wanted to run away.
So he said to his mother, “I am running away.”

....“If you run away,” said his mother, “I will run after you.
For you are my little bunny.”

....“If you run after me,” said the little bunny,
....“I will be a bird and fly away from you.”

“If you become a bird and fly away from me,”
said his mother, “I will be a tree that you come home to.”

“If you become a tree,” said the little bunny,
...“I will become a little boy and run into a house.”

...“If you become a little boy and run into a house,”
said the mother bunny, “I will become your mother
and catch you in my arms and hug you.”

“Shucks,” said the bunny, “I might just as well
stay where I am and be your little bunny.”

And so he did..."

To my boy, on your 5th birthday.  I will always be the tree that you come home to.  I will not always be the actual tree, of course, but I'm your mother - and I'm always here for you.

I am so proud of you. You are wonderful and smart and wonderful and smart.  And cute. Dude, you're cute. I love to kiss your cheeks (those cheeks which used to be SOOO fat, and which are now lean cheeks...). I love to hold your hand. 

I just love you.  You make me proud.  You are a wonderful boy, and I know you will grow into a wonderful human.  And really, what else could a mother want? You are a good five-year-old citizen of the world.  I am proud. (Did I mention proud? Not sure...)  And I will love you... no matter what.   You can put that in the bank.  At five years old, you can't do much to disappoint me.  At 15 and 25, I'm sure you can do lots... but no matter what you do... I will always love you. 
And I will always run after you.  For you are my bunny,

Happy birthday.  


October 10, 2012

A First Nightmare

James had his first official nightmare last night. It was a sweet moment, but it was (obviously) very scary for him. This is the first time he had come downstairs and said, "Mommy I've had a bad dream."  And he was trembling, and it was tough.

He asked if he could sleep in my bed --so we snuggled for a bit--but then, I went upstairs with him.

I crawled under the covers of the little blue bed, with my sweet little almost five-year old boy and we snuggled.

There was an article in the Huffington Post just recently about how you never know when one of these moments will be your last moment with your child. I think there will be plenty more snuggles with him, but can I guarantee that? Nothing in this world is a guarantee, that's for sure.

Here's a snippet from the article: "It hit me in the darkness of his cluttered room that these days are numbered. Some night in the future, Little Dude will ask me to snuggle with him before he falls asleep, and I will have no idea that it will be the last time. I won't know to pay attention or to try to commit every minute to memory. Days or weeks or months later, I will try to recall when that last snuggle happened. I won't be able to. I know I will ache to slide next to him on his narrow bed, listen to him breathe and wait for the moment when he surrenders to his dreams. All of the irritations, the inconveniences and the wishing for time alone will seem insignificant in comparison to the warmth and peace of his nighttime routine. I will regret the times I hurried through bedtime and left his room even though he asked me to stay "Just one more minute, Mommy"
...It will be too late."

The memory of that article was not lost on me last night.

I cuddled him until he drifted off to sleep and as I started to get up and sneak out... tucking him in tightly, so the "monsters" wouldn't get him... I felt him move.

And with a quiet small voice, like that of a little lamb, he whispered, "Mommy. Are you still here?"

I felt my eyes well up with tears.

As I told James, yes baby mommy is still here, I wanted to keep him so close and I wanted to call in sick to work and I wanted to go nowhere for the next hundred years.

At 3 o'clock in the morning, sometimes that's the only place where I am slapped upside the head with gratefulness. I have so much to be thankful for. I work on my gratefulness and thankfulness on a daily basis...but sometimes God's grace and my awe of it all is show most clearly by a 45 pound meatloaf... named James.

I think parenting is weird and weird and it gets weirder by the second. I never ever had any idea what to expect from it. I won't lie... it is hard. Harder when you don't have family close by...and harder when you're working two full-time jobs (yes, it's apparently that way now).

But I just think... at 3 o'clock in the morning when some of my other friends are well-rested, fun and single... having the "times of their lives" ...and sleeping... sometimes I am so jealous. But then I am humbled by a little voice, the little voice of my first born son. 

Humbled. In awe.

These early morning moments are the times that make all the sleepless nights, all the fears, the worries, and the sacrifices...just worth it. Those moments. Not crossing a finish line, not getting a promotion, not having money sacked away in the bank account. 

The snuggles with my son when he whispers, mommy are you still here, and I can promise him that I am... and I mean it, with my heart and soul... that's the real money.

The Kids' First Race


*This was a feature post on SwimBikeMom.com on Saturday, October 6, 2012.  I just wanted to make sure this one made it into the "baby books" :)

Today was the first "race" for the Swim Bike Kids. Not watching... but rather, participating. I had planned to run the 5k, but my knee is still iffy, so instead, the Expert and I just took the Swim Bike Kids out to the race for their first "Tot Trot."

The Boy SBK is the oldest. He's almost 5. His nickname in our house is "Captain Careful," but because he is timid and pretty much waits for the lead of his daredevil sister, the younger Girl SBK, almost 4. This race was no exception. The Girl SBK was stoked. The Boy SBK... not so much.

At the starting line, they both wanted to me to hold their hands. The Boy SBK refused to run at all until I promised that I would run with him and that it "really wasn't a race."
(Although you can't tell from this picture that the Girl was excited.)

I held the Girl SBK's hand too. BUT... after "go!" was announced... the rest was history.
Here's some lessons in pictures from the wee ones. I'm so proud of my little SBKs.

Here's the start of the race. This is when the director said, "Go!" The Girl SBK , looked around, saw that it was a race... and she took off running... at an impressive speed. The Boy SBK and I maintained our own, steady pace.

(She must be Mountain Goat's daughter.)
(The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.)
(Be proud of yourself.)
(Enjoy your bling.)
(Show off your bling.)