Archive | February, 2012

You, Me and C Makes Three

29 Feb

Me and C at Senior Prom

I’ve been in love three times in my life, but as of now, only two of those times will matter to you. Because one of those times was with you. The other was with your biological father C.

I don’t know if our story will ever matter to you, mine and C’s. I think it will someday. I think that eventually, how you came to be will be important to you. And the good news is that our love story is a good one – one I’m happy to retell, one I look back on and mostly think of fondly. We didn’t last, as I’m sure you will be able to tell soon enough. We are on very good terms now, even if it wasn’t always the case. And personally, I think the beginning and the middle matter much more than the end.

We fell in love in high school. We were on the high school newspaper together, so we’d known each other for about a year when we started dating. I know most people don’t believe that kids as young as we were – 17 for me, 16 for him – have any idea of what love actually means. I think it’s subjective. I think you are the only person who has the right to judge how you feel. And we certainly felt head-over-heels for each other. We said “I love you” for the first time on March 1, 2009 and every day afterwards for almost a year.

I remember one time when I was having a bad day, he took me for a drive, cranked up the loudest, most obnoxious rock song he had in his car and told me to scream as loud as I possibly could to get it all out. We both started yelling over the music and pretty soon, I couldn’t stop laughing. Another day, we went to a guitar shop (C is a ridiculously talented musician) and looked around. I could tell he wanted to play one, but we started to leave because he didn’t want to bore me. I stole his keys and wouldn’t let us leave until he played. I supported him. He cared about me. We spent the time we weren’t together texting or calling. I spent every Sunday at his house with his family. He brought me coffee to school in the mornings. We kissed and hugged and held hands. Even thinking back on it now, I find myself smiling. We loved each other.

I just think it is important for you to know that you exist because of love. Though you were unexpected, I never, ever want you to think you were an “accident.” Accident implies a mishap, an unfortunate or undesirable occurrence, and you my precious baby boy, are anything but – you are my everything. You are the result of two people experiencing first love. Two people who would have done anything for the other, who cared about each other more than anything else in the world. Two people who fall more and more in love with you every day.

True, our relationship didn’t survive my pregnancy. But that is absolutely the result of things that were done or said by us – not you. We were young, and in the end, youth can prove to be just as unstable as it is exciting. But I do believe we were in love. When we were in love, I truly thought I was done with dating – C and I were a forever kind of deal, and at the time, that thought went both ways. We truly meant it when we said “I love you,” and we still say it today – it just has a different connotation now.

If anything, our love for one another might mean even more now than it did back when we were in the first throes of love – after surviving the things that happened during my pregnancy, when there were some times when I definitely did not feel loving towards him, the fact that we still care for each other now is incredibly meaningful.

We grew up very fast – our lives were not about us anymore, and though I came to terms with that faster than he did, that knowledge definitely impacted us – it changed us both forever. But the best kind of love is that kind that changes you; the kind that touches your soul and leaves impressions that never fade and that you never forget. And wouldn’t you know, I think it’s the best thing that has ever happened to us. Because you are definitely the best thing that has ever happened to me.

There is so much more to our story. One day, if you want, I’ll tell you the rest of it, and C will help me. We’ll get to share little pieces of the love that brought you to be the gift that you are. We’ll get to relive our story – a story that was already unique and special, and now, it has the best ending of all :)

 
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It’s a Good Thing I Can Bench Press 50 lbs

28 Feb

The stats are in! Upon leaving my Psychology of Adolescence midterm – preparing myself way ahead of time for your teen years – I recieved a text from J. You just had your 18 month appointment at the doctor’s office and we got a nice little snapshot of you at 18 (even though you’re technically 19) months:

You are 30.5 lbs (90th percentile for weight)

You are 33.25 in (75th percentile for height)

Also, you recited your ABC’s for the doctor who was sufficiently impressed.

Every time you get bigger, you blow my mind a little. According to my Developmental Psychology class, the growth you achieve between conception and your one-year birthday is the fastest you will grow in your entire life, so actually, I suppose you growing at an exponential rate shouldn’t surpirse me. And yet, it never fails to amaze me.

Like I said yesterday, my friend Aunt L had her own baby boy a couple of days ago. I went to visit her and I got to hold the world’s newest Liam. Apparently, he was 8lbs but no baby has ever felt lighter or smaller. My guess is because a week previously, I was holding you, Mr. I’m-in-the-90th-percentile-for-weight.

You are going to hear this as you get older: “You’re growing up so fast!” After a while, it’s going to get old and it’s going to stop meaning a whole lot to you. I know it did for me when I was younger. Actually, there is a whole lot you will never understand about your parents’ perspective until you are a parent. Then everything they’ve been telling you for years finally makes sense, and after putting up with a couple smirks and I-told-you-so’s, you learn to appreciate it.

So what’s a parent to do when their Little Man comes up to their waist and he’s only 19 months old? Option number one would be to cry, but seeing as how I’m much too tough for that (cough cough), I learn to appreciate it. I even learn to marvel in it a little. Every day you get bigger is one less day I get to call you a “Little” Man, but it’s one more day that I get to be astounded by all the things you can do, all the things you have learned. It’s one more day that I get to be proud of you for something, no matter how small. And as long as you’re shorter than me, I think I’ll be okay.

Happy 18 Month Check-Up Day! I’m sure that one day, it will be crazy to you that you were ever that small. I, on the other hand, am going to brag about your percentiles to everyone until your next appointment. Starting…now :)

Bouncing Baby Boys for Everyone!

27 Feb

Your Aunt L, a very close friend of mine, had a baby yesterday. Unlike me, she and her husband waited until their baby was born to find out whether it was going to be a boy or a girl. Well I’m happy to report that she now has her own Little Man – it’s a boy! And you know what? They really like the name Liam.

I’m stopping by later today to visit her and her brand ” new and blue” bundle of joy. I’ve only been to the maternity ward in the hospital where you born once since I had you, when another one of my friends had a baby girl (we’ve already arranged your marriage to her FYI). It bring back a lot of memories, being there. And though occasionally tainted with the sadness of my separation from you, at least 98% of my hospital memories are good ones.

I was in labor with you for 11 hours. When I got to the hospital, they strapped a couple of monitors to me – one to monitor the contractions and another to monitor your heartbeat. I had them turn up the sound of your heartbeats and listening to them helped me breathe through my contractions.

I remember when you finally…um…came out, I listened for your cry because I knew it would mean you were alive and okay. When they lifted you up and I got to see you for the first time, my very first thought was actually about your chin. I thought to myself, “He has a cleft chin!” I know…it was definitely not what I imagined my first thought would be when I saw you. Luckily, it makes for a good story ;)

However, while marvelling over your cute cleft chin, I was overcome with this unbelievable awe. Obviously, I had know you were real. I had know you were going to be born and that when you were, you would be a baby. But other than your hair and eye color, I hadn’t really thought too much about what the rest of you would look like. And suddenly…there you were. This little being, smaller than any baby I had ever been around before. A little person that I had helped to create. Nothing has ever been more real to me than that moment. That was the moment I changed forever. I had always loved you – since the day I discovered you – but in seeing you, how much I loved you overwhelmed me. I never believed in love at first sight, but that moment couldn’t have been anything but.

The immediately gave you to me and I got to hold you for a little while, so the doctors could finish up. Looking back at the pictures, you were covered in some pretty weird stuff but I honestly don’t remember any of that. I just remember getting to hold you, feeling so relieved – partly because the labor was finally over and partly because you were finally here. They cleaned you up and weighed you (7lbs, 6oz, by the way) and then they gave you to me for skin-to-skin time. You were so warm and tiny! Those few minutes were the most peaceful ones of my life.

Over the next day and half we got visitors and flowers and your grandparents stole all the time they could with you. I think the only time we ever sat you down was to change your diaper. Other than that, you were in someone’s arms 24/7. I would have held your forever if I could have. Eventually I suppose I would have had to let you learn how to walk, but that was a ways off anyhow.

My favorite times were when you opened your eyes. You were a fantastic baby – you didn’t cry at all really. If you got upset or hungry or cold, you would make disgruntled noises but that was it. Otherwise, you slept most of the time. But on occasion you would wake up, open your eyes and look around a little. But mostly, you focused on me. I know babies can’t see much more than outlines when they’re first born – it’s most just shapes and fuzzy features – but you certainly stared at me. And even though I know you weren’t seeing me, I liked to pretend that you did. I liked to think that you were making mental imprint of me that you would never forget no matter where or how far away you went. Like maybe that was your way of telling me you loved me, too.

But today, I will revisit the hospital maternity ward. I will relive the wonderful few days I got to spend with you there. I will get to say hello to a new mother who will now know, without a doubt, what I’m talking about when I mention that instantaneous love I felt the first time I saw you. I don’t know what name they officially settled on yet, and in the end, new life is new life and it doesn’t truly matter – but it’s quite possible that the world has just gained another Liam :)

Lookin' at me lookin' at you :)

The Worst Ten Days and the Best Nineteen Months

25 Feb

Every state has different policies when it comes to adoption. You were born in North Carolina, and they have a policy called the “revocation period.” It states that from the day the birth mother signs the adoption papers, she has seven business days to change her mind. In my case, I had ten days because I signed papers on a Saturday, and they couldn’t go into effect until Monday.

That policy was torture. Those were the worst 10 days of my life.

For those 10 days, you stayed with what the agency called an “interim care mother” – basically, a foster-mother who cares for infants during that seven-day period if the adoptive family chooses that option. The B’s wanted you to be a surprise for Sports Man and having dealt with a few failed adoptions themselves, they wanted to make sure everything was official before introducing you to your new brother.

It was a smart idea.

I spent those ten days making the world’s most comprehensive pro and con lists. I spent them looking over my finances with my mom and dad to see if I could afford to keep you. I ran every scenario through my head a million times – what I would do if I took you back, what I would do if I went through with the adoption, how The B’s would handle both scenarios. I saw a therapist. I talked it over with my parents every single day, getting their input – they never told me what to do because they knew it could only be my decision, but they were a wonderful sounding board. I went back and forth every single day of those 10 days. I didn’t think of anything else but you, trying to find a way that I could keep you and still give you everything I knew The B’s would give you.

It was agonizing. I know the policy is in place for good reason. All girls deserve a chance to change their minds, and I completely understand why they would. I almost did. I almost changed my mind every day. I would wake up and feel confident about adoption and go to bed that night, determined to bring you home to me. Two different scenarios, two different decisions constantly pulling me in two different directions. It’s difficult to describe, but I imagine if I were to be ripped in half, it would feel something like that. I knew that if I went through with adoption, you would be like a sort of phantom limb – an essential part of a person, felt even in its absence. Something so real, so necessary that you’re sure it’s there until you look down and realize it’s not. Having to deal with that disappointment over and over again…I wasn’t entirely sure I could handle that.

But in the end, it wasn’t about me. I wasn’t about what I would go through, or what being without you would do to me. It was about you and what was best for you. Grandma M asked me during one of those days what specifically I thought I needed to be good enough to keep you. I jokingly answered, “To be 10 years older, in a stable relationship with a college degree and high-paying job.” But it wasn’t a joke, really. I wanted to be the kind of parent who could give you everything, who would be able to make sure you never had to worry, who could provide you with everything I  thought you deserved. And eventually I realized that I could. By placing you with The B’s, I could give you everything, I could make sure you never had to worry, I could provide you with everything I thought you deserved. It was all right there, in their family.

People ask me all the time if I think I made the right decision, and my answer is an instantaneous “yes.” I don’t even have to think about it, probably because I did enough thinking in those 10 days to last a lifetime. You – your life – was not a snap judgment. It was not an easy choice, or an instant decision. You deserved the best and I wanted to make sure you got it. And now, I truly believe you have it.

Actually, I think we both have it. The past 19 months have certainly been proof of that. And every time I see you with The B’s – in a picture, in a video, in real life – makes all of that indecision feel small and far away. The love we all share has turned those ten days from a gaping wound to a small scar. And that’s the beauty in the breakdown, I suppose – that despite all of the pain and confusion, we actually managed to find the kind of love that not only heals broken hearts, but builds stronger ones.

My Little Halloween Hater

24 Feb

You hate Halloween. I expect that to change not too far down the road, but for the two Halloweens you’ve had so far, you haven’t been too happy. Of course, you looked adorable. For your first Halloween you were a little over three months old and you were a pumpkin. This past October you were a giraffe. Apparently, you cried until the pumpkin outfit was removed that first year, and if the face you were making in the picture J sent me this year was any indication, you had similar feelings about your giraffe outfit. You may not like it now, but once the concept of free candy kicks in, I think you’ll change your mind about the whole ordeal.

My favorite holiday was always Christmas. Lights, decorations, presents, time off from school, the music, the food, the smell…nothing smells better than Christmas. Everything is warm and cozy and I stay in my pajamas all day (it’s a rule in our house – Pop-Pop 3 and Grandma M do it with me). I used to wait year round for it. I still love it.

I have a new favorite holiday though. It’s called Mother’s Day. Even before it applied to me, it always seemed like a bright and sunny holiday, probably because it’s smack-dab in the middle of Spring. But recently, my perspective on it has changed, as you may have guessed. I actually got a Mother’s Day card from your Aunt S when I was pregnant. It was really neat, but also really strange – I was going to be a mom. I feel like every parent probably has the Mother’s Day/Father’s Day moment when they suddenly realize that that applies to them now. Even though you know you’re going to be a parent, it still takes you off guard a little.

I used to worry about it. I used to wonder whether it was going to be weird. How do you celebrate a holiday like that when you are mom but at the same time…you’re not? I was a little nervous about the first one, but it was all for nothing, as usual. The B’s invited me down for the weekend so I could spend the day with you. J and I got each other cards and stayed up late talking (we do that every time I stay the night…when we’re not too tired). The next day we went to a women’s luncheon with Grandma M and talked about how thankful we were for you and for each other.

Personally, I’m looking forward to the days when you start making Mother’s Day school crafts – hand-made cards, painted flower vases, drawings that are just scribbles but still mean the world to the person who receives them. I know most of them will be for J but hopefully you’ll save one for me. But I don’t love Mother’s Day because I want anything from you, or anyone else – I love it because I am reminded of how much extra love I have in my life because of you. I hope you never underestimate how special you are, because you have connected so many people and enriched so many lives. I know I’ll tell you how special you are all the time, but I will never be able to tell you enough – you’ve changed my life for the better in so many ways, if I started listing them now, I’d die of old age before I finished.

So even though on Mother’s Day, children are supposed to spend the day appreciating their moms, it’s actually a day that we spend appreciating you.

But that definitely doesn’t mean that we would turn down breakfast in bed. Not trying to hint or anything.

The Only Time Tom Cruise Has Ever Made Sense

23 Feb

For Thanksgiving 2009, your grandparents and I traveled to Alabama to visit my sister, your Aunt B, and her family. We all made dinner together and enjoyed a traditional Thanksgiving meal. It was delicious. I went back for seconds later that night and as I was heating up leftovers, I was suddenly nauseated. The food smelled disgusting. I couldn’t even be in the kitchen anymore because the smell was overwhelming. I remember telling your Grandma M that I just felt sick all of a sudden. It didn’t make any sense to me. I didn’t eat any leftovers for the rest of our trip.

Of course, about a month later during one, pivotal doctor’s appointment, it made total sense. I was too shocked to speak when I found out; I was already 8 weeks along. I couldn’t even find the words to tell Grandma M who was at the appointment with me – I just handed her your ultrasound pictures. You looked like a tadpole in them. Pop-Pop 3 called you Kermit for while.

When I found out about you, it took a couple of weeks (try 32) to let it sink it. I was suddenly aware that I was never alone – you went with me everywhere. I talked to you a lot, even in the early days, before you even had ears. I liked it – not being alone, because back in those days, I felt alone a lot. C and I had fallen apart, but I had you and there were times when you were the only thing that could make me feel better.

After that first one, ultrasounds became my favorite thing in the whole wide world. I only had three, but they were enough to make me realize why Tom Cruise bought Katie Holmes her own ultrasound machine when she was pregnant. Of course I was (very literally) connected to you, but getting to see you was an experience beyond words. Everyone daydreams about what their child is going to look like, who they’re going to be and an ultrasound is a window into those daydreams. They are a sneak peek into what is about to be the best part of your life. It’s actually probably a method of placating expecting mothers – we have to go another 20-or-so weeks without meeting you, so we’ve got to have something to hold on to in the meantime. Not to mention that you were incredibly photogenic. Still are.

After ultrasounds, my favorite thing was getting to hear your heartbeat. The way I used to describe the sound was like helicopter blades, right as the engine was starting up. Your heartbeats were so fast! It was like a “whoosh, whoosh” sound. I wish there had been a way to record it – I can still remember the way it sounded, crystal clear in my memory. Proof is important to mothers – we feel our babies moves around all the time, we know without a doubt that we’re carrying them, but those little moments of realization, those tiny glimpses into who we’re carrying, mean the world to us. We’re literally connected to you for nine months and it’s not nearly close enough.

I loved being pregnant with you. After the shock wore off, I bought books. And then I bought some more books. I read them from cover to cover – I would have to restrain myself from reading ahead in my because I wanted to read it as it happened, but I would just get too excited. I would want to know what you were doing, how much more you had developed, how big you were…I wanted to know everything about you. I loved buying stretchy pants, I loved feeling you move around, I love what I learned in my childbirthing classes, I loved learning about you and pregnancy period. It was all so new and interesting, and the best part is that it was all about you. I made you. I grew you. I look at you sometimes and I just can’t believe that I actually created something as beautiful as you, just by being me.

Pregnancy was completely unexpected for me; not at all planned for, but truly one of the most amazing experiences of my life. You are my most amazing experience – my proudest accomplishment, my favorite thing, the best thing I’ve ever done with my 21 years of life.

I’ve loved you single every day of you since that first one. I have a feeling that will never change. I just wanted you to know :)

What’s In a Name…

22 Feb

I remember trying to pick your name. My parents have a couple of baby naming books, and one I day I pulled one off the shelf and started flipping through it. I wrote down all the names that I liked, and by the end of the book, I had about 7 or 8 names on my list. A few of them were eliminated pretty quickly but, as you might have gathered, Liam was on the top three. I ran it past C one day and he liked it too. It means “warrior” or “strong protector.”

The day I met J and E, we talked briefly about names towards the end of our meeting, and I mentioned Liam. J was excited – apparently, she had just talked to her mother about that name not that long before I mentioned it. However, The B’s had decided that if they ever had another boy, they would name him Hudson. After you were born, even though we had planned to name you Liam Hudson, they were going to call you by Hudson. But you were Liam in the hospital and you were Liam to the adoption agency and it stuck. Maybe that’ll change down the road. But either way, the fact that The B’s and I chose your name together has always meant a lot to me.

My name means “reborn” or “born again.” Supposedly I was named for a song that was played at my parent’s wedding, but I think it’s a very fitting meaning for me. My mom also told me that she liked Renee because it was difficult to get any sort of nickname out of it, and she didn’t want me walking around with any goofy “half-names” or anything.

And yet…

Children can’t pronounce the letter “R” very well, so when I started daycare, instead of going by “Renee,” it ended up just being “Nay” and then eventually “Nay-Nay.” It didn’t go away. For my 16th birthday, a friend of mine even gave me a licence plate that read, “Nay-Nay.” It’s still on my car today. Sorry, mom.

However, I find that I’ve become even more fond of my accidental nickname, because that’s what you call me.

I always wondered how the name thing was going to work. Whenever I brought up adoption to others, one of the FAQs was, “What is he going to call you?” I hated that question. Among the many wonderful aspects of adoption, I always felt as though that was going to be one of the not-so-nice strings attached. I knew that if you went up for adoption, I would spend the rest of my life watching you call someone else “mom,” and I didn’t really know what to do with that. But J had offered to share motherhood with me – that, coupled with the fact that you were quite a ways off from speaking, I figured it was enough and I let it go.

But then you grew up and, of course, the talking began. I’ll admit, the first time I heard you say “mama,” I immediately looked up and turned to you – it was just a reflex, I suppose. Only when I looked up, you weren’t looking at me. You weren’t reaching out for me. It wasn’t me that you wanted…it was J. I went to the bathroom and cried.

It was the one and only time I was upset by it. I had known it was coming, I had known I was going to have to come to terms with it. And if you’re going to call anyone other than me “mom,” I wouldn’t want it to be anyone else but J. That is what I focused on after that day – the fact that the woman you were calling “mom” was one that I loved, one that was strong and beautiful and wise and fun. One that loved me and loved you. One that I’m sure would have held my hand in the bathroom that day if I’d asked her to. I didn’t. I was afraid it would make her uncomfortable, but looking back I’m sure it wouldn’t have been. She loves me too much to let it matter. She told me once that she thinks of me as “her Renee,” which is one of the many reasons I am so glad you call her “mom.”

You call me “Nay-Nay” now. The B’s have been showing you pictures of me since you were only nine or ten months old, and when they point to my pictures they say, “That’s Nay-Nay!” Like usual, you caught on pretty fast – when I came to visit you for Christmas this year, I had barely been in the door for 10 seconds and you looked over at me and exclaimed, “Nay-Nay!” My heart felt so big, I thought it would burst. I feel as happy when you call me that as I would have if you called me “mom” because the most important thing is that you know me. You know who I am and I mean enough to you for you to remember me. And for now, that’s all that matters. That’s enough for me.

In Case of Spontaneous Memory Loss

21 Feb

When I turned 14, my parents birthday present to me were my baby videos on VHS (I got a cell phone too, but that’s not the moral of the story). I know it sounds anti-climactic for a teenager’s birthday present, but I was thrilled with the videos. I had only known the older me, the me I was then – I had always wanted to know what I was like as a kid. Of course, Grandma M and Pop-Pop 3 had kept very detailed photo albums, but videos are different. You get to see yourself in action, you get to witness your personality instead of hearing about it second-hand.

In my first baby video, I threw up. Everywhere. It wasn’t exactly the romantic notion of my “adorable” baby videos like I had imagined. But luckily, that one was followed by cuter ones – I remember one of me laughing in my old bedroom, and it reminds me so much of you, just laughing at absolutely nothing but finding it hilarious nonetheless. The other one I remember really well is of me using myownbaby walker (like the one I got you) to run away from my dad. I remember that Pop-Pop 3 talked to me in every video, like he was narrating my life for me since I couldn’t do it yet.

Now, since J is a photographer and E is like lightning with the video camera and I play around with both of those mediums, you are going to have a very well documented childhood. But just in case you get the “what was I like then” bug and don’t want to wait for all of us to gather the mass media we have on you, here’s the abridged version of you as a baby, my Little Man.

You’re not afraid of anything. Not dogs or stairs or falling down. You dive head-first into everything.

You’re tough. You get right back up when you take a tumble.

You’re adventurous. Everything you see that you want to know about, you find out about.

You’re a quick learner. It doesn’t take you long to pick up on something once you’ve seen or heard someone do it.

You’ve been incredibly observational since you were a baby. I used to just walk around the house with you and you’d stare wide-eyed at everything we passed, like you were just taking it all in.

You’re mischievous. You’ve got the perfect I’m-up-to-something-I-shouldn’t-be smile.

You’re the world’s biggest daddy’s boy. If E is within a mile of you, he’d better be right next to you…or else.

You’re cranky after you wake-up from a nap. I still love you, though :)

Everything Sports Man does, you want to do. It’s cute to watch. You adore him.

You want what you want. I suppose that’s a universal toddler trait, but either way – when you want something, no one is going to stop you from getting it. That’ll come in handy later on in life.

Overall, you are and always have been a very smiley little guy.

You say “cheese” whenever someone points a camera or an iPhone at you.

You blow kisses every time you say goodbye.

You can outrun me when you have the element of surprise on your side, and I jog regularly. Not okay.

You love being around people.

When you accomplish something you’ve been working at, no matter how small it is, you smile the world’s biggest smile at whoever is closest to you. Sometimes you say “yay!”

Until you started walking, you loved being held. It might have had something to do with the fact that you were never put down (I remember J saying she had to vacuum with you strapped to her chest in the Baby Bjorn), but you’ve always been incredibly huggable so that’s not our fault.

If you’ve been sitting or after you fall down, the way you stand back up is by getting on all fours, walking your hands to your feet and sticking your tiny butt straight up in the air to regain your balance before you stand again. It’s the cutest thing ever.

You’ve always had my eyes and C’s mouth. The rest of you is just…you. 100% unique.

Everyone loves your chin. I have a feeling it will remain very popular.

You exclaim, “Doggy!” anytime a dog walks past you. Even if it’s walked past you a hundred times in five minutes.

You sleep with a “lovey” at night. It’s a type of blanket. If you wake up without it, you cry.

You stick out your bottom lip when you cry really hard.

You’ve definitely got your own personality. The grins (from the cute to the mischievous), the Liam laugh, the “come and get me” looks, even the cries – they’re all one of a kind.

And one last thing you may not know about yourself, but is undoubtedly true – you are special. To so many people in so many ways, and I feel very lucky to be able to know all of the things about you that I do. I promise to continue making videos of the things I see and memories of all of the things in between.

And if you ever get a girlfriend, I reserve the right to show, read and tell her every last one.

The Teacher and the Student

20 Feb

Do you remember me mentioning “The Handbook?” It’s how my parents always used to explain why they did what they did when it came to me…it was “in the parenting handbook.”

Now as we’ve discussed, you did not actually come with a handbook or any other kind of cheat sheet. But before I had you, before I even really considered whether or not I wanted to be a mother someday, I just assumed that it was every parent’s job to teach their children. Of course, what you taught your children could vary, but the fact that it was your job to teach something to them was just set in stone.

This weekend, I got to watch you while The B’s went to a local tourist attraction that we have in my hometown. We watched Elmo ( a lot of Elmo), played with a toy kitchen that I had when I was little, played in the bathroom sink, played the piano and did a lot of other little stuff in between. And I got to teach you some things – how to lock and unlock the door to the porch, how to turn the lights on and off on the lawn mower (Pop-pop 3 helped with that one). True, they’re little things, but we taught them to you and you picked them up pretty fast.

I have known for a while that I have the ability to teach you things –  that thanks to your observational skills, I was a role model to you. But one of the beautiful things about a parent-child relationship, especially ours, is that the learning is not just one-sided. Believe it or not, at the young age of 19 months (as of Wednesday), you have actually taught me quite a few things too.

On a small scale, you’ve taught me a lot of little things. That climbing the stairs – over and over and over again – can be fun (when I’m not terrified for your safety). You’ve taught me that splashing around in the sink can be a rather entertaining activity. You taught me that things that aren’t designed to be play toys (i.e. measuring cups, keys, etc.) can most definitely be play toys. You taught me a new way to say “hot dog” and “tractor” (“dot dog” and “at-too”). You taught me that we should all play now and sleep later. You reminded me that I used to love Sesame Street. You reminded me that when you’re little, every day is truly a new day.

Aside from these things, I’ve also learned quite a few big, life lessons from you.

The first one you taught me was not to be afraid of babies. embarrassing as this is to admit, I was mildly terrified of infants before I had you. I thought they were adorable (like every other woman in the world), but I didn’t like holding them and if I interacted with them, I preferred it to be from a safe distance. They always cried when I got near them, and nothing scared me more than a crying infant. But then there was you and you were mine and it all went away. I learned how to change a diaper. I learned that bouncing you when you cried would calm you down. I learned that if a baby cries when you hold it, it doesn’t mean that the baby hates you or that you somehow harmed it. Even though I read a million books and Googled a million things about how to be a mother, you were the one who actually taught me. You teach me that every time I see you.

The biggest thing I think I’ve learned from having you as my son is that I should take joy in the little things in life. When you were figuring out how to turn on the lawn mower lights, you had to watch Pop-pop 3 do it a couple of times – the first time you did it by yourself, you looked up at me and gave me the biggest smile! And I found myself absolutely thrilled. I was smiling and laughing and just utterly excited…about turning on the lawn mower’s headlights. It sounds silly, but those are the things that you find happiness in.

Everything is new to you – it’s why you do things over and over again, because it’s so exciting to have figured this “new thing” out. So unlike most 20-year olds, I get excited about lawn mower headlights, and turning keys in locks, and walking up and down the stairs. To you, everything is something worth discovering, and that is a kind of magic that can be lost on adults. We forget how fun and exciting the world can be because we assume that given our age and experience, we’ve figured it all out. Seeing the world through your eyes…it’s refreshing and beautiful, in a way. And though it’s humbling, you’ve taught me that maybe I don’t know it all.

As soon as The B’s and I figure out our next rendezvous date, I’ll start counting down my days again. But until then, I’ll just think of you when I use keys or stairs or bathroom sinks. And, most likely, all of the minutes in between.

See You Soon…

18 Feb

In an hour, you’re going to be in town. In an hour, you’ll be in my arms. We’ll go dinner with The B’s tonight and play all day tomorrow. We’ll make memories and take pictures and I’ll tell stories and listen to you laugh.

This weekend, I’ll read you your letters in person :)

 

See you soon Little Man!

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