May 20, 2004 It was not only the day the world was blessed with the birth of a human being who will forever leave his mark wherever he goes... it was the day I could finally call myself a mom -- something I had dreamed of becoming for as long as I can remember.
I've had this post in my head for weeks now. I would write a tribute to my first born child on his 7th birthday -- sharing all of my love, adoration and admiration for the boy he is. I would describe the feelings I had the day he was born, how his ability to learn, grow and never give up inspires me to be a better person... how his sense of humor and creativity sparks a side of me I didn't know I had. I would gush over how he has been able to face challenges head on and constantly surprise and amaze us with his strength, determination and unwavering sense of self.
But who wants to read about all that?
Instead, I want to take this opportunity to honor and thank my son for saving me from the self-involved girl I was, shedding light (and laughing at) my need for control and veeery slowly turning me into the woman and mom I ultimately want to be -- one who can enjoy the moment, let go of perfection and discover that the most important moments are the little ones.
Here are just a few examples of how you kicked the crap out of me and put me back together...
• We weren't even out of the hospital before you caught me off guard by peeing on the wall, narrowly missing my head (a story you still ask me to tell as you giggle uncontrollably). It was then I realized that boys are gross and there's nothing I can do about it.
• At times, you could only be consoled by the sweet sounds of Barry Manilow. It was then I knew I loved you.
• You went your entire first year without one sick doctor visit, and then rocked your very first fever on your first birthday. You followed that up with pneumonia a month later during a trip back east. You taught me that you can make all the plans in the world, but when your child is sick... nothing else matters.
• You've peed in my bed, vomited down my shirt and sneezed on me more times than I care to recount. Did I mention boys are gross?
• Being pregnant with and breastfeeding you transformed my breasts from their cute, perky selves into something that resembled tube socks filled with sand. So I guess I should thank you for making a double mastectomy feel more like a Beverly Hills boob job.
• You had us all convinced that you weren't able to speak and looked at us like we were crazy when we tried to make it happen. Then one day, you opened your mouth and proved to us that you had been listening all along, even to the stuff we thought you never heard (or shouldn't have).
• You bypassed your dad's math skills before your third birthday. I don't know if that says more about you or your dad.
• At four, you forced us to find a new way to talk about grown up things when we discovered you could sound out the words we were spelling. At five, you cracked our Pig Latin code.
• You can be entertained for days with just paper and a couple of crayons. You're like an artsy kid MacGyver -- producing one-of-a-kind costumes, books and treasure hunts. You've taught us all that a little imagination goes a long way.
• You are a total homebody. You would sometimes opt for a pajama day at home than go on an adventure. You appreciate cereal for dinner and just chilling on the couch. You love keeping it simple.
• You have very little expectations (something that's taken me 40 years to learn). Seriously, this is one of the most baffling things to me. You're at school now with no idea of how we'll spend the rest of your day when you get home. You woke up this morning, ate your breakfast and didn't even think to ask for a gift before school. You never asked for a party, don't demand attention but you're always smiling when a fuss is made over you. You taught me that birthdays aren't about outdoing others but tapping into who your child really is and what makes him happy (which is why we're surprising you with balloons at school pick up and spending the afternoon painting shirts and hats (something you love to do), swimming and eating pizza.
Jacob, you're an awesome kid. You say what you mean, you mean what you say... you wear what you want... you like what you like. You make no apologies and need no explanation for the individual you are... and you embrace what's unique in all people. You have a healthy self esteem but care about the feelings of others. You are an exceptional, complicated-yet-simple person who appreciates life and the people in it. I'm insanely proud of who you are and the future you have in front of you.
Now if I could just get you to stop peeing on the wall.