The birthday came and went on Monday with the usual fanfare.
You were excited to find all your presents and tear through the paper.
I was content to tear through the memories.
You, my darling, were my first. A little boy taking residence deep inside my soul. You kicked my ribs and gave me unbearable heartburn and scared the living crap out of me. You refused to get out on time but once labor began you were quick to make an exit. After only nine hours I had a bundle of blond hair and blue eyes, my very own little apple head and I fell hopelessly and eternally in love.
On Monday - you were eight. But I thought about your first smile, your stinky baby farts, the way you used to snuggle up on my chest and go to sleep for hours. I dared not move, but committed every sigh to my emotional memory bank. The sweet smell of damp curls and pablum still makes my eyes water.
I thought about the first time you held my hand, how you cried every day for eight months when you went to daycare - how no one could satisfy you but Mom. I thought about your intensity when you play with your little cars - lined up in traffic, run over by emergency vehicles - sounds, lights and traffic cones. I thought about how much you loved your little sister, even though you were only one year old when she came crashing into your life.
I thought about your sensitivities. How loving and emotional you are - and how much you are an opposite of your baby sister. That one word or gesture can wound you indefinitely, how important those that you love are to you. The way you clung to me for dear life when you went off to kindergarten. How you begged me not to leave you in the unfamiliar line for the first grade. How I walked you to your class and told you that you were brave and then watched you run off with your best friend. How I went to my car and sobbed and sobbed.
I thought about how even though you are independent and eight, with your own room and your own stuff, organized in your own way. How you like your socks just a certain way, or hate the colour green in a shirt. How your all "growed" up but when bed time comes - you want Mom to tuck you in just the same.
I love you my child. Happy birthday.