Wednesday, July 20, 2016

On This Day, Your 21st Birthday...

Austin Age 3.

I can remember it like it was yesterday, finding out I was pregnant with my first child. The amount of fear and excitement that ran through me at that moment cannot be matched. The following months as my belly grew and I got to hear
your heart beating and feel your kicks and flips and hiccups, I fell in love with you. In those months it was just you and me. I didn't have to share you. Your tiny bumps and turns were just for me. I would sometimes poke you back and tell you how excited I was to meet you. But I was also scared. I knew that the moment you arrived, our lives would be forever changed. We'd be in charge of another life. A tiny and innocent and vulnerable little life. How terrifying that was to imagine.
That day, 21 years ago today, when I finally was able to find out IT'S A BOY! I could not be happier. Then they placed you on my chest and I saw your little face for the first time. All the fear, all the doubt, just went away. Your little cry, your teeny tiny little fingers and toes. Gramma counted them right away! You had 10 of each! The amount of love I had instantly for my little 6lb 10oz baby boy, was bigger than any universe. I already loved you to the moon and back.

For the past 21 years I have done everything I possibly could do, to make sure you always knew you are loved. To make sure that you knew I always have your back. I know, especially in the early years, I screwed up sometimes. I maybe yelled too much, or spanked you more than I should have. I know there were times I was so angry, I probably scared you. Or maybe I wasn't always 100% present in the times you needed me to be. I wasn't the perfect mom. I screwed up. I didn't do everything right by you. I didn't do everything right, but I did the best I could. Always. I hope you know I cherished your sweet face and your laughter. I cherished your little car sounds when you raced your Hot Wheels around the floors. I loved watching you use your imagination when you built your Chevy Fiary. Or when you would get up early on the weekends to watch NASCAR or Monster Trucks.  Or when we would watch Nick Jr. and play JJ the Jungle Jukebox.  Please know all of those memories and the million others memories, big and small, are pieces of my heart that you own.
I'm looking at you now, a man on his own. Working and making a life for yourself. Your manly voice, your facial hair, your tall stature and broad shoulders. But I want you to know, I still only hear your little voice of 3 years old. I still only see your little tiny face and big brown eyes. I see your toothless smiles. I will always see you as my little Punkinseed. I was there for all of your firsts. I never missed a single moment. Not one. I walked you into your first day of school and when you wouldn't let go of my hand, I wish now that I hadn't pulled it away. I wish I had kept hold just a few moments more. Because it wasn't too many years later, walking into your first day of school that you were too big to hold my hand anymore. If I had known that day, that it was the last time I would ever hold your hand, or carry you, or get to read you a bedtime story and tuck you in. Or if I had known it was the last time you'd sit on my lap or kiss me good-night, I would have insisted on making those moments last a bit longer. I would have been less in a hurry and more in that moment with you.

I look at new parents now, with little ones who remind me of you. And I see the mom's losing their patience and being
a little bit too harsh or ignoring them when they're trying to show them their latest trick. And it brings me back to when you were that age. I want to go up to those mom's and tell them, please know, this time with your child goes quicker than quick. You will blink and suddenly they will be 21 years old and you WILL regret all these moments where you should have done  better. Where you should have paid attention or listened more. It goes so fast.
It went too fast.

Here I am on your birthday and all I can think about is how much I love you. And how I wish I could make
you small again. So I could have a do over.  It's not because I'm not proud of the man you've become, because I could not be more proud of you. I wish I could make you small again because that selfish side of me wants that time back with you. I don't want to share you. I want to hear your little voice again. I want to spend more time with you, I want to see all your tricks again. I want to hold you one more time on my lap and read you your favorite book and hear about your day. I want to see you in your little Nascar hat sitting on Papa's lap talking about trucks. I want to see your sweet little bald head and your tiny little feet.

But at the same time, I want to see you now, as the man that you are. Seeing you laugh. Knowing you are happy and healthy and loved. Seeing you make things with your hands and talk about the things that make you happy. I am proud of you. You have grown so much in the last 21 years and I am happy to have been able to be a part of that. You are one of the best human beings I know. Your heart is giant, your compassion is great. I hope you know how much joy you bring to me. How, whenever I see you it makes my whole day. I hope you know that when you feel like the world is against you, when you feel like you are being kicked in the teeth, I am here.

First birthday!
Happy birthday Punkinseed. You make me so proud. It has been such a joy and privilege to be your mom and to raise you. Thank you for the countless times you have given me grace to
make mistakes as your mom. I hope you know I would take them all back and fix them if I could. But since I cannot do that, I want to be in this moment with you and celebrate all your successes, big and small. I want you to know that there is simply nothing I wouldn't do for you, if it is in my power to do it. I want you to know I am your biggest fan, I hope you know I am.

No comments: