Little one I once held in my arms, you are nine today.
We had already been through a lot on the morning you were born. Seventeen hours in the hospital before they decided to take us to the operating room. An emergency C-section set to a soundtrack the doctor determined … I think you were born to “Dream On.”
You were a dream to me.
They told me I was sick, they told me I could die.
I said, “No, I’m going to stay here and be his mom.”
We were just getting started.
You cried a lot. I had never changed a diaper before. I cried while you cried as we figured it out together in the middle of the night. I was your home, and you were mine.
At one, you were known for your ‘funny face,’ nose scrunched up to one side.
You learned how to ride a bike without training wheels just a few months shy of three. (But you were still two, your claim to fame.)
When you were nearly four, we handed you a baby sister. Even in our hardest moments, you are always the most patient. There’s so much we could learn from your sweet nature and helpful heart.
At five, you started Kindergarten and made a new best friend. I watched.
You have grown up before our eyes. How did it happen so fast?
Once shy and unsure, you became a boy your friends can look up to. I look up to you, too, even though I’m still taller. I know it won’t be long.
When you were six, you got the brother you had hoped for. In baby pictures, he looks just like you, but without your cool red hair.
At seven, you placed first for your grade in the school-wide run. At eight, you sang a solo in the second grade play. That was me screaming at the top of my lungs. We are so proud of you.
You love playing soldiers and spies. Your old G.I. Joes are your most prized possessions. You can’t figure out why kids your age want iPhones and social media. You don’t understand why everyone is in such a hurry to grow up. Neither do I.
I don’t know what you’re going to become, but I know you will be a good man.
For now, though, can you stay a boy?
I know I don’t have much time before you start pulling away – before you’d rather hang out with your friends than build forts and watch movies with us.
You don’t want to hold my hand anymore, and that’s okay.
But when you find another girl’s hand to hold, please don’t forget me.
I’ll always be there when you need me, to catch you when you fall.
I’m not very good at math, but I know that nine is halfway to 18, and I can’t believe this much of your childhood is behind us … just like that.
I thought we were just getting started.
I’ll be there to help you get ready for the dance. I’ll be at your concert, front row, screaming at the top of my lungs. I’ll drive you to all the things, just be honest about where you’re going. You can tell me.
Thank you for making me a mama, then a mommy, now a mom. Thank you for making me laugh when I’m stressed out. For doing your homework without being asked. For knowing what all of us need.
You are everything I ever could have asked for in a son. And I get to be your mom for my whole life.
You are nine today, but we are just getting started, you and I.