Once upon a time there was a girl who dreamed of being a mother. She would rather spend hours holding a baby than hanging out with friends. She adored her little brothers and dreamed of having boys of her own one day. She identified with Jo from Little Men and was comfortable taking care of newborns by the time she was 15. Once when she was a freshman in college she was playing with a toddler. One of her friends said “That’s a mom,” and she considered it one of the best complements she ever received.
She got married at 21. She and her husband wanted to wait a while to have kids. She was ready earlier than the agreed-upon date but waited nonetheless. One day her husband told her that another friend was pregnant, and she burst into tears. It was time.
Several months and 6 pregnancy tests later, she sat in her bathroom and laughed and cried at the same time. For the next two months she was both ecstatic that a life was growing inside her and terrified that something would happen to it. When the blessed first trimester was over she gleefully told the world.
When she found out she was having a boy it felt like all her dreams had come true. She was wrong. The day he was born was when all her dreams came true. Life with him was everything and life before him, though precious, seemed like a distant memory.
Every day that felt like a year waiting for him was nothing compared to the weeks that passed like seconds now that he was born. She soaked in every one. For the first few months she never put him down, held him while he slept, cried when he cried, woke when he uttered the slightest sound, and found herself completely incapable of “taking a break” and relaxing even when someone else held him, took him outside, or fed him. She dressed him in the cutest of outfits, took hundreds of pictures of his feet, squealed when he first smiled, bit her lip and held it together when he got shots, texted the world when he said his first word, played with him, prayed for him, and loved him.
Then she blinked, and he was two.
Dear baby boy,
I love you because you love to be tickled and wiggle your own finger whenever I stop tickling you. I love you because you excitedly announce “Dada!” whenever someone comes to the door. I love you because you love to brush your teeth. I love you because you insist on putting mousse in your hair whenever I do my own. I love you because you say “Bye bye baa-baa” when we leave the farm and “Bye bye water!” when you have to come in from the rain. I love you because you make your stuffed animals act out your songs. I love you because you eat all manner of vegetables and fruits. I love you because you love to say prayers. I love you because you take a deep breath to calm down when you are in trouble. I love you because you think buckets, laundry baskets, and storage cubes are hats. I love you because you love to dance and clap to music. I love you because you say “uh-oh” whenever Naomi is crying and bring me every pacifier you can find. I love you because you say “ha-ha-ha-haaaa” whenever you are proud of yourself. I love you because sometimes when you are bad you are so cute and funny that I have to leave the room and laugh after I put you in time out. I love you because you love to go to Arby’s with me. I love you because I prayed for you. I love you because I waited for you. I love you because you can break and mend my heart at the same time. I love you because you forgive me. I love you because you love me. I love you because you are mine.