Nine seems impossible.
It was nine years ago when I dragged my nine-days-overdue and extremely pregnant body to the Labor & Delivery floor to be induced with my first child. He needed to be prodded along, to be told that the time was now, much like he is today. He does things in his own time and hates to be rushed. He resists the unpredictable, the break in the routine.
But he was evicted from the womb and into the world after a long 15-ish hours of Pitocin and epidurals. The OB had told me he would be a large baby, based on the last few ultrasounds, but I had heard how wildly inaccurate those estimates could be. I chose to believe, even though my girth seemed to defy the very laws of gravity, that he wouldn’t really be that big.
Nine pounds and four ounces. They put him on my chest after he was born and I remember the doctor saying, “Say hello to your one month old.”
We were brand new parents and knew nothing about anything. We were shell shocked and thrilled and totally out of sorts. We read the books and listened to the advice of friends and family.
But what we learned early on, and what we still find every day, is that our oldest son has always been the one to really teach us about parenthood. All of the firsts were and remain his, and that is his special place in this family.
In the last nine years, he has transformed from impossibly chubby baby to a long and lean third grader who is the household’s leading authority on paleontology, Star Wars and World War II. Although his temper can be quick, he is sentimental and sweet. He doesn’t care if I hug and kiss him in public. He will be the first to sit with me, sling his arms up on my shoulders and ask if he and his future wife and kids can live here with us (decision pending). I’m grateful that he’s in no rush to grow up. I’m not sure how much longer that will last, but I will take it every single day that it stays this way.
His big day marks the beginning of Birthday Season in our house, with an April-May-June-July line up (with the exception of my husband in October). It’s a time of year I look forward to, for a lot of reasons. In my mind, it kicks off the spring and starts the family get togethers of warm weather and grills and birthday cakes. I love my kids’ birthdays but they also bring me to my knees a little bit each time, wondering how we got here so fast yet again. It doesn’t seem like so long ago when I made Star Wars cupcakes with a big 8 candle. Or a pirate ship cake with a 5 candle. Or a Thomas cake with a 2 candle.
And so, here we are at nine (and another Jedi candle). One year shy of double digits and many moons away from that giant newborn. And still, while so much has changed, every day he teaches us how to be parents.
Happy birthday to my sweet, sweet boy.