That’s weird to think about.
Three years ago, after the most intense night of my entire life, you suddenly showed up.
You only weighed 6 lbs. (I had prayed you would weigh six pounds.) You had heart-stopping eyelashes. (I had prayed you’d have them.) I was only in labor for five hours. (I had prayed you’d come quickly.)
We were off to a good start- you and me. You were all I’d hoped for and more.
But I didn’t even know you.
You hung out by my hospital bed in something that looked like oversized tupperware on wheels. I would glance over at you from time to time and wonder what you were thinking about. Then I’d scold myself because, hello? Babies can’t think! Then, I’d think: Wait… maybe they can? Crap! Am I already limiting my child? I’m so sorry! Think away, dear two hour old baby!
I had this feeling that you could tell I had no idea what I was doing, so I tried to play it cool in front of you. But you were on to me, weren’t you?
Visitors came. Sometimes it felt like when you go to a party and see someone you sort of know and then someone else walks up and wants to be introduced to your “friend” and you suddenly realize you have no idea what your “friend’s” name even is. It was a little awkward. “Hi! This is Ezra! He, um, sleeps! And sometimes eats! Um, I think he likes that light up there!”
That was all I knew about you at the time.
We brought you home. I started to figure out what you liked and didn’t like- Slowly. Clumsily. Tearfully. (More on my part than yours.) You hardly made a sound. Your cry sounded like the volume was turned down on the TV. It was… soft.
I liked to go places and show you off. You were really small. And you never pooped. (Your record? TWELVE DAYS. The doctors kept telling me you were just very… “efficient.”) I was learning to get used to the new human I was responsible for while trying to hang on to the tattered bits of my old life… My old self. They were tattered because, after you were born, I realized I’d never lived for anyone but ME. And suddenly that seemed kinda silly.
Anyways… you grew. And as you grew, I got to know you more and more. And with every new thing I learned about you, I fell more and more in love with you. You took your time with the talking thing, and that was hard because I was ready to move beyond the language of grunts and growls. I wanted to know what made you tick. I was beginning to think I’d birthed a perpetual CAVEMAN.
But now? You are three. That’s one more than two and two more than one.
In some ways, we are still getting to know one another, yes? That’s why you push my buttons all the time. Because you’re just checking to see what they all do. (Just so you know: that ‘constant whine’ button you’ve been pushing the last couple of weeks? That’s mommy’s EYE TWITCH button. May we move on?)
I know you better than anyone else in the world does by now. Better than I’ve known anyone ever before. (I wipe your bum, is all I’m saying.) And yet… you still manage to confound me. Surprise me. Lay new cards on the table at least once or twice a day. You are a little thunderstorm running up and down the hall… full of energy and passion and prone to sudden changes.
You are not who I thought you were when I gave birth to you three years ago. You are complex and stubborn and sensitive. You are observant and aware and have a powerful memory. You are logical and emotional. You are goofy and inclusive. You are more amazing than my vivid imagination could’ve ever imagined you’d be.
I realize now that I will never know you completely. But I’m okay with that, Ezra, because I’ve already seen enough good in you to last a lifetime. You are an incredible person, and I am so proud of who you are becoming.
Happy Birthday, Sweet boy. I love you.