When I first found out I was pregnant with your older brother, I made a slide show to tell Dad. It was beautiful–the song was perfectly curated, the pictures brought tears to our eyes, and the joy was palpable. A mere 13 months later (and only about 3 months after your brother was born), I stood in the nursery willing him to sleep for one freaking hot minute and I frantically called your father. This is how that touching conversation went:
Me: Remember that test I told you I was going to take?
Me: Well, I took it.
Me: I’M CALLING YOU AREN’T I???????
Him: Let me step out of this meeting.
Your pregnancy didn’t get a slideshow. It didn’t get a shower or a sprinkle. It didn’t care about soft cheeses and sushi. And your Mama definitely didn’t get the doctor recommended amount of sleep. But it sure did get a whole lotta head tilts and “Was this planned?” questions. It also had a good bit of wine and tequila before that fateful test. Life with you was a party from the start.
And nothing slowed down from that moment on.
You came into this world on a stunning October day. The nurses lost your heartbeat at one point and I was forced to go onto all fours like a farm animal to “get you to move around.” Modern science is a true marvel sometimes. Hours later, you became my second c-section in less than a year. Some might say you’ve been a trailblazer from Day One. You and I spent the next five glorious nights alone in the hospital. Staples in my abdomen aside, this was a true vacation. I was smart enough to know what awaited us at home….
I will spare you the details of those early days/weeks/months, my love. But I will tell you that the days were very long. And by days, I specifically mean from 4-8 pm every single day when your colic would come out to play. I guess you could say this is when you first started testing my patience, sanity and overall emotional stability.
You didn’t crawl–you crab-walked, started cruising at 9 months, walked at 10 months, decided that wasn’t good enough so you opted to sprint everywhere you went, belly-first to further tempt the gravity gods. I never knew how many corners our house had until you were mobile. When you ran, you would often sneak a peak behind you to see if anyone was catching up to you. If there was somebody there, you ran even faster. Life was one big track meet for you.
With you, I learned pretty quickly that it’s best to just wait until you get tired enough and you will come to me. This is not as easy as it sounds. And while it was a great strategy at playgrounds, it was not as applicable to places like Costco, CVS, or basic daily life. I’m built like a swimmer now with incredible upper body strength thanks in part to hauling you over my shoulders in a WWF style out of the public eye on countless occasions. This is the time period where you really began to refine your juking skills.
Benny, you are fast. You outrun people all the time. You still sneakily peak over your shoulder to analyze the competition. Watching you on the football field is pure joy. Walking (racing) through a museum or the zoo with you is considerably less entertaining. But your quiet, quick wit is equally notable. It wasn’t until you started school that I realized you were actually shy. That was not the version of you that showed up at home. You literally saved the drama for your mama. It’s why I have a library of videos and photos of your theatrics. Your ability to negotiate, coupled with your one-liners make you an incredibly special child to parent. You are the type of kid that has a palate expander and wears the most hideous headgear every night but doesn’t complain about it. Oh wait….You definitley complain. But you still do it. That’s character.
I have loved every single second of watching you grow into a young man. You are kind, you are thoughtful, you are smart (probably too smart sometimes), and you are intuitive. You can read a crowd better than most politicians and comedians combined. You know when to be quiet, when to speak up and when to really listen. I see you and all your big feelings. You still give the best hugs and you still tell me you love me. I never take that for granted.
Because of who you are, the choices you make, and the way you approach life, I have almost no concerns about you moving up to Middle School. My only hope is that once in a while you take a second to appreciate the moment. You are nonstop and have been since that beautiful October morning. When you sleep, you sleep hard because when you live, you live even harder. Always remember to slow down and appreciate all the wonderful things around you. You’ll be amazed. Your heart will be full.
It’s how I feel every night when I kiss you goodnight.
And if you could someday eat a veggie, a meat or something other than pancakes, pizza and pasta, that would be great too. I promise I won’t videotape it. Maybe.
PS…. Here is the ironic song that you were born to…..
And the slideshow you never got….