Today is your third birthday. Three! That can’t be right. You’re my baby. I’m beginning to understand how youngest kids get spoiled and such. I’m enjoying watching you grow, but I’m not ready for you to be a full-fledged big boy yet. Let’s just slow things down a bit, mmkay?
I have to admit, when you popped up on the ultrasound screen and unknowingly announced your manhood 3 1/2 years ago, I was . . . shall we say . . . less than thrilled? Of course, I was overjoyed to see you, even the blurry, barely discernible, black-and-white version of you on the ultrasound screen. But the boy parts – well, they had me worried. Scared. Petrified.
You see, I’m a girl. And I was already comfortably raising two girls when you came along. I liked my girls. Still do. And while I have your wonderful father for a husband and two brothers who were in no way horrible examples of boyhood growing up, I really couldn’t see myself raising a boy. Girls, I got. Or at least I got them more than boys.
Ironically, I didn’t really have a prejudice against boys until I became a mother. Raising children is wonderful but exhausting, even under the best of circumstances. And I’d seen one too many little boys with perfectly lovely parents who seemed to me to be absolute terrors. And that scared the crap out of me. Admittedly, I’ve known some absolute terrors who have grown into sweet, amazing men, but they were terrors as kids nonetheless. I couldn’t imagine what it must’ve been like to be those boys’ mothers. Still can’t.
I knew, because I’d already had two kids and saw how the parental love thing works, that I was going to love you as my child. But I was desperately afraid that I wasn’t going to like you. What if I didn’t like my child? How was I going to handle that?
But then you were born. And from the moment I met you, all of that fear washed away. You charmed your way into my affections in a matter of seconds, and you didn’t even have control of any of your faculties yet. Your entire being was wrapped in sweetness and delight.
I did love you. I also liked you, immediately. Still do. Your sweet, crooked smile. Your sincere love and affection. Your unbridled enthusiasm for everything you deem the least bit exciting, from birthday cake to breakfast cereal. Your goofy silliness. And yes, even your clear moments of testosterone-filled boy energy.
Granted, you’re not a terror. At least not yet. But you’ve also made me question what I was seeing when I looked at those boys I saw as terrors. You’ve definitely helped me understand what their mothers were seeing. People told me when I was pregnant with you that there’s a special bond between mothers and sons. I get that now.
You have so much life ahead of you, and I know we’re just beginning to see what’s in store for you. But so much of you is so clear already. You are loved for all that you are. You’ve brought more joy and growth to our family than I ever could have hoped for. I know we’re entering the tougher ages (why people call the twos terrible is beyond me), but I don’t fear raising you anymore. While there are parts of your boyness I will probably never fully understand, I do fully appreciate them, warts and all. Because you are exactly who you are supposed to be. And you’ve made my life infinitely richer by being a part of it.
Happy birthday, my sweet boy.
🙂 Your loving Mommy