With your first child, a parent reaches each new milestone or birthday with a sense of equal parts: Excitement, Eager Anticipation and Undeniable Melancholy. Their first day of Junior High, their first real game, their next big birthday. Each 'event' of their lives is inevitably the newest and biggest shared 'first' for the both of you. It has become common knowledge: each of The Kid's birthdays which further separates me from my once snugly baby boy, breaks my heart a little. Until Today.
With complete confidence, I can declare The Kid to be the most happy of his entire life. The Kid loves hard, he breaks easy, he second guesses and wants so badly to belong. He views himself with a fun house mirror, unable to accurately see the beauty and goodness inside, which is so clear to the rest of us.
Until recently. At an age when so many other boys are suffering from a pre-teen identity crisis, The Kid is settling into himself. It is amazing to watch. I have been his front row, center stage Fan Club President since the very first moment I knew I was becoming a mother.
This Fall, The Kid received the best report card of his life. (which is saying something...) His teacher conference was glowing (which is REALLY saying something..) He has made good and tru friends. He is (mostly) doing his own laundry (and actually liking it because it makes him feel 'grown up'). His Speech team won a Best in Show award. And he is GROWING (3 jeans sizes in 12 months. Ouch.)
He began pitching for his school baseball team. A position he steadfastly avoided due to nerves. While watching his first full inning of strike-outs, tears streamed down my cheeks. My throat was tight and I could barely breathe from the wash of emotion.
Sure... I Heart a great strike-out. But the tears were not a result of pride from an athletic accomplishment. Instead I was so overwhelmingly pleased for his confidence in himself. I have never seen my son with such a comfortable strength. It is the most beautiful thing in the world, to witness your child becoming themselves.
I have spent the past ten years utterly convinced I would never again see anything cuter than his chunky toddler smile. Those big brown eyes, hidden deep inside his chubba cheeks... that was the best it would ever get. So color me surprised to realize his twelve year old mini-man face is suddenly ALSO the cutest thing eva?! Man sized jeans and American Eagle tshirts? Possibly even cuter than little Carter's onesies on rolly polly legs. How can that be?
I love this child so much it hurts.
We have probably never made more mistakes and yet without question, Coach and I have done our very best parenting on this amazing boy. The Kid glued our three hearts together. How could he ever have reason to second guess anything? Because falling in love with The Kid, was easily The Most Important milestone of our adult lives.
Happy Birthday, to the First Baby.
My birthday wish for you is simple: to continue to be so darn happy. To be your best self. To strive to be as kind as your father and as brave as your mother. Be so much more than a good grade... be a good person.
I have never believed in anything so completely, as I believe in your heart. Everything right I have ever done, was to bring you to this joyful space in your life.