Today, just a few minutes ago you turned eight. My breath catches in my throat and my eyes tear up a little as I type that. Because I cannot believe that you are actually eight years old.
I had a hard time believing that I could love someone as much as your daddy. But from the first kick, I suddenly understood the true meaning of bonding. And every day as you grew bigger and stronger, I anxiously awaited your arrival.
I was also scared. What kind of mother would I be? How in the world would I change so many diapers? Would I easily be able to breastfeed? If not, would you starve?
But you were coming. Although your room wasn’t ready. It still smelled like paint. Your new clothes weren’t washed. I hadn’t even had the second shower that was planned.
But you were ready. And when you set your mind on something, there is pretty much no stopping you.
You were only four pounds and you still needed a lot of extra attention from the hospital so they kept you but they sent me home. I sobbed uncontrollably for almost 30 minutes the day that I had to leave the hospital without you.
There was nothing that this overachieving, workaholic business-minded woman could do. It was humbling.
Although I was so unsure of myself as a mother, I did know that leaving the hospital without you was devastating. It felt wrong. Almost anticlimactic.
You were still in NICU and you would remain there for another few weeks. Your sucking reflex had not developed so you were fed through a tube. You liked to torture the nurses by pulling out your feeding tube almost every night. You were a scrappy four pounder!
The goal was to get you to eat. At first it was something as small as half a teaspoon. That amount seemed so huge to put in your tiny body. Your father and I reveled in every little triumph.
Eating on your own was such a huge accomplishment. I felt like I had waited my entire life to help you get there.
A few weeks after your rush into the world, you came home and you made our family complete. Perfect.
I could not be prouder to be your mother. I could not ask for a better, more amazing child.
I love you so much for the little boy that you are and the glimpse every day that I get of the man you are becoming.
I cannot imagine my life without you. I can barely remember my life before you. My life is enhanced because you are in it.
I cannot wait to see what your future holds.
Happy Birthday Huntly!
You sure don’t look like a preemie anymore, my big boy.