Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Malachi's 16

Dear Malachi,
Sixteen years ago today, you made me a mommy! Daddy and I were so excited, nervous and clueless about becoming parents. None of our friends had children yet, and it just felt like this huge new adventure. It WAS! You brought out a love in us we never knew possible. Those first weeks, even though I had you sleeping in a bassinet at the end of our bed, I put the baby monitor right in there with you and the speaker right next to my ear, just so I could hear you breathing. It felt like you were a part of me - because you were!
I remember those first few weeks, I wondered if you were happy, because you just stared at me with a blank expression on your face. Well duh, babies don't learn to smile for a few weeks! When you did, and that big smile beamed up at me, and those blue eyes sparkled, it was like I'd just made the greatest discovery of all time. Everything you did impressed me.
I remember, too, how easily everyone fell in love with you. Grandpa Payne came over every day after work to carry you around for a while, and you'd always fall asleep with your fuzzy little head against his chest. Papa would come rock you on his lunch hour. Grandma Baldwin could not WAIT to show you off to her coworkers - and buy you every darling baby outfit she could get her hands on. Auntie Megan came to babysit and when you pooped, she said it smelled like freshly baked bread. I'm telling you, we just adored you.
And you know? For the first decade of your life, I think a part of me kind of dreaded your teenage years. People are always talking about how hard the teenage years are, so I wondered how you would BE. Plus, I knew that as the teen years approached, my time with you at home with me would grow shorter. And I couldn't bear the thought. At ALL.
But guess what, son. We're halfway through your teen years already, and you truly become more delightful with every passing year. I *love* your teen years. You're funny - witty - smart, handsome, capable, intelligent, dedicated, hard-working.
I always wondered what it would feel like when my children started to become my friend - when the parenting role would start to change a little bit more into friendship. I'll tell you what it feels like. It feels like when I'm having a bad day, and I'm upset, and you're kind. And I look over and think, "that kid is honestly one of my best friends." That's what it's like.
But I still dread that my time with you at home is growing shorter. I still tear up when I think that someday you won't live here. I guess we'll deal with that when the time comes, huh?
For now, my son, Happy Birthday. You are one of the biggest blessings of my entire life, and I love you so very much.

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