To My First Born On Your Fifth Birthday

How did this happen? How is it even possible? What happened to the little baby I once knew? I can’t believe he’s gone, replaced by the little boy I’m watching play in the yard.

Today is your birthday. You are five years old. The fact that you are so big makes me weepy and your constant insistence that you don’t need me and can do things on your own makes my emotion worse. Please don’t mistake my melancholy as something negative. Truthfully, I’m glad you are growing up. You should be. I’d be worried if you weren’t. But still, I can’t help but look at you today and feel tears form in my eyes.

Right now you are running and playing. RUNNING AND PLAYING! I know you don’t understand what is special about that, but I do. I have memories you do not; memories you were too little to keep. I remember a child different than the one you are now. I remember a little boy who was physically weak and unable to sit, crawl, and walk like other little ones his age. I remember watching time pass in agony and fear. Your peers grew and you did not. At three years old you were in 18 month old cloths. While others were developing and turning into toddlers, you stayed very much a baby. While other moms were talking about what food to introduce next, I was still trying to get you to hold down breast milk. While other kids were sleeping, you were screaming. While other kids were learning to walk, you still had yet to crawl. Nothing for you was easy. Eventually, even breathing became hard.

Now I look at you and see a physically average five year old playing in size 5T cloths. It’s a simple little thing, but the beauty in it overwhelms me. Because while you might look average on the outside, your journey to get there is nothing short of extraordinary. You are extraordinary. You have no way to know at your age what exactly you have accomplished. But to the adult world around you, your achievements are too great to be ignored. You see, while grown ups seem so smart and wise, the truth is we are not. We are all a bunch of five year olds….that grew up. We don’t have all the answers. We often don’t understand the world around us. To us, life can seem harsh and unfair and it can make us feel lost and afraid. Just like when we were five years old, we still don’t always know what to do. So we look to our own parents, teachers and friends for the answers. This can be scary when we become a mommy and a daddy because we want to have the answers for our kids. But, sometimes answers simply don’t exist. I desperately want to be able to tell you why you are different and why you are in pain. I want to have the answers that will lead us to a cure. I want to help you. I want to heal you. I want to feel less lost and afraid when it comes to your Dystonia. I want to have the answers that I so desperately seek yet can’t find. But, as I watch you pick up your little brother who just fell down and kiss his elbow for the third time in ten minutes it is clear to me that it is you. You are the answer. You have been all along.

Life sucks sometimes. It can be cruel and unfair. While I’ve been trying to figure out what to do, you’ve been busy doing it. You love. You laugh…sometimes for no reason. You are kind even when the world is not. You push through adversity and you never quit. You keep trying even when it means you fail over and over again. You are strong, you are brave, you are courage and you are fearless. You are everything I strive to be. So know that when life gets hard and you turn to me for strength, I will only be retuning to you the strength you’ve given me. When you are grown up and feel lost, know the answers you seek, lies within yourself. If you feel lost and don’t know where to look, I pray you will look back and remember yourself right now at five years old. Because right now you are wise and you know the answers are simple. The answers are filled with positivity, perseverance and love. Please remember that age and experience do not always equate to wisdom.

When memories fade and you can’t remember yourself at five then please don’t fault me for not having the answers. I hope you too look out in your own back yard and talk to your children. They will know what to do. They will know how to keep trying. They will know how to love you in a way you never knew you needed. They will know about forgiveness and empathy. You have taught me that so many of life’s answers are both found and left in our youth. As many more birthdays pass, I pray you keep a little piece of how you are now. Because at five years old, you are incredible. I love you more than you could ever know. Thank you for all the joy and love you bring me, and for showing me light when life has felt dark. I am proud and honoured to be your mommy.

Happy Birthday sweetheart. I love you.

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