Ten years ago, I gave birth to my oldest son. Even though I knew that my life would be turned around, I never could have imagined in how many ways my life would be changed for the better. Those four words, "You have a son" made me a mother, and the last ten years have seen an incredible amount of growth and a love that knows no boundaries or limits.
My son. Words that I longed to hear for so long. Words that made me a mother for the first time. The last ten years have brought many first's. The last ten years have seen an infant come into the world, hold up his head, turn over, smile real smiles, sit up, crawl, eat real food, say words that meant something, say I love you, walk, run, and do all kinds of amazing things.
The most amazing? His ability to be compassionate. His love for his brothers and his family. How when he spoke to his Grandma (who just had her second round of chemo yesterday) this afternoon, the first words out of his mouth were "How are you REALLY feeling, Grandma?" The way he carefully read the incredible card his seven year old brother made for him and the way he didn't tell his brother the presents were all his.
Even today, ten years after he came into my world, scrunched up face, crying his newborn mewling cry, I stand in awe. I am in awe that I am a mother. I am in awe that regardless of the crappiest day I may have encountered, or how tired I am, or how much they suck the last dregs of energy within me, there is no other place I would rather be, or anybody I would rather be with.
I am in awe of how much I have changed as I brought home that beautiful newborn baby boy. I am stronger than I ever thought I was, weaker than I would like to admit, and know that there is so much that is out of my hands. Motherhood has made me challenge myself in ways I never thought possible, change aspects of myself I thought were engrained genetically, and constantly makes me want to be the person my kids already believe I am.
On the early morning my son was born, as I gazed into the eyes of this tiny creature whose survival depended solely on me, I knew I was in trouble. I knew that I was about to experience a love I had always heard about, but could only imagine. I knew. I knew that there would never be an enemy too great, a fear too insurmountable. I knew that I would do whatever I needed to do to make sure that this child (and the others that would soon join him) would never know fear, hunger, anxiety. In those brief moments, as the doctor showed my husband and I one of the greatest gifts ever bestowed on us from the other side of the surgical sheet, I knew I was a mother.
My dearest Matthew, you have taught me to believe in what I know exists but cannot prove. You have taught me that there is NOTHING that isn't possible when you seek it with a pure heart and pursue it with love. You have shown me that I am capable of being the person you know is there, the person I always knew I could be.
My darling boy, you have been a joy from the moment we knew of your existence. You have been an endless source of pride and joy, a source of happiness and amazement for your father and I. We are blessed to have you as our son, our firstborn. Rest tonight, knowing in your heart that your father and I love you as much as any person can love another; hopelessly, fully, truly, deeply. We love you to the moon and back. Happy tenth birthday, my love.