Sunday, May 18, 2008

To Rye, on his birthday

Dear Rye,

You turned 3 years old yesterday.

When you woke up, I went to get you, and I said, "Happy birthday! You're 3 today!" and I felt tears sting my eyes. The emotions were unexpected, but in that instant I remembered how far we've come.

I really, really wanted a baby and it took us no time at all to learn we were having you. But on that day I found out I was pregnant, I remember feeling scared that what I had wanted for so long was finally, actually coming true. Before you have kids, parenthood is a hard notion to understand. I think you don't really know what it's like until you do it, until you are one yourself, until an actual human being -- who can't talk or do anything for himself -- is your sole responsibility.

But I was more than excited. Right away, I started planning your room, your baby clothes, your name, everything I could think of. I remember spending hours in the room that would be yours just arranging things.

I didn't ski that winter -- and that was OK. I didn't really run anything substantial that year -- and that was OK. I stopped doing yoga and the weight-lifting classes and hanging out with our friends like we used to. And it was all OK.

You were worth it.

Now, you are playing with Star Wars action figures and making specific noises for whoever you are holding.

You know that Anakin Skywalker is Darth Vadar and that Luke Skywalker is his son and all sorts of other very specific details that I do not really understand.

You say things everyday that surprise me -- and leave me in wonder and awe and complete and utter love.

When you were a baby, it was hard. I remember thinking, "It's going to get better. Wait until he's 2. With every day, it's going to get easier."

It was so hard for several reasons. One, it was such a different way of life. Our time was no longer our own, and I remember missing your dad, even though he was right there. Two, you cried a lot. Some babies just do. But we had some eating issues, and I think our main problem was that you were hungry. I got bad advice from your doctor right away and that caused us to struggle. But after awhile, we figured it out and you started taking naps and sleeping with us at night, all night, and then it got even better.

We moved from Colorado to Omaha and you started daycare (which I still say is the hardest thing I've ever done -- leaving you there that first day).

At 4 months old, you had surgery. You had an inguinal hernia, which means you had a hole in your abdominal wall. I felt so guilty. I wasn't allowed to feed you all morning, and when you finally fell asleep at the hospital, I laid you down and the nurses came minutes later to wheel you away on that gigantic bed. The operation went fine, of course, but I was more than happy to have you back in my arms afterward.

Before long, you learned to sit up and to eat rice cereal and to crawl and then walk. Those milestones seem both so long ago and so just the other day.

But you are 3.

I was so happy at your party yesterday. Your Star Wars party where you made lightsabers and played on the toys and ate cake with your friends. You said thank you for all your gifts and really seemed to appreciate having them.

Right now, you are walking on your tiptoes because your heel hurts (you say) from a splinter I dug out earlier. And you're asking to watch the Darth Maul "movie" on YouTube again where he fights Obi Wan Kenobi. You also just stole a line from my favorite childhood movie: "I'll get you, my pretty. And you're little dog, too," as you waved a new toy saw in Daddy's direction.

Three nights ago, out of the blue, you said, "Mommy, you're my best friend," and 10 minutes later, in your bed, you put your hands on my face and turned me to you and said, "Mommy, I love you."

Our life wouldn't be the same without you, Rye Watson. Thank you for these first three years and for all the ones yet to come.

I love you.



Barbie Schowalter & Kirsetin Morello said...

Exactly right, the words you picked for him. Thanks for sharing them.

Jenny said...

Happy Belated Birthday Rye!

It sounds like he had a wonderful day.

3 already. Does that seem possible? Time goes so quickly. I'm already looking forward to when Mackenzie and Ben are that age, it sounds like so much fun.

Thanks for sharing!

Cindy said...

I love this!

Many times I have tried to imagine my mom feeling this way about me when I was a child. I mean, I'm sure she did (I hope) but it seems impossible to picture!

Thank you for sharing these beautiful sentiments to a very blessed little boy!

Jeannine said...

Okay you got me, you made me cry.