Tuesday, May 25, 2010

On your fifth birthday...

Dear Rye,

I remember those first few weeks after you were born. The long nights. The quieter but equally long days. The endless breastfeeding. The crying.

The complete newness of it all.

I wasn't sure either one of us was going to make it.

I remember thinking, "This, too, shall pass" and "It's got to get better. Someday, he'll be 2. And that will be fun." I may have even spoken those sentiments out loud, to your dad, to convince him. And me.

But it got better. Of course, it did. I got better at being your mom. You chilled out a bit. And then my whole world revolved around you. I thought about little else. I did little else. I always wanted to be with you. Every second.

I took you to the Children's Museum and to the zoo. We played in the sandbox in the backyard. We went for long walks at night, all three of us. You were silly and crazy and in love with construction trucks and macaroni and cheese and "choo-choos" and The Wiggles (OK, I might have forced The Wiggles on you, just a bit).

Every time you were sick, I wished it could be me feeling miserable instead. When you ran into the corner of the upstairs bathroom door on your first birthday and split your forehead open, I felt AWFUL. And when you had hand, foot and mouth disease on your second birthday, I felt almost sick myself. I remember finally getting you to eat a very soft waffle, toward the end of your party. Those ulcers in your mouth looked awful.

I've smiled with you more times than I've cried, of course. I've laughed at you, with you, tickled you, held you. When we made light sabers at your third birthday party and superhero capes at your fourth, it was so special to see you with your very own friends. Somehow, my baby was old enough to have his very own friends.

Last week, you turned 5. I can hardly believe we've come this far.

You are simply so grown up. You are sensitive, you aim to please, you are the most empathetic kid I know. I'll never forget when years ago you cried when Clifford had to move to the country to live with Emily's uncle (we loved that book) or when Jackie Paper stops going to play with Puff the Magic Dragon (even I cry at that part of the book/song).

You have been my helper this year with your little sister. You realize when Mommy needs something and most of the time you just do it.

You are absolutely Paige's favorite person in the world. No one can make her laugh or smile like you.

You are kind and thoughtful and articulate and intense and emotional. A bit like someone else I know...

Rye, you will always be my special boy, my sweet boy, my first baby.

Even when you're more grown up than you are now.

I love you, my baby. Happy 5th birthday.