I always get emotional when my kids have birthdays. Those two days of the year are more significant to me than my own birthday. On those two days my life changed drastically and for the better. Nothing has ever challenged me more, or stretched me further than being a mother.
October 13, 2006 was a Friday. Friday the 13th. Jeremy and I went to the hospital early in the morning, because I was scheduled to be induced that day. I learned with Alexis that going past a due date is no fun, and that I would probably have to be induced anyway since my body most likely wouldn't go into labor on it's own until I was beyond tired of waiting. So in I went, and brought a big old bag of nerves with me. I left my then only child at home sleeping, unsuspecting of what the end of the day would bring her. I had so many emotions running through my mind and heart that I didn't know which way was up. I was excited to not be pregnant anymore. I was nervous that the induction wouldn't go well. I was scared of being a mother to two. And I was feeling guilty for what I was about to do to my daughter's world--which was shake it all up.
We had to wait awhile before I could be induced. The hospital was busy dealing with lots of people who wanted to have babies on Friday the 13th, and lots of other people who didn't want to have babies on that day, but had no choice. Once I was induced the labor went quickly, and mostly painlessly (thanks to the epidural). Both of my babies had passed their meconium while still in the womb, so both had to be whisked away from me the second they are out to be checked. Since I know no other way, this is fine with me because I usually need a second to catch my breath and wrap my mind around what I've just done. But that really only takes a second, and then I search the room anxiously trying to catch a glimpse of my new perfect child. This time Tyler's in the corner of the room, his mouth being suctioned by the nurses, all the while being watched over by his father. I wait on my bed, almost feeling forgotten, despite the role I played in all of this. Finally they announce his weight: 8 lbs 6 oz! I was so surprised because that's almost two pounds more than Alexis weighed at birth. Then they lift him off the table and bring me my baby all wrapped up in a blanket.
I looked at him. He fussed. I took in his tiny little facial features and tried to determine who he looked like. I compared him to what I remembered Alexis being like as a baby--no red face this time, and no white bumps, but still plenty of hair. He cried and made the face I now know so well, his lips huge and pouty and his nose all scrunched up. I fell in love. I did love that little boy, but it lacked the intensity I felt the first time around, which worried me. Would I not love my second as much as I loved the first? Every child deserves to be loved unconditionally by their parents and I was afraid that I would deprive him of that. Jeremy seemed to love him just as much. What was wrong with me?
A few hours later it all clicked. I can't even remember now what did it, it may have been the first time I fed him, but I do remember the feelings of the moment--the first time I felt that intense, protective love for my son. It was now there, just as strong as my love for my daughter. He was MY son and I was overcome with emotion about how strongly I felt for this little baby. I think my feelings of guilt towards Alexis got in the way at first, but nothing can come between the love a mother feels for her child.
I shouldn't have worried about Alexis, because while she practically wouldn't speak to me for a few days, she did love her brother. And her love for him, and his love for her, has never diminished.
So now he turns two. I can hardly believe that two years has passed us by and he has changed so much. His changes have led to my changes and his growing has led to my growing. But I still wish I could hold him as a baby just one more time. To smell his distinct baby Tyler smell, to cuddle him on my shoulder again, to listen to his little baby coos, and watch his eyes as he watches his big sister with adoration. However, where we are now is great too. He still watches Alexis like the sun rises and sets with her, but now he tries to mimic her. He still occasionally snuggles, especially if your name is daddy and it's bedtime or baseball is on T.V. And he still has the best cheeks for pinching and kissing.
I love my happy, silly, rough and tumble, chipped tooth, crazy haired, big lipped, full sentence talking, fast running but slow walking, left handed ball throwing, sweet little Ty-guy. And I hope he has a very very happy birthday.