today is my little man's fourth birthday. i am very dorky because yes, i am crying while i'm writing this. call me sappy. whatever. he's my little man, and i am madly in love with this kid. madly in love.
***caution: if you're actually interested in reading ahead, you may want to grab a caffeinated beverage and a comfortable chair. if not, i suggest you go get something productive accomplished. i'm just giving you plenty of warning. this is more for him (and me) than anyone else.
dear big h,
today is your fourth birthday, and to be honest, i cannot believe it. i used to hear other moms say (when i was not a mom), "i can remember it like yesterday." i would roll my eyes and declare that such a mom comment. i was right.
your entrance into this world was less than ideal, to say the least. i had a wonderful pregnancy. i was never sick. but i didn't tell that to anyone because apparently, when you're pregnant, you're supposed to be sick all the time. you and i bonded immediately. i loved everything about being pregnant. i loved my doctor. i worked at a hospital, handy enough in the womens' services hospital. i loved buying maternity clothes.
your dad and me at the OU/texas game. i think people reading this have seen this picture before. but i was so happy. that was two weeks before you arrived. i loved having my belly get bigger and bigger. i loved talking about you. all the time. we didn't know if you were a boy or a girl. that was such a treat. your dad and i were showered with gifts.
(yikes. look at that belly.)
then we got towards the end of the pregnancy, i was starting to measure bigger than i should. i tried not to take that personally. :) but every week that i would measure big, my doctor would have a sit-down chat with me about inducing, something i didn't want to happen. you were due november 8, 2003. i told my doctor three things or three "wishes," if you will. i didn't want to be induced. i didn't want to have a c-section. and i didn't want to have a baby on halloween. at your delivery, he said with a smile on his face, "well, i got you one out of three."
i was put on a week of bed rest. whew, talk about boring. what's ironic is that so many of my patients were bed rest patients, and i thought their life looked like luxury. bless my heart. but i did my best to have a good attitude.
after my week of bedrest, my doc informed me that we would be inducing that night. ok, that was fine. no big deal. we called your grandma and grandpa, your nana and papa, your uncle bob and aunt emily, your uncle rick and aunt tanna, and pretty much everyone else in the metroplex to say that we have a baby tonight.
again, bless our hearts.
here i am in all my naivety. just brushing my teeth so i would have fresh, minty breath for the delivery of my baby in a short time.
labor lasted two days, without medicine, i might add. daddy was the best labor coach around. and as tough as those two days were, they were some of the best hours your daddy and i have ever shared together.
you might remember these from goo's birth. they're daddy's birthing shoes. he wanted something for the delivery, since i had gotten so many nice maternity clothes. dad is the best.
i hope and pray you find and meet and marry your very best friend someday.
we were in labor and delivery for so long that we had three different nurses. two of them worked two consecutive shifts.
she was our first nurse. look how happy and eager i am.
alice was our delivering nurse. daddy and i will always remember her as the cute, single nurse who wore halloween t-shirts two consecutive night shifts. she got us through both nights. she is/was a rock star.
theresa showed up the second day in a row, surprised that we hadn't had you yet. she was a friend of mine before i even got pregnant, so having her as part of our support team was incredibly special.
after two days, you had two substantial heart decels, so the doc informed us that he wasn't taking anymore chances with you. and we were off for an emergency c-section. in a matter of five minutes, i was prepped and ready for surgery. i was so scared, but your daddy was right there letting me know what was happening.
the two doctors got you out so quickly, i didn't have a chance to really understand what was happening. but dad got to see everything, and he said you were perfect. i was so well taken care of by everyone. i was just so glad you were healthy. but my heart almost couldn't take the joy i was experiencing because you were a boy. i think secretly daddy and i wanted a boy. and oh, big h, you were beautiful.
you were born at 6:39 on a thursday morning. the morning before halloween.
you had visitors immediately. benefit of working in a hospital...everyone knows your business. and i had so much adrenalin that i wanted to show you to everyone. i remembered being wheeled upstairs to my room and falling fast asleep until one o'clock in the afternoon when my nurse came in and told me i may want to feed you. oh, right. responsibility.
here are some of your visitors. all mommy's friends from the hospital. and mommy couldn't look any sleepier. and the orange thing on your head? it's a pumpkin hat that a nurse made for you.
here are bitsy and patrick, your namesake. they were our first couple friends and became near and dear to us in such a short time. and we really felt like the Lord blessed us with them in our life. we felt it only appropriate to name you after them.
here are some of mommy's co-workers/friends/nurses at the hospital. everyone was so excited that you were finally here.
mommy changing your diaper right before we left to go home. i was PETRIFIED to take you home. this is one of mommy's ALL-TIME favorite nurses EVER. she gave me more confidence than i ever knew to do with. oh, and we took you home the first week of november, and it was burning hot. i mean, 80-degrees. in november.
clearly, i learned early on that you didn't like hot weather either. that's my boy.
this is my first memory of you at home. i mean, look at you. all wrapped up not doing anything to anyone. just being peaceful little big h.
bless my heart. i think that was the last time i would EVER think of you as peaceful little big h.
we realized around five weeks that you had refluxed. you puked all day, every day. and the crying. oh the crying.
so we took every picture we could of you NOT crying.
you, mommy, daddy, aunt tanna, uncle rick, cousins tyler and april, and grandma and grandpa. grandpa...your other namesake. your first name belongs to him. and so does your heart.
mommy and daddy taking you to get our christmas tree that year.
mommy's two-week check up. seriously...i don't know where we would be without dr. b.
our first family christmas picture.
daddy looking at your first bottle attempt at two months, wondering what in the world was wrong with the bottle. because don't all babies take bottles???? yeah, no. not big h. you never did EVER take a bottle. high five for persistence and determination, dude.
awww...look at you sleeping. we loved it when you slept.
i'll take a moment to be honest here, big h. you were a hard baby. hard. difficult. i started going grey earlier than i had planned because you were not the dream baby i had planned. it was tough to take you places because when you cried, well, you CRIED. i mean, cried.
but from the very first moment, you LOVED your daddy. who wouldn't.
and then daddy and i just started having fun with you. taking pictures of you that we could use at your rehearsal dinner. just really enjoying you and the little ball of character you were.
went to the lake for a change of pace and scenery. more crying. but mama clearly enjoying herself.
i caught you and dad experiencing some really unfortunate fashion mishaps. bless your hearts. clearly dad is excited. you...not so much.
and then you made your first little friend, jeb. you guys still love hanging out.
the day we dedicated you to the Lord.
so let's stop for a minute and see if you're picking up on something. big h, your life is so full of people who love you and who pray for you. God has blessed daddy and me with amazing people who have made our lives so rich. there is no way we could do this parenting thing on our own. your life has already been so impacted by people who will shape you into the man you will become.
like your daddy, for starters. talk about hero.
and your bff. who you've seen every tuesday or friday of your entire life. talk about shaping you.
see how we started just having fun with you?
time spent at grandma and grandpa's bed and breakfast.
who knew after this day that you would grow to not like swimming?
...but love housekeeping?
you and leon, your occupational therapist. you didn't learn to crawl until you were ten and a half months old. leon loved to sing to you, and you loved it so much! we miss leon. oh, and you walked on your eleven month birthday. guess crawling just wasn't your thing.
where mommy eats on her birthday every year.
oh paci, may you rest in peace. (you called it an uh-oh, because when it would fall, you would say, "uh oh." you're smart like that.)
your first plane ride to montana to visit kelly. and the beginning of the ear infection season.
which lead to tubes.
it meant so much to dad to take you to your first oktoberfest.
and such a proud moment for mama to introduce you to shannon, from the first bachelor.
your first birthday invitation.
taking you to mama's alma mater.
your first birthday party.
taking you places was starting to be so much fun for us.
the first day of the "thomas season of life" for you. and who knew your first word other than mama and dada would be "shugga shugga?"
we've always known you were a little quirky.
your first day of mothers' day out. i had no idea how that year would change your life and mine.
and the angels who taught you that year. angels.
your second birthday.
ivan, your behavioral therapist. yeah, your behavioral therapist. you screamed a lot. and you could pitch a mother of a fit. you didn't care for ivan so much, but ivan gave mommy (and daddy) some amazing advice for how to live happily with you. and to really understand the ball of character you were/are.
ashley, your speech therapist. because apparently you're "behind" when you only say mama, dada, and shugga shugga at your second birthday party.
karen, your early intervention specialist. a long fancy title for providing so much moral support to mama for more than a year. i will never know how to thank her for sitting outside with me when it was 108 degrees and talking me through how hard it was to be your mama sometimes.
i mean, we knew you were persisitant. but you c'mon? you picked at that scar for six months. six months.
your buddy stanly, our mailman. seriously, i don't know if he has any idea how much he makes your day.
and bff? week in and week out, she has been a staple in your life. and has been so present for everything.
christmas picture #3
and then we found out you were going to have a brother or sister. and you wanted to be a part of everything. you were so helpful. and we had really started to see some improvements in your speech and behavior. we were getting so eager to see how you would do with someone else in the house.
you were thrilled with her arrival. thrilled!
but you are kind of particular. and you didn't particularly approve of our exit from the hospital.
and thank you, thank you, thank you for making the transition to your big boy bed an easy one. daddy and i appreciate that more than you will ever know.
big h, you continue to be loved on by people. you continue to make friends. you continue to get more and more handsome. you continue to make me smile every day.
your nursery teachers at church, who have gotten to love on you for two and a half years.
your preschool teachers from last year.
c'mon...like i wouldn't include dr. g.
patrick and bitsy and bff and bob. mama's birthday again.
two of your cousins.
one of your teachers this year.
big h, you're four. and i can't believe it. and you know what? after all that we went through during your earlier years, nothing makes me happier than the sweet boy you are turning into. i think God is blessing our patience with such a wonderful reward. you are such an amazing kid. you are thoughtful. you are considerate. you obey others. you love your sister. you love your friends. you love your family. you have the sweetest little voice anyone has ever heard. and you melt my heart every time you want to talk to Jesus. that's why we are here, big h. i can say that i have never been prouder of someone. i love you with all my heart, my soul, my mind, and my strength. you have made me a better person. and for that, i am grateful.
happy birthday, little man. you make my life rich.