My third baby has a birthday today. He's a teen and the thing about teens is that the pages long lists that they once offered up to you in anticipation of their special day now comes down to one chicken-scratched item: A PHONE.
I miss the days of him, stomach down on the living room floor as he looked at flyers from ToysRUs while he circled every other glossy photo, with his words magic-markered next to them: "this one for sure" "this one only maybe" "I need this one" "this one but only if you can't find anything else."
He is my third one, and my last one. He still fits around me and next to me, and my arms can surround him without me stretching any of my ligaments. He feels just perfect right now. But I remember thinking that about him when I first held him, and then when he was three, and again when he was five, and every year since then I think the same thing, how he could ever be more perfect.
I was able to find him a birthday card yesterday. Finally. I had gone to two stores looking for a card that said what I felt and was *this close* to torturing him with a hand-made one like I did last year because all the ones that I had seen at the grocery story and the drug store didn't come up to the task of wishing this child the happiest of birthdays: Happy birthday as in happy birth-day. Let's celebrate that you are here, and that you are with us.
Would he get that, what I was trying to tell him -- at this age, could he understand why when I look at him on his birthday I have to stop myself from being all crazy-lady and arms flung out wide looking back at life with him versus life without him and talk much too loud and fast that OMG I ADORE YOU HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HONEY!
I don't think he can yet, at that so very young age. So I don't do that.
I keep my arms loose, semi-normal, at my side, and what I do instead is hug him when I say Happy Birthday. When he starts to step back because the hug has gone on long enough, I whisper to him, "Just a little longer, Auggie, Ok? Just let me hug you a little longer."
Happy birthday, sweet baby. I hope you know what my card today is trying to say. I didn't want a too grown-up serious card because you are still a kid. This card will have to do, even though I wanted to find you one that says how important you are to me.
I wanted one that said, "Thanks for letting me hug you until I'm finished," but this one with the glitter cupcakes that spell out a-w-e-s-o-m-e is pretty cute. And I know that a year isn't enough time to mentally recover from last year's oil pastel creation from your mom.
I love you, Auggie.
Happy birthday, honey.
* * *