Five whole years.
I always pictured myself as a mother. Always. What I never expected was that each year would surprise me so. When you were tiny, a blue bundle with your milky breath and your gaping rooty mouth, it seemed like you would never be big. I realized last night as I looked into your marbley blue eyes, it seems like you were never little.
The first night of your life you spent away from me. Your dad and I slept in the hospital room I’d been put in, and you stayed in the nursery. The nurses would bring you to me now and then to be fed, and then they’d take you away again. Except once they didn’t. I sat, half-upright and in huge pain, as you curled yourself into a ball in the crook of my arm. I was afraid to move, afraid to wake you, afraid I’d drop you. You stretched, yawned, and then started to choke. I eventually woke your dad by throwing a bottle of water at his head, and after you were gone I sat and sobbed. I was no good at this mother thing already, I was failing the first night.
But you survived. You read books, you sing, you talk, you press computer buttons and make Mario jump like you were never a tiny wad of blue blankets, a little slikyhaired toddler with white nubuck Easter shoes and a sailboat sweater, or a pale little body in an ambulance. You don’t stop. You’ve gone to theatre camp this week, and you’ve loved it. You’ve loved not being confined to a chair or a classroom and being able to move and talk.
That’s what I want for your life.
I never want you to feel supressed, trapped, or held down. It would be a disservice. I want you to move, to sing, to be all that you think you just might want to try being. You are absolutely you, and you want everyone to know that they are the best at being just who they are. Your heart is so full of love, and you are so full of life. I never thought I would be so lucky to know someone like you, much less be their mother.
Happy birthday, man. I’m prouder of you than you will ever know. One of the claims to fame I will always have, no matter what happens, is that I’m Max Marsh’s mom.