This morning you woke at 3:30.
"Mommy! Mooommmmyyy?" you yelled.
Thankfully your father bolted up to attend to you; he came back after ten minutes or so.
"Is he okay?" I asked sleepily.
"Yeah, he's just awake."
At 5 you yelled out again. This time it was my turn.
"What is it, buddy?" I asked, stumbling in the dark.
"Want to go city," you said. "Want to go airport."
Sweet boy. We've been talking about our upcoming vacation so much, you can't sleep with anticipation.
Then you looked at me. "Mommy put you hair up." Typical. You are very particular about my do, even at 5 AM.
I picked you up from your crib and noticed your PJs were wet. I wrestled with you through a diaper change. (You've been fighting a mean rash, which makes diapering a challenge these days.) Then I picked you up again and we sat down in your chair to rock.
"Were you dreaming, bud? What did you dream about?"
"GiGi go bye-bye," you said. "I miss GiGi."
"It's okay," I tell you. "We'll see her soon."
Within a few minutes, you are snoring. Your thirty-two pound, 36-inch frame is crushing your baby brother or sister, who is wiggling inside my swollen belly.
And in that moment, I think: Thank you.
Thank you, sweet boy, for teaching me what it means to be a mother. For showing me how to put your needs before my own. For opening up my world to another level of joy; one in which I get to experience everything fresh through your eyes. Thank you for being the brilliant, gregarious, charismatic, life force that you are. Thank you for challenging me in new ways each day, forcing me to adapt, expand, grow, and be better. Thank you for teaching me to slow down, to appreciate every solitary minute. I'm aware every waking moment that time is fleeting - you're growing fast and there will come a time when you don't run to me for every boo boo ("Mommy, kiss it! That better now, Mommy.") and you don't stop what you're doing spontaneously and say, "Want to give Mommy hug."
Thank you for the games, the laughs, the tantrums, the frustrations, the daily routine.
Happy birthday, Hendrik. Mommy and Daddy love you so very much.