I became a change-ed person some 11 years ago, yesterday. My world was flipped upside down, tossed about, turned side ways and then rearranged into a proper perspective.
That was the day my boy was born.
All my expectations of what it was to be a parent were ridiculously off. First of all, there was no pleasure like holding my silver-eyed star. There was no exhaustion like meeting his needs at all hours of the day. There was no frustration like hours of crying (from both of us). There was no joy like his first smile, first laugh, first pat on my back. My life, previously focused on the me, suddenly became focused on the he.
His first birthday, a big shin-dig with cousins and aunts and uncles and friends - was a celebration of survival (IE we were both still alive).
His second, third and fourth birthdays were a blur and somewhere in between he went from babe to boy; brown eyed now with delicious chubby cheeks, a reckless smile and easy manner. He was the easiest kid, perfectly content to just sit and play all alone with hugs for sustenance.
His fifth birthday marked transition, time for kindergarten. I did not cry on his first day of school (nor any first day) because, in part, I'd already surrendered him at 1 when I went back to work. But, the day was still bittersweet. Five years old will forever look like an over sized back pack.
Six came and went, flying by like sweet wind. Seven brought Carly with it and big brother status. Then eight pranced in, followed by a quick nine.
10 was perhaps worst of all, double digits and a farewell to 'childhood'. Truly now a 'tween, not grown up but neither small.
And suddenly, here we are at 11.
I can't say it's been a smooth journey, in fact there have been bigger bumps than I ever imagined. The challenges, though, are so much smaller than the joy. I'm afraid of what the future holds, a parting of paths eventually as he grows into his own person and chooses his own way. I'm also excited for the possibilities that are spread out before him like a great feast. I'm hopeful that he will stay this sweet and gentle soul, that the harsh world won't damage him, that he'll find some girl who loves the softness of his spirit and that he'll spend the rest of his life loving her back.
I also hope that doesn't happen for a really long time.
It is appropriate that last night the stars were falling from the sky. We sat under the chilly summer sky together, watching them streak and spin, and it reminded me of the day he came to stay - a glimmering star fallen to earth, sharing his light with us for a while.
Happy birthday, baby boy, don't grow up too fast.