Thursday, April 05, 2007

Happy 3rd Birthday, Matthew!

To my baby, my big boy, my Love Bug who turns 3 today,

I can hardly believe it when I tell people that you are three. It seems so young and so old, all at the same time.

Three years ago today you were born.

You were such a surprise to me. I was lucky. I found out that I was pregnant with you when I was already three months along. I had no morning sickness. I didn’t fight for years to conceive. You were a surprise and a blessing.

Stupidly, since my pregnancy was so easy I thought that actually having a baby would be easy too. From the moment I went into labour I learned that I was sadly mistaken. You were born a couple of weeks early. I hadn’t even gone on maternity leave yet. In fact, when I was in the early stages of labour I was on the phone with my boss, going through notes for a meeting the next day. As I was discussing the location of files he was convincing me that I would probably want an epidural. I was in complete denial about what was to come.

Your birth almost killed us. Literally. I don’t like to talk about your birth story. For me it’s very sad. I thought birth would be a breeze. I thought you would come out and I’d love you to bits and life would be roses. I assured everyone that we’d be home a couple of hours after you were born.

I was totally wrong.

Your birth was traumatic for both of us. I only saw you for a minute. And then they took you away. We were both injured. You slept in an incubator. More accurately, you screamed in an incubator while I laid in my room a little dazed. We didn’t see each other for hours. And, when we did we didn’t bond. You wouldn’t stop crying. I didn’t know how to react.

I was terrified. I’d just given birth to a child who didn’t even like me.

Now I know I was wrong. That realization took me awhile.

We were in the hospital for a few days. We came home on Good Friday. I was so grateful that it was a holiday because it meant that your dad couldn’t go to work. It meant that I wouldn’t be alone with you. You scared me. You cried all the time. You were starving but didn’t nurse well. And I was in so much pain.

My whole life I’ve been so confident in myself. Maybe even a little cocky. You took me down a notch. You taught me that sometimes I can’t do it all. You taught me not to give up.

Our first year was a little rocky. We both cried a LOT. I have a calendar of your first year. Looking back, the entry that amazes me the most is the one when you are about 3 months old and I wrote “I made it through today without crying once.” That, Love Bug, was a turning point for me. That day I realized that I could survive motherhood.

As you have gotten older I’ve learned this more and more. When you were 15 months old I went back to work. I thought you would hate me. Instead I learned how much you loved me. When you first started daycare I didn’t want to pick you up – I made Daddy do that – because I was afraid that I would see you sad – or that I’d see you happier than you were around me. I was totally wrong. Picking you up became the highlight of my days. When you saw me you would come running to my arms. You’ve never stopped that. I can’t tell you how amazing it is to have a child look so thrilled to see you. It amazes me how you are never angry that I leave you. You’re an amazing person. You are so happy. You are happy to be with your friends all day, and you’re happy to get home.

Something that has defined you since birth is your strong will. You are a child with determination. When you’re happy we all know it. When you’re angry we know that too. When I take you to gymnastics classes it amazes me how much you stand out from the crowd. Some of the kids do things because their parents make them. You don’t. If you don’t want to walk on the balance beam no one in the world is going to make you – not mommy, not your coach, not any of the other kids in your class. Sometimes that frustrates me. It’s hard to have a child with such a strong will. But, I know that this will is going to get you far in life. I know that you will not be pushed around. I hope this is a characteristic that defines you as you grow up. I know we’ll struggle with it, but I want to encourage it also.

Something else that defines you is your beautiful, beautiful personality. You love shines through everything. I love how you always give extra kisses and extra cuddles. I love the huge smile that you give me when I get home from work. I love how you can be so angry one moment and then the next so loving.

You constantly amaze me with your humour. I love how you are learning jokes. I love how you say silly things just because you know they are silly. I love how you can convince me to buy you a banana split for lunch. Your smile lights up our lives.

Guess what, Love Bug?! We made it through the “terrible twos”. But you know what? I’ve loved them. I’ve loved spending the last year watching you learn and grow. There have been a lot of ups and downs. Some of the downs I could have lived without. The bus temper tantrums almost did me in. When you went through that biting stage – and I was afraid you’d grow up to be a bully – that really sucked. But, so much more of it delighted me. I loved taking the McDonald’s bus with you. I love going on train rides with you. I loved visiting the CNE with you and running through the sprinklers.

But, most of all I enjoyed getting to know you. I could never have imagined loving someone so much. I never thought that I’d wake up every day to a little boy who wants “just 2 more minutes” of cuddles. I never expected that I’d have a child who could see me sad and say “Mommy, you need a kiss and a hug.”

Three years ago you scared me. I couldn’t really imagine how I was going to handle being a mom. I had no idea who this little being was who had just entered our lives. I knew I loved you – that was never in question. I just never knew just how much love I was capable of. Thank you for loving me and letting me learn and grow along with you. I love you more than you will ever know or imagine.

Happy 3rd Birthday, Matthew Thorin Wayne!!!



Ruthie said...

What a sweet, sweet post! Motherhood is powerful, isn't it?

He was such a tiny, adorable newborn... and such a handsome young man now.

Happy birthday Matthew!

SciFi Dad said...

Great post Laural. Very honest and open.

Multi-tasking Mommy said...

Wow! What an amazing post. I find a bit of comfort when I read birth experiences like that, it isn't all happy and roses in the moment and it is important to come to terms with that--sounds like you have!
Happy Birthday to Matty! I hope you guys had a great day together.

Leece said...

Pass the kleenex! holy. You have just given your 'love bug' the most amazing gift...that post is the best thing he received on his 3rd birthday - he just doesn't know it yet....but he will!

Anonymous said...

That was absolutely beautiful Laural! Matthew is very lucky to have a mom like you! :)