A Letter to My Son on His 5th Birthday

Dear Charlie,

I did not think we would get here. By “we,” I mean your dad and me and by “here,” I mean a place where we get to call ourselves your mom and dad. We didn’t think we’d get to be parents at all.

Birthday #1

It took us a long time to get you. But in case you’re wondering, you are SO worth it. You make every minute of life livelier even though you scared us a lot when you were little and in the hospital. You even scared us before you were born. You basically ordered mommy to lie down for a while before you came rushing in ten weeks early. You wanted to be out and about. You came on the Ides of March too, something your English teaching mommy can appreciate. You only brought good omens though. You made a dark day bright, which seems to be your superpower.

Birthday #2

It took us a long time to get you home. It turns out the NICU is a hard place to leave. But you worked so very hard. You fought to eat and breathe and live with cords snaking in and out of you. Thank you for telling us how tired you were and helping us make the decision to let you have that tracheotomy that brought you easy air and freedom. My little trach baby. And I’m sorry I made you fight to eat for six months before we got the g-tube that turned mealtime into playtime and ended the war with the bottle. I’m sorry we can’t get those thousands of hours back. I’m sorry if you saw me cry. But I’m glad you once again showed me what I needed to do to be a good mom. I’m a work in progress.

Birthday #3

You are my sunshine boy. You are my somewhere over the rainbow. You are the one to laugh the biggest laugh and blow the best kisses and give the longest hugs like you wish you could just nestle in for the day. Thank you for the boy you are turning into. Thank you for wheeling yourself in your wheelchair and finding the independence your dad and I have prayed for. Thank you for working harder than I ever could at swim and equine and physical and feeding and speech therapy. There are deep changes afoot in you my son. Thank you for loving books and music more than movies. You are your mother’s son. Thank you for dancing in the car and flirting with every grown up that passes by. Thank you for drawing others out of themselves to see that different is good and you are amazing. You cast a light that brightens the path of everyone you meet.

Birthday #4

My wish for you, my son, on this most auspicious day is that you may serve God and love him and that you will help everyone who meets you do this same. You are a kid-sized blessing. I wish that you may find happiness and freedom and that school will bring knowledge and friends. I wish that you may always feel the love that your dad and I and your brother and sister have for you. It’s so big, my son, that love…so bottomless you can’t imagine. We will always have your back. I wish, as the years go by, that you will not miss a single opportunity to ride roller coasters and play sports and use your voice to let others know how smart you are. I wish for you all the things that every mother wishes for her son. Because you are my sunshine boy. You are my miracle. You are the one who made me a mother and for that I will forever be grateful.

Now blow out your candles and make your own wishes and I will pray they all come true.

Love you forever,

~Mommy

My birthday boy.

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