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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Happy Birthday, Deal!


Three years ago today, we welcomed you into our family, Deal. You completed us, making us a family of four. Somehow that has a better ring to it than a family of three. We were fulfilled but not complete without you. Bird has a little brother now. He, like us, cannot remember life without you.

Labor was ridiculously fast and easy for me. I even took a nap and awoke to a nurse telling me to start pushing. Three pushes and there you were, just 20 minutes and a damn good anesthesiologist later. You were squirming and whimpering, not writhing and crying. As if the bright lights and murmur of the equipment were no surprise to you. As if you expected to see your daddy in your face with a camera poised to capture the moment.

You grasped my finger immediately, bringing me to tears. Then you looked at me knowingly. You were calm and secure, our breath catching the same pace, our hearts beating together to the same cadence. We absorbed each other in that moment. Time halted. I almost expected you to say, "So you're the chatty one I've been listening to all these months! Nice to meet you, Mommy!" The truth is, we didn't meet for the first time that morning.

We knew each other all along.

Mac Daddy and I didn't know if we were having a boy or a girl. Not knowing the gender of your baby is life's greatest surprise. I would never find out ahead of time, even if I had 10 kids (um, which I won't, I assure you). The surprise was a delight, and you surprised us all because all bets were that you'd be a girl. Incidentally, you'd be Audrey Beth if you had been. Audrey for my idol, Audrey Hepburn. Beth for Mac Daddy's sister who was killed in a motorcycle accident in 2001. Alas, you were named for the word "blue" in my native language and given your Opa's middle name. We joke that you were born blue in a red state.

You have always been an easy kid, Deal. Your temperament is much like Mac Daddy's, making you less volatile and antsy than your big brother. You are predictable and relish a routine. You are quick to give smiles and hugs, warming hearts around you. You still grasp my finger like you did the moment you were born when you are tired, scared, or just a tad unsure of your surroundings.

Sometimes Mac Daddy puts you to bed when I play tennis at night. When you scamper into our room the next morning, the very first thing you say is, "Did you have fun at tennis, Mommy?" Always thinking about others. That's who you are. You also tell me that you'll protect me from snakes because you know they terrify me. When you sense that I am irritated or frustrated, you ask, "Are you happy with me, Mommy?" Who can answer no to that? Your sweetness keeps you out of trouble, simply because your daddy and I are suckers for your darling little voice and giant grin.

Not that those lungs aren't capable of some serious whining fits and temper tantrums. Oh, we saw them full blown today. You got away with a lot on this, your birthday. Don't expect the same lenience tomorrow, dude.

Before you had teeth to fill in the gummy space in your mouth, your smile was enormous. We called it a bug catcher smile. You crack up at that now. You love to hear stories of when you were a baby. You think you are still a baby simply because you suck your thumb (though never at school) and carry around your teddy bear named Beary. Some time between 2 1/2 and 3 you gave up your blankie, replacing it with Beary. You would rather play with Hotwheels and firetrucks than anything else. Every morning your parting words to Mac Daddy are "Will you play cars with me for one minute, Daddy?' You say this while holding up one finger. Daddy plays with you every single morning, no matter how late he'll be for work. You won't sit still to watch more than 10 minutes of TV, and you are a royal pain in a movie theater. We hold hands and dance to bad music together. Sometimes I lift you up to dance cheek to cheek, knowing that you'll soon tower over me, making it impossible to do so.

In the wee hours when I cannot sleep, I simply stroke your forehead and gaze at you. You fill me with emotions I don't have words to describe. Seeing you and your brother humble me. I am lucky that you are mine and that you chose us to be your family. My goal is to make sure you know the depth of my love every single day. Even when you and Bird make me crazy, know that I love you more than anyone else on this planet ever will. Get over it, future daughters-in-law.

Deal, you are an extraordinary little boy. You aim to please and truly take pleasure in other's happiness. You cuddle, hug, kiss, and nuzzle better than any golden retriever known to man. Your manners are impeccable, and you love to regale those around you with stories of race car drivers, knights, super heroes, and princesses. You always make me a princess in your stories. Know that you will always be my prince.

I love you to the moon and back again.
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3 comments:

gphd said...

I hope that Deal will have many more happy birthdays!

Caroline said...

Beautifully written. I hope he reads this someday. Happy Birthday, Deal!

Shannon said...

What a wonderful post, I'm so glad he had a great birthday!! Sounds like a beautiful little boy!