Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy 5th Birthday, Andrew

Andrew.  Just writing that name conjures up all this emotion…a twist in my heart, an almost painful affection.  You have captured my mothering spirit in such a way, I can’t even describe it.  Happy 5th Birthday, My Andrew.

You are a child of such intensity – such passion – such fire in your heart.  I am grateful for your spirit.  What you’re going to become.  The way you’re going to brush aside the boundaries of your life. Or knock them down with machetes, more accurately.

Yes, there are moments…days even…when I wish I could push a button that slows you down.  Makes you stop jumping or touching or doing.  I fear sometimes that those moments will be the ones you remember.  That you will think back on your mother with hands on your shoulders saying exasperatedly: “Please…stop…jumping.” 

I spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to be your best mother, and I’m not always sure I’m successful at that.  There are so many ways that your Andrewness runs counter to what’s easiest, tidiest, most convenient for a mom. 

But when I think about who I want my children to become…the grown up version…then I am filled with throbbing-joy that I was gifted with such a passionate, curious, active, scary-smart little boy.

You are this particular blend of your dad and of me, in ways that take both of us to the next level. 

You have that warrior-active side from your dad.  Love of being physical, sense of protecting your loved ones, and love for Star Wars, Conan the Barbarian, Terminator.  You want to protect the persons you love, even if right now that means toy swords against imaginary enemies.

But you also got my impulsive love for adventure.  That need to explore just how far you can push a boundary.  You are born to a mother who sneaked into Bosnia on a night-bus, the only woman in a bus filled with men, against the advisement of the American Embassy.  Who paid a man in Turkey $50 to borrow his motorcycle for a day, even though I’d never ridden one, and spent the day riding it along the ocean highway with no helmet…

Am I surprised that my child is now dangling upside down from a banister by a laundry-line rope? 

I have a love/fear mixed together for that side of myself, I suppose.  I cringe at the things I’ve done, the chances I’ve took, in the exact same emotional swirl that I am ever-so-grateful for that side of me.  I’ve done things, seen things, and experienced moments I NEVER would have experienced if I’d had more caution or insecurity.

And now that I am mothering that same blend of adventurous, impulsive spirit…oh my Andrew.  This is part of my mothering journey with you.  Teaching you to do those moments, but to wear the helmet, ride with someone else first.

God, I don’t know. 

I have so much joy about what is ahead in your life, Andrew.  I see that sparkle in your eye…the same sparkle that can overstimulate me at 8pm at night when I just want everyone to go to bed so I can grade papers…it’s the same sparkle that will have you throwing open your life into things beyond what we’ve seen or done.

You are truly an incredible human being.  You inherently love others…talking to everyone, smiling at everyone. The way strangers will gather around you when we’re out.  When we were at the Toyota Dealership the other day getting work done, I was talking to the cashier and then turned around.  I saw three workers circling you and talking about you – not even a specific about you, like your hair or shirt or something – but the essence of you.  I see that too.  There’s this light in you that draws people in. 

You are loved beyond any word I could type here.  There is not a descriptive phrase that could possibly sum up what we feel for you.  The adoration…the amazement…the way you have charmed our hearts. Happy 5th birthday, my boy. 

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