Bug turned 9 last week. I think this picture speaks volumes about him. He’s a joyous kid who loves new experiences, learning, and exploring the world. He’s my partner in crime, always up for whatever crazy scheme I come up with (as long as it doesn’t involve heights!).
October was also my 10th wedding anniversary. If you do the math, it’s pretty obvious that I had a busy year (just over a year, technically). We got married at the beginning of October, bought a house in December, and found out we were pregnant in February. I left my full time office job in June (inspired in part by Bug’s at-risk pregnancy) and set out as a freelancer. I don’t think I was ready for a single thing that year brought forth, but I suppose life is like that sometimes.
When I found out I was pregnant with a boy, I cried. I blame some of it on hormones, and some on the relief that he was still there, heart flickering on the ultrasound monitor, after weeks of heavy bleeding. But if I’m being honest, the biggest reason was that I wanted a girl. I have 5 sisters, and at the time I had 4 nieces. Nary a boy in sight. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with a boy. My disappointment, if you can call it that, was short-lived, just a moment in time when my already emotional mind was caught by surprise.
Surprise or not, there wasn’t a single moment I didn’t adore this little boy. I’ve talked about it before, but the uncertainty of his pregnancy bonded us in ways I can’t explain and couldn’t have dreamed of. And, like I’m sure most mothers would say of their first-born, he changed me forever.
I always get a bit annoyed when people say they aren’t finding out the gender of their baby because they want to be surprised. Like it’s not a surprise if you find out earlier. And like there aren’t a whole host of other surprises that await you once your baby is born. Like how his forehead looks like his fathers, or his eyes or nose mirror your own. How you fiercely love him and want to protect him, but also how you willingly do things you’d never imagined… like reading the same book ten times in a row, cleaning up more bodily fluids than you’d even seen previously, and talking incessantly to a person who can’t yet talk back. He’s only 9, but I can say with some certainty that parenting is a lifetime of surprises, for better or worse.
Now, as Bug is getting older and settling more and more into the person he will be for the rest of his life – his own person, unique from me and his father – I’m surprised by something else. I’m realizing how much I like him as a human being, how much he teaches me, and how much fun he is to be around. And, while I can’t take all of the credit, there’s a certain amount of pride I have for being able to give this wonderful person to the world. I know he makes it a better place.
This year as I was assembling his birthday gift scavenger hint, I had a familiar feeling. It started the day we walked out of the hospital with Bug after he was born – it’s a feeling like we got one over on someone. Why would anyone let us leave the hospital with such a precious little being? Didn’t they KNOW that we had no idea what we were doing? How were we ever going to raise him to be a kind, caring person? But now I know better. As much as he was placed into our care, we were placed into his. And for every lesson we have passed along, we have learned just as much, if not more in return. All the while we thought we were shaping him, he was shaping us into the people we are today. And for all of the many gifts we have given him throughout the years, he has given us the very best one of all in sharing himself.
Happy birthday to my Bug!