*Note... I came across this old post tonight, and it is particularly meaningful to me now. Pulling it back to the top, simply because I love it so much and because it wasn't possible for me to know at the time... just how much it would matter.
Twelve years ago today, I woke up in the middle of the night and knew. He was my third child but this time was different. I had a feeling this would be my last time experiencing this myriad range of feelings and despite a terrible case of the flu, I struggled to hold onto the moments...every precious one. This child would be my baby. Always. The youngest, most vulnerable member of our family. The one we'd all strive to cherish and protect. And like his brothers, he was anxious to come into the world way too soon. Instead of facing down, he was facing up, backbone to my backbone. It was a pain I remember vividly, and yet it was somehow symbolic of our relationship today. I had no way of knowing it at the time. But I know it now. I've got his back, and he's got mine. That will never change, as long as we both have breath in our lungs and I'd take that pain on again, any day, any time, without question.
I love the way my little boy pauses to read his birthday cards. The way he treats words like gifts of great value, the same way I do. The way he pauses for most things.... to soak them in and savor them and not allow them to pass too quickly. The way he saves the things that are meaningful to him and holds them dear. He sees value where many never consider it. Where I often haven't even considered it.
I am proud of the way he truly sees others, with kindness, and compassion and empathy. How he can have a conversation with a Marine who lost his leg in Vietnam, hand over the last of his spending money because he cared about what happened to these men, and how he treasures the small coin and tiny rose given to him because a bunch of Marines saw something in him too. How he brought tears to their eyes, the way he frequently brings them to mine.
I love his sense of drama and how a pout can turn into a full out fuss, how rarely it makes me completely angry, how it instead makes me smile and want to gather him up, and squeeze the heck out of him. I reeeeeally love the way I know he is slightly smiling underneath, enjoying a good funk like his mother does. How he somehow understands instinctively, that these are yet more moments to completely revel in.
I love the way his eyes sparkle and the way people tell him he resembles a Precious Moments doll (He hates that! but it is a mother's prerogative to love it.:)) I like how his eyes look big and sweet and how they turn down slightly at the corners and always seem to house a bit of mischief. And I adore those four perfect freckles in the shape of a rectangle on the left side of his face.
I love the way he loves his brother, even when it isn't easy. How he fights with him one minute, and moves over to make room for him in the next. I love listening to them talk at night, after everyone's gone to bed, and the hum of their voices comes through the walls.
I love his relationship with his dad. How he trusts him in a way he doesn't trust anyone else. How easy they are with each other and how clearly they resemble each other in posture, in personality, in heart.
I'm crazy about the way he looks up and listens to something that interests him... giving it his full attention even when moments before, he was deeply engrossed in building something and his mind was totally elsewhere.
I love the way, when I say "Hey Eric!" he looks right up and says... "Yeah, mom?" And when all I do is smile and point the camera at him, he tosses the smile right back at me. How sunshine seems so much brighter when he is in my line of vision. How I breathe deeper when he's looking at me. I love how he actually has a plan when he sets out to do something. How different that is from me. I love how his hair sticks up in the back and how his glasses make him look so studious. And I love how the color orange just suits him so perfectly.
I love how he puts up with the antics of his 17 year old brother, always grinning and bearing it. I told him there will come a day when he will pin his brother and I will be there to laugh. I love how the thought of that makes him giggle. I love how easy his smile is. How he comes by it naturally and it never looks posed. How he always seems to be looking past the camera, at his mama. And how somehow I am lucky enough to be the recipient of that genuine heart, shining out through his eyes. I love vacationing with him. His joy just spills out all over the place. And I love how he loves being with his family.
I love how he shares my passion for all things artistic. How when I picture his future, I see him doing something perfectly creative and satisfying, and doing it with abandon. And I love how while he is doing it, his sweatshirt will likely be falling off one shoulder.:)
I love how he finds wonder in the smallest and most seemingly insignificant things.
And I love knowing that as long as this child is alive... he is mine to celebrate, every single perfectly ordinary day.