Today is my favorite-in-the-whole-entire-world person’s birthday. It’s this kid.
You know when people say that time stands still? That nothing moves forward and you’re stuck in a moment while the rest of the world holds it breath? That’s what I experienced when Caden was born. There’s the rush of labor, the anticipation, the anxiety, and then suddenly there they are – and your world is never the same. It’s better in so many ways, also louder, but still infinitely more intriguing and colorful and tantalizing and exciting. That’s what Caden is; a million adjectives rolled into one perfect little boy.
There was a problem when he was born. The doctor told me that once he was out they would be whisking him away to suction out his lungs and ensure he didn’t have any infection. For a brief moment I saw him, blue and completely still and quiet, and then he was gone with my two sisters following close at hand. I was woozy from the drugs and my mind started to wander while the doctor and nurse worked to finish me up. The room was undulating, swirling around me, and I couldn’t concentrate on much. About 45 minutes after Caden was born, they brought him back, swaddled up in warm blankets, freshly scrubbed and sticky-eyed from the eyedrops he received.
I remember the nurse holding him and walking towards me and thinking, “Whose baby is that?” I was so lost in a drug induced state I had forgotten what I was doing there at the hospital. And my baby hadn’t been there. It seemed like distant dream, hazy and surreal. Then the nurse handed him to me and my next thought was, “Oh my gosh, what I am supposed to do?!?” But those big eyes of his that overwhelmed his tiny face stared straight up into mine and I was smitten, instantly in love and lost forever to this boy.
And now it’s eight years later. Eight years since he was tiny and small and utterly helpless and so dependent on me it could be frightening at times. Now he’s tall and lean with an impish grin and wanting so often to be independent of me. It frightens me too, but in a different way. I love watching him grow, become the little person he was always meant to be, but I am missing so much the memories of his miniature days. I stare at photographs all the time, trying to absorb the memory from the sheet, bring back into sharper light what seems to grow fainter year by year. Seven days after he was born I was back in school finishing up my Bachelors degree until he was almost 2. Right after his 4th birthday I began working towards my Masters degree until he was almost 6. I have never regretted continuing and completing my education, but I do miss the time away. The ensuing “busy-ness” that consumed my life during that period has somehow drowned out so many memories. Or at the very least just deeply, deeply supressed them.
I haven’t lost all my recollections of days past, of course, but it’s not so easy to just have it come flooding back. Especially when it comes to the first year of his life. So many changes in that first year and I was balancing a baby, work, and school full time. Once I started to realize the fogginess of some of my memories, I began to take more pleasure in his life and started to work on remembering all the little things that Caden experiences, what he goes through (and grows through), and remind myself all the time about how fleeting it can all be.
It’s the blink of an eye, from baby to toddler to child to big kid. And I’ve promised to myself that I will enjoy every moment (well, truthfully, some moments are better enjoyed than others). So today I celebrate his life, his energy, his spirit, his heart, his determination, his competitive nature, his curiousity, and his incessant love.
Happy Birthday, buddy! I love you oh so much.