Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dear Damien

To my precious son on his 6th birthday,

I feel like crying. That's probably not a great way to start a love letter to my child, but nevertheless, I feel like crying. It's been six years since the day I first held you in my arms, first heard your cries and felt your tiny heart beat against mine. You were the embodiment of love. I couldn't stop staring at your perfect face. All the pain of the past weeks was forgotten; the days of labor, the surgery I just experienced, gone. Nothing else existed except you. My firstborn, changer of lives, bringer of joy. Damien James.

When I first learned you were coming, I was scared. I didn't know what I had to offer a child or how we'd make things work. Then, just as I was about to become a mother, I lost mine. Your grandma died and I couldn't handle it. I was a little crazy those first few months of pregnancy, but your Daddy helped me through it. It wasn't long before I could feel you kicking me. I started to get excited and began dreaming of our life together, of what you would be like. I married your Daddy and we moved into our first house, the same house we live in now, six years later.

As your arrival drew closer, I think you decided that my sciatic nerve was a good place to hang out. Even then you were trolling Mommy. I was in so much pain I could barely move. I spent much of my time laying in bed, thinking about you, feeling you kick and move. When the midwife told me she was going to induce me, I was ecstatic. Not only would it be an end to the pain, but I would finally get to meet my son. I expected to check in at the hospital, "get induced" (whatever that meant) and be holding you in my arms a few hours later. Alas, it was not meant to be. You weren't really interested in joining us no matter how hard we tried to get you out. Finally, 3 days later during an emergency surgery at 11:30pm on January 31, you entered the world. I remember turning my head to try and catch a glimpse of you as they took you to the side of the room to be cleaned up. I remember tears streaming down my face as I heard you scream. I remember them laying you in my arms for a few, too few, moments before they took you away. You were perfect.

It seemed like hours before I saw you again. Finally, they brought you back to me after my surgery was all done. It felt like you were made to fit perfectly in my arms. After 3 more days, they let us go home. Your Daddy and I felt like we were getting away with something devious. We couldn't believe they were going to just let us walk out of the hospital with you. We felt like someone was going to catch up to us and tell us there was a mistake. We had no idea how to be a Mommy or a Daddy. We yelled at everyone who got too close to our little brown car when we drove. I'd lay on the couch and just stare at you when we were watching TV. You changed our lives.

I can't believe what a little man you are turning into. You are funny and smart, sensitive and kind. You are going to be an amazing man one day, Damien. I can't begin to tell you how proud I am of you. My wish for you is that you find something that you are passionate about and put your whole heart into it. I want you to learn what integrity looks like and strive for it. I want you to be a beacon to those around you, a shining light of love and kindness. I want you to know what compassion and humility feel like and to embrace them.

You have so much life ahead of you, Damien. You will do so many amazing things. You will probably play innumerable practical jokes on me because you think you're hilarious when you lock me out of the car....again. I can't wait to share your life. I can't wait to see who you will become. But I also want to hold on to you so tightly because I miss that little baby I cradled to my chest and I miss that little boy who finally learned to walk and then had to run everywhere because running was just so awesome. I'm going to miss the little boy who wants to play Minecraft together and tell me all the newest things he learned from the Youtube tutorials that he can't get enough of. These moments are so precious, Damien, and I want to cling to each one and never let them go because every moment brings me one moment closer to the day I have to let you go.

I love you so much, Damien. You are not just a light in my life, you are my sunshine. Happy Birthday, baby.


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