It's always on the eve of each next birthday that my heart settles into a low dull ache. Over time. And how fast it falls away. With a decade now watching a string of my cherub faced babies stretch into long limbed versions of the tiny souls I brought home in what feels like yesterday. Unveiling new corners of their being everyday. Getting to know the lessons of the land and the rhythm of their home better and better all the time.
Mine, third born on the night of a big blue moon the papers would note the morning after on the 29th of January, where I had - in this, and only this pregnancy - wholeheartedly been set (and intuitively expecting) our first baby girl. Cravings told me it was so. Intuition helped back it up.
Finding out the sex of our babies was never pressing enough for me to ever really want to budge with any other than my first. So this time, against Mike's wishes, we didn't.
When labor set in after I had just finished cleaning the entire house after getting word from by my Dr. that morning that I was dilated and "significantly" effaced. I waited alone through the morning in familiar anticipation, for the first signs of something big telling me things were in fact moving forward and picking up. Which they did. Quite quickly thereafter so in the last slip of a 5:00 hour I was being admitted, undressed, gowned, and prepped for labor.
And I know it's a popular thing here, in recounting these grand experiences that have come to be known as quintessential "birth stories" - to unwind in long detail the medical steps taken and drugs administered and all the technical aspects of labor that women either come to fully embrace or regret in their post birth recounts on such forums like this, but all I know is that I came in like a flash and fell in love with a handful of kind hearted nurses who calmed me and tended to me like I was their sister or daughter, in a mediocre hospital where I willingly took a long needle in my spine that made an already easy labor a little "easier" so I smiled and laughed through the peaks of those last remaining contractions. Where I was deliriously happy and in that glee welcomed in a small team of understudy nurses to view the birth, along with my friend on training duty, my mom, my sister, and my mother in law who had all been there for the two previous births.
I pushed when they told me and the baby came just as quick as his brothers before him. Except bigger. And blonder. 8lbs, stocky, white haired and wide eyed. A third boy. Who looked nothing like anyone else. Big nosed and homely. With a face that looked too old for a person so new, but equipped with he kind of features I knew instinctively grow into the best looking men we know. I couldn't help but laugh. At that strange fat little face and news of his sex wrecking all I had imagined in those last few months leading up to this hour. No, there wouldn't be doll houses or tea parties to tend to. Dress-up trunks or silver crowns to count on. But within three minutes of him asleep on my chest none of it even mattered. Miraculous wonder of new love blissfully eclipsing all the rest. A baby born is a baby to love.
Six years later he's what I consider our "live wire." Sharp, stubborn, creative, confident, natural born rebel set to beat against the tide. Whichever way it turns. The wild card that keeps a household on it's toes. Sometimes the bully, sometimes the brat. Many times the best big brother a baby boy could ever have dreamed of. Blessed with the gift of song so that even in his most shameful circumstances he comes forth with a way to sing his way out. Where you can't help but think, in the midst of dissolving frustrations, man am I glad he's mine.
Farewell to five, my sweet son.
May all the rest be just as swell.