When you were a baby, I dreamed what it was going to be like to be the mother of a little boy.
It is different. It is mostly even better than what I dreamed. But there are days…
Some days I wonder what happened to me. I wonder how I became this person that I am…this mother that is not even close to perfect. In my dreams, I was always perfect.
Being your mom is also louder than it was in my dreams. I never dreamed the loud part.
I never dreamed about how magical you would be, either. It is curious, being the mother of a boy like you, and knowing that you can be covered in dirt, blood and sweat and at the same time be so beautiful and so charming and so utterly perfect.
It catches me at odd moments, how stunning I find you to be. Just a whiff of your hair, or a glance at you, the sun catching on your shoulders. The softness in your eyes, the line of your neck, your pink cheeks and your eyelashes. Or your voice — your scratchy, tired voice. You have no idea how I look at you with this bittersweet mix of joy and sorrow. Joy that you are mine; sorrow at how quickly the time is passing.
Some days, with both horror and absolute unfettered joy I observe you. Like when you drink from a hose, or wipe your mud-caked hands on your clothes. Or when you eat with the same hands that you have used to dig for worms or catch frogs. So gross. So perfectly, beautifully gross.
You do that to me, little Bill. You make me all messed up inside.
You confuse me, you anger me, you make my heart burn with pride. You make me laugh, you make me content and thankful, you make me cry. You make me worry. You stir something in me with those dirty little hands and muddy feet of yours. You bring war to me, and then 30 minutes later you surrender with a handwritten apology letter. I cannot stay mad at you for long.
You are strength and weakness. You are longing, and you are contentment. You are drive and determination and triumph, and yet, you are listlessness. You are intensity. You are lack of focus. You are disagreeable, and then pleasing only moments later. You are a puzzle that I am still trying to figure out.
However confused I may be by you, one thing is certain…I love you fiercely, William. With all my heart, from the very first moment I saw you, until the end of my days, I will love you.
Happy eleventh birthday,