Five years ago today, I sat in a delivery room, worried about my yet unborn baby. Worried because I was being induced early. This little baby failed to grow in any significant way for the last month of my pregnancy. The doctors warned me that it could be nothing, or it could be serious.
Henry John was born, perfect and beautiful and tiny. One of the first notable things about him was his red hair. I couldn’t help pulling off that scratchy hat they always put on the babies in the hospital, just to look at his hair, and smell his sweet skin.
This baby grew, and grew and grew. He became a round little cherub with ivory skin and blueberry eyes. And that hair grew into soft, copper curls. And he was beautiful. And he was bright. And he was happy.
When he was two, we found out he couldn’t hear. At night, I would lie down with him in his bed, and sing in his ear, and sign to him, and soak in the warmth of him. Tears ran down my face as I wondered how I would raise him. How I would teach him. Fearful that I would fail him. And my heart would ache with pride and love for him. I wondered what he would be like, this child of mine that did not hear.
Now, three years later, I know this boy.
This boy is a freckle-faced pack of dynamite.
This boy is generous. And helpful, and kind.
He likes to play football, and basketball, and baseball.
This boy is friendly. And funny. He will be the class clown. And I can picture him, in 15 years or so, at a frat party with a lamp shade on his head. Lord help me.
This boy likes to push his brother’s buttons. After all, isn’t that what little brothers do?
He doesn’t always get the words right. And he is often very loud. Especially when his baby sister is asleep.
He is confident. He is always the first one to volunteer to try something new.
He is a born leader.
He can squeal at such a high pitch that it hurts your ears.
Oh, and he has the cutest buns you’ve ever seen.
This boy is so different from the others. But he is also just the same.
And today, he is five. He is five beautiful, strong, wonderful, happy years old.
Happy birthday baby boy. This Mama loves you.