I remember the day they placed you in my arms. My last little baby bundle. I didn’t know I had enough room or love in my heart for you, but there it was, bursting out, anyway.
From the time you could crawl, you had to fight for attention, for your rights, for floor space. Your brother was only 11 months older than you, and the struggle was endless. Some days I think it still is. And although you’ve had your battle scars, including a twisted ankle before your first birthday – thanks to his SITTING on you rather roughly, you learned to hold your own, and even gain ground.
You were always the one who wasn’t content to sit in the same room, on the same couch with me. You would grab my face and pull it to yourself, making sure I was watching you, actively involved in YOU. You still have my full attention.
When you were a little older, we were always the last ones to leave the church, because you had to hug everyone goodbye – Every. Last. Person. in the building. It’s a good thing we were attending a small church at the time. You just knew that everyone was captivated by what you had to say – what else was more important than listening to you? Bold and fearless, I still admire those traits in you.
In seventeen years, you’ve taught me so much. I guess it all started with the Barney song. You can make friends in half a second, you don’t hold back, and your friends learn quickly what loyalty means. You can calm and cajole any child, and before you know it, they’re smiling, laughing, and behaving as they should. You remind me of the pied piper, with all the neighborhood kids following you around – (in a good way, of course) – we can’t leave the house without your pre-school fan club shouting your name like paparazzi and rushing over for one more squeeze.
You believe in yourself – in your own unique weirdness – and even celebrate it. You still demand attention and people love you for it. You don’t give half of yourself to anything – except maybe cleaning your room.
And you have a way with words.
I watch you with your notebooks, and paper scraps, and I remember what it was like to have a flood of words flowing from my pencil at your age– poems spill from you like rain from a downspout. You get words. You wield them with precision and grace. I am amazed – and so happy that you understand this passion in me.
Somewhere along the way, you learned to dream big – and I can see you going after those dreams in your own indomitable way. You, my beautiful baby, are a force to be reckoned with. It’s such a good thing that you learned how to love – fiercely and without conditions – it softens you just enough to make you irresistible. Someday, that boy will come along and find himself captivated by YOU. I hope he will know what he’s in for!
I am so proud to be your mom, and happy to say I’d choose you as a friend. You amaze me. I hope you have a perfect day, and never forget what a gift you were to me, that morning seventeen years ago. I will always remember.
Happy Birthday, Jericho.
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