Yesterday you were asleep in my arms
Today you're growing off the charts
I'm so proud of you
-Frances England "You & Me"
My friend, Sush, who blogs over at First Do No Harm, has introduced me to some of the best kids' music around. Like me, she thinks that young folks can enjoy music that moms and dads love too. Thanks to her, Jay's current favorite song is Yellow Submarine. Well, it's kind of a tie between that and Jimmy Buffett's version of Take me Out to the Ballgame (aka "The Old Ball Song"). But also thanks to her, I've been introduced to Frances England and the song above. I just adore her music, and if you like the indie-guitar-singer-songwriter-happy-lil'-ditty vibe, you might too. Wanna hear a sample? Go to her website and click "You and Me" under "Featured Songs" on the right hand side. It has become my bedtime song of choice to sing to Jay. I really do feel like yesterday he was asleep in my arms, and I am in awe of how he's grown into such a smart little guy.
I now have a THREE year old little boy. Yes, three. I just can't believe you're not my Baby Jay anymore. And I really can't even justify calling you a toddler. You're a big preschooler who speaks your mind and runs and plays and builds things and can read your name and remember things that I'd long forgotten. You're figuring out this big world at an amazing pace. You amaze me.
Let's just forget the heart stuff for a second. Just think - 3 short years ago, you were a helpless newborn who relied on us for everything. Now you're more than 3 feet tall, big enough to get to all sorts of things we've tried to put out of your reach. You're so independent, getting yourself ready for school, serving your own meals, telling us what you want and need. That's a lot of change in a very short time, and it's such a wonderful thing to watch you grow. I'm sure every mom is overwhelmed by the amount of growing up a kid can do in three very short years.
But no one who loves you can forget the heart stuff. When I look back on what you've been through just this year, what your tiny little body has to fight, I have to fight back tears. Multiple rounds of pneumonia. Heart failure that we didn't even recognize. Open heart surgery. You went for a week without your heart beating. You went another with a machine forcing your lungs to breathe. Six weeks in the hospital. Months of recovery, re-learning how to do everything: how to eat, how to walk, how to communicate, how to hold a toy hammer. (While eating, walking and talking were the keys for me, remembering how to hold your hammer was pretty much your first priority during those days.)
How do I reconcile that image with the perfectly healthy little boy who appears in front of me right now? I see you shoveling in your sandbox, or doing your funny robot dance, or playing with your friends at your party (more to come on the party soon!) and I just cannot comprehend that you've been through anything out of the ordinary. That there were days when we simply prayed for you to live. In so many ways, you're just a three year old who knows no other way of life. But in my eyes, you're a miracle. How do I remember that part of your history - those awful, heartbreaking weeks of fear - and still be fully present to appreciate every moment of now?
How do I do that? I don't. I don't get it, so I quit trying. I don't understand how you could have been so sick, and have been returned to me so perfect in every way. I've tried, and I simply can't understand a miracle which can't be explained. I don't understand why miracles happen sometimes. And I really don't get why sometimes they don't. I have a mustard seed's worth of faith, and I do a lot of being thankful. Someday, you'll grow up and have questions about how and why the world works the way it does. And you'll probably face your own struggles to understand why bad things happen. If you come up with a good answer, I hope I'll still be around for you to teach me.
If you don't have an answer, that's okay too. The less time I spend philosophizing on that stuff, the more time I get to enjoy your robot dance. And maybe that's the point.
Happy birthday, baby. We love you more than you can know.