I was 10 months pregnant and as big as a whale. It was so hot. You were having soccer games inside my belly. I think the other team was winning. I had heartburn and couldn’t sleep, and was desperately trying to get your room ready “in time.” Who knew I’d have a whole extra 10 days to wait.
After 24 long hours of labor, you were born. After they told me I was FINALLY 10-centimeters dilated. The new shift doctor came in and told me you were having trouble, and he’d have to give me a C-section. I laughed at him and told him he had the wrong room; I’d been there for 24 hours, dilated precisely the right amount, and you were coming out the “right” way. You didn’t. You came out the way you were meant to—wrinkled and purple and angry. We introduced you to your family and took you home.
You crawled, then walked. You ate and ate and ate. You talked. You sang the ABCs. You counted to 10 for the first time. You were sick. And then again. And then some more. You needed ear tubes. We got them. You were asthmatic. We got you medication. And then you didn’t get sick as often.
Your sister was born. I think you wanted me to send her back at first. Some days, I think you still do. You taught her to run and jump and play. And she did it just to keep up with you. You’re the best of friends and the worst of enemies. I worry about the boys in her future—because they’ll have to be good enough for you.
We went to toddler gymnastics. And soccer. And swimming lessons. Then pee-wee T-ball. You ran and you jumped and you kicked and you swam and you played. You went to school for the first time. You told me that you liked your new teacher and you were having a good time with your friends. You lost your two front teeth and still had an amazing smile.
You were having trouble in school. You had plenty of friends and were happy, but were struggling with reading. I didn’t know how to help. I was worried. I found a good doctor. We were told that dysgraphia is more common in left-handed kids. They gave us a road map to help you. We got you a tutor, an occupational therapist and a physiotherapist, and made sure that the school supported you.
I caught you reading a novel after bedtime. I found a book under your pillow with a flashlight. I wasn’t even mad. I secretly did a little dance in your room. School still isn’t your favorite thing to do, but you don’t resist or complain when I ask you to do extra work. You’ve seen that progress is in your hands and you are thriving. The Cs and Ds have been replaced by Bs. You are growing and you are making me proud.
Today, you turn 10. How did that happen? You were just born!
I must have blinked.