A post for my son, Brady.
Your favorite thing lately is to watch old home movies of you when you were a baby. You can watch the same one over and over (which is fortunate as we have so few that we’ve converted from the camera and computer to DVDs). You ask what you were like as a baby, and I smile, thinking back, although I know nostalgia puts a rosier glow on it than I felt at the time. I remember long periods of holding you, staring at you, trying to get to know this new stranger than had already stolen my heart. I recall the tears I cried as I wondered if you had also stolen the life I knew, although I would never tell you that as each sacrifice has brought more than it has taken. Instead, I tell stories of how you would laugh and talk to the bear mobile on your pack and play, and how you had the hiccups every night at the same time just like when you were in utero.
Then you want to know about pregnancy and childbirth, and you laugh at the ridiculousness of how you were literally cut from me, how you were small and naked and weak, and we literally forced you to eat hour by hour through the long dark nights. I share how you first really looked at us as the nurse held you up for us to see moments after you were born, all serious and intense, and I still see that same gaze from time to time on your almost eight-year-old face.
I’ll never forget the look of recognition you gave us once as we came to visit you in the hospital nursery. You had only viewed our face for a few days, but I was certain you knew us. You wonder how you ate in the womb, and I talk about biology and mechanics, but also how we sustained each other in ways physical and messy. You find it interesting that you hated bananas from conception and still won’t eat them to this day, and I think about the ways your preferences have altered me.
Your daddy and I can tell funny stories about the first diaper we changed at home and how you pooped all over the wall. I don’t think you’ll ever tire of hearing that one. I love recounting how you didn’t talk clearly for over two years and how we worried about you, and now we’re often reminding you to let your sister talk and to not talk so loudly (or so much). You go to bed talking, and wake up shouting and singing. Your first favorite phrase was “up-high mah” which you would use repeatedly to ask for snacks from the cabinets above the counter (there was also “door mah” for food from the fridge). When you began talking, you narrated every observance, and then repeated it for each person in the room. You have a gift for writing and telling stories, and I’m always impressed by your ability to talk to anyone.
There’s so much of you that has been there from the beginning. In spite of our attempts to mold you in our expectations, you are Brady, our unique and spirited one. I’m so grateful for that. May you never let anyone (even us) make you into someone you’re not. May you continue to be and become who God created you to be as you were knit together in my womb. May you always inspire me to see the beauty in the unexpected, and delight in surprises as you make your own way and dance to the music within you. I’m so proud of who you are and how you are molding me as your parent.