I took a pregnancy test – the only positive one I’d seen since getting knocked up with your biggest brother – while drinking vodka and smoking a cigarette. I was so certain I was doomed to another month of negative tests, and the test was simply a way of dashing any lingering hopes for that cycle.
When the digital test read the elusive, “PREGNANT,” I’d been chasing, I looked at myself in the mirror and said, “No fucking way.” I simply couldn’t believe that I’d actually managed it. I was finally knocked up.
After getting knocked up while on the pill, I figured another pregnancy was a Sure Thing, and frankly, from the moment I met your brother, I decided that he needed siblings (although not by his father).
When your father proposed to me I said, “Can’t we have some more babies instead?”
(I’m not much of a romantic)
Your dad insisted that no, in fact, we could not just pop out more kids, so he dragged me down that aisle in a while dress, slung a ring on my finger and made me an “honest woman.” I kept my eyes on the prize (more babies!) while month-after-month of negative pregnancy tests taunted me.
By the time I took that one positive test, I’d given up hope of conceiving without outside help. But there you were.
I quickly snuffed out my cigarette and dumped out the vodka I’d been drinking. I was a PREGNANT LADY now.
The nine months that followed were some of the most excruciating I’d had. I barfed until I had nothing left to barf and still I got fat. My ribs spread. I looked like Grimace (but less purple).
By the time March 30, 2007 rolled around, I was four centimeters dialed, and beyond ready to remove you from my body cavity. By force, if necessary. I’d told my doctor that I was going to induce labor in the back of a car – (and I would have) so that I could get you the hell out.
I waddled in to the hospital and a couple of hours later – and a mere three pushes – there you were.
You promptly whizzed all over your father, something I considered appropriate since he’d “had a headache” and slept through your entire labor. The nurse said that you looked like an angel. I thought you looked like a cross between a garden gnome and Elmer Fudd.
I didn’t care.
(I think I yelled “NORD-BERG” after you were born, as a joke.)
What I’d wanted, prayed for my entire pregnancy was to have a child that liked me. Years of being rejected by your older brother had left me feeling pretty shitty about myself, and this time; this time I wanted a baby who loved me.
You know the saying, “be careful what you wish for?” Because that’s exactly what I got. A child that liked me best. A child that liked me so much, in fact, that I couldn’t put him down. Ever.
For a full year, you only had eyes for me. I nursed you while walking through Target, I nursed you to sleep, I got up with you every two hours to nurse you more. You nursed 18 hours a day. Sleep-deprivation took on a whole new meaning.
God forbid anyone attempt to give me respite. It was Alex’s way or the highway. And all roads lead to Mama.
Mama got you back.
At four now, you’re still a Mama’s Boy, under duress you’ve learned to like others as well.
I’ve never met anyone quite like you before, Alex. You bring a whole new meaning to the word, “intense,” because you are so very intense. But that intensity has a streak of sweetness a mile wide, which is how we find your severely passionate quirks charming rather than difficult.
Child of mine, you march to the beat of your own drummer, the kind of drummer who doesn’t give a flying fuck what other people think of them. You wear your cupcake shirt with joyful pride, fluttering around in your Flutter-Bye costume (which is always worn, of course, for all holidays), and I’m certain if anyone questioned it, you’d just give them the hairy eyeball.
You like it, therefore everyone else should, too. If they don’t? Fuck ‘em.
That’s an admirable quality, Alex. Don’t lose that.
Sometimes, I wish I’d been blessed with an imagination as vivid as yours. Your Playmobil Guys go on many adventures, sliding down slides, robbing banks, and other assorted escapades while the rest of us simply watch, stunned. I’ve never been creative like that.
Like your brother before you, The Planets are everything. You mapped out your next Halloween Costume (Saturn) immediately upon returning home from Trick-or-Treating. I’m forever tripping over mini-solar systems you’ve set up around the house, only to be scolded, “Mom, you RUINED NEPTUNE.”
Your sweet streak, well, it knows no bounds. Your preschool teacher is forever praising your behavior with your sister. You treat her with kindness, dignity and respect. You look out for her, gently leading her around and taking care of her. As well you should. Your teacher has never seen anything like it.
I know it won’t always be this way between you three, but I do know this: you three have each other, and someday that will matter. Never stop caring about your siblings. They’re your best allies and someday, I know they’ll repay the favor. Your sister, especially, will kick anyone’s ass for you if need be. I know this because she is like me.
We’ve had a rocky couple of years, you and me, but in the end, we’re better for it.
Remember when things go to shit – even when they’re at their worst – you’ll find inner strength that otherwise, you’d never know you had. In the end (and there is always an end), it’ll all be worth it. Somehow. You may not know precisely why you had to walk through bullshit until much later. When you do, it’ll all make sense.
I’m honored to know you and I’m honored to call you my son. You’ve given me redemption and love at a time when I needed it most. I cannot repay that debt to you. But I will try. You deserve that and so, so much more.
P.S. A Saturn Costume? You sure you don’t want to be a pirate or something?