Dear Alexander Joseph,
Today at the very gentlemanly hour of 5:18, you will turn three years old. I can very much appreciate that all of you were born between the hours of 2:50 and 5:18 PM which means that all of you were very, very thoughtful babies who cared enough about me not to make me stay up all night to push you from my girly bits into the world. What wonderful, lovely babies I have!
I think I must have used up all of my good karma with that particular bit of good fortune, because you, my sweet-yellered faced second son were born…and then never slept again. In fact, for an entire year, you would let no one near you but, well, your mother.
Your love for me was actually kinda charming, short one.
For 12 long months, I got up every 1-3 hours and nursed you to sleep while I hallucinated that the room was rocking (not, you know, the rocking chair that I was on), I lost the ability to feel the left side of my body, and I began to feel like I was sort of a Prisoner of War Breastfeeding. But you, YOU, you to me, you were the only one.
I was over the moon to be a mother for the second time.
It’s hard to explain how it difficult it was for me emotionally to raise an autistic child as my first child. Having not been chosen as His Person made it excruciating to me as I was rejected time and again by him–the person that I’d rearranged my life for. I cannot possibly explain the void that left inside me.
When I got pregnant with you, my only wish for you was that you’d like me best. And I got my wish in spades. You not only liked me best, you rejected all others before me. You worshiped at the alter of your mother and it redeemed me and healed me in ways I didn’t know I was hurt.
My own mother often wondered how I didn’t murder you–not, if you can actually believe it, unkindly–and the only way I could explain it was that I loved you. Simply loved you. And you loved me back. It was the first time in my entire life that anything like that had ever happened to me. You are mine. It was simple and uncomplicated.
Now that you’re not a baby any longer, now that you do accept other people (although, I add -with a touch of pride in my voice- none quite equal your mother) it all makes so much more sense to me. It’s my heart that beats in your chest, my blood that flows through your veins. Your sister may have inherited my fiery streak, but you, my son, you’re all me.
It’s so odd to see myself in someone else, but there you are, laughing happily and dancing as you watching the seconds click down on the microwave, or throwing yourself down on the floor to make other people laugh. Your mother’s son. My Pumpkin King. Numbers are “sooooooo cute,” candy is “tasty,” the Andromeda Galaxy is “awesome” and you’re out of your skin anxious to get to the orchid greenhouse.
I was terrified to bring your sister home from the hospital because I had no idea how you’d react to seeing another baby with Your Mother, but shockingly, you’re pretty fond of her. In fact, I’d be more afraid that she’d stab you.
This year, Alex, you reminded me what a beautiful, wonderful, crazy, mixed-up place the world is and you made me laugh when all I wanted to do was cry. You gave me hope when I had none and your spindly arms gave me more comfort than anything else.
Happy, Happy Birthday, Alex.
P.S. If you don’t stop calling me “Becky” I am going to beat you. WHAT? Stop laughing! I mean it! I will BEAT YOU, BOY!