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!

68 thoughts on “And Then We Were Three

    1. Yep, I’m currently drafting my letter to my fresh-new one-year-old. I was already mentally composing it when I read this. Once again, AB, you made me tear up while laughing at the same time. Damn, you have a talent, woman. Thanks for inspiring me. 🙂

  1. Happy Birthday to the world’s luckiest middle child. Maybe, with a mom like you, he’ll escape the “Marsha MarshaMarsha” syndrome?

  2. What a wonderful way to start the new year! Makes me feel bad for my mom because I was such an independent baby/toddler and her firstborn. Luckily Mom’s second child adored her as much as your Alex. May you two always have that extra-special connection.

  3. Aw! Haha, my Little Man counts down the microwave too! Instead of “blastoff” it’s “3-2-1 Pizza!!”

    He too spent the first year on a sleep strike, and breastfeeding is something I don’t miss one tiny bit. I’m glad you get to be someone’s favorite person in the world. It’s awe inspiring, terrifying, and amazing medicine.

    Here’s hoping one day we can get the Little Men together for a cross country playdate 🙂

  4. “It’s my heart that beats in your chest, my blood that flows through your veins”…….I really love this line!

    I so totally pray that God gives me good words to do a post like this on the birthday’s of my children.

    Also, my first put me in labor at about 5am and wasn’t born until about 4am the next day. Then she didn’t sleep for the first three months (day or night)….after that she would only sleep at night, but not a wink during the day until she was 12 months old. Now she takes a nap like a champion (She’s almost 5)

    My second, put me in labor at about 4pm and wasn’t born until about 3am…the next day. He………screamed his head off for the first 3 months day and night.

  5. Aunt Becky – my oldest, the boy, is my clone in male form. I swear to God when I look at him it’s like looking in a mirror. And he acts exactly like me. It actually kind of trips me out sometimes … does it ever feel that way for you with Alex? My daughter, however, looks and acts exactly like my husband. So weird that it happened that way.

    Happy Birthday Alex! You are a lucky, lucky kid to have Aunt Becky for a mom!

  6. The perfect blend of sweet and funny! How lovely of your kids to be born at respectable hours. I went into labor with each of my three right around midnight. They did get nicer in the way of length of labor though as it went on.
    Happy Birthday Alex!!

  7. Happy Birthday sweet boy:) I have a lump in my throat but I’m not sure if it’s from reading your moms lovely tribute to you or if it’s from the balls of the dude I put in his rightful place after he cut me off at the gas station this am.
    Either way, I wish you a long, adventure filled life, which I know you will have with your mom at the wheel:)

  8. Happy Birthday Alex! I hope your love for your mom remains this strong for the rest of your life…well, at least until you start dating. Then, you might want to dial it back just a touch.

    Congratulations, Bex, on having a little one who is such an amazing guy!

  9. Happy Birthday to your Alex! My Luke was born 3 years ago, on March 14th at 5:11pm. Sleeping through the night didn’t happen until he was 18 months old. What happened to the babies born in March 2007 around 5pm that made them not sleep? Who knows 🙂 This is a terrific birthday present to your son. He’s a lucky kid to have you as his Mom, his #1 supporter, his heart and blood. Enjoy the day!

  10. Happy Birthday Alex!

    Also, my children called me Ms Sara when they were 3. I blame daycare. I’m not sure what his excuse is, but I’m pretty sure you can put him in a closet (without locking it) if he keeps it up!

  11. Serious comment – What a great mom you must be.
    Silly comment – Oedipus complex in the making? The Daver better watch his back! hahaha

  12. He calls you BECKY? That kills me. Owen will insist time and time again that I have no other name but “mommy.” He will call his dad by his name, but not me. So, of course I find that funny, because we are like the Smother’s Brothers, claiming he likes us best. I win.

    Happy birthday to the little guy; he is lovely, Becky.

  13. You wrote:
    “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.”

    My spectrum son chose me from day one. His first utterance was: “I like you mommy”. All of that, and all at once, in a full sentence (and with a serious face) at around 11 months or so. Shortly afterwards he started using “You are not my friend” with anyone who wasn’t me. He is almost 13 now and I’m glad to report that has learnt some interpersonal skills in the mean time 🙂 Anyway, about 3 months ago he fell out with his dad (we are divorced) over something really inconsequential. Since then he wants absolutely NOTHING to do with his dad. Despite my best efforts I have not been able to convince him to make up with his dad and I just find it so sad. My poor ex is heartbroken. So yes, I think I understand a bit. Even though I’m not on the receiving end. *hugs*

  14. That sweet boy Alex, is one lucky little guy, to have such a super Mama named Becky.

    At least he calls you by your real name. Mea calls me Sarah, ALL. THE. TIME. It’s a game we play, where she’s Sarah, and I’m Sarah, but does she really have to do it at the grocery store? I swear people think I’ve kidnapped her or that I’m the nanny.

  15. Sweet post! Cracks me up that he calls you ‘Becky’…

    My son will turn 3 at the end of May and I tried to train him to call me “Beautiful Mommy” but he only does it when he wants something REALLY REALLY BADLY or has broken some household item….gots to love our boys!

  16. Aww – so sweet. Good luck with the 3 thing though 😛 –

    And follow the instructions on the cupcake box woman!

  17. Happy Birthday, Alex! You are a lucky boy! And you have a lucky mommy, too! My boy is 10 and I am still his favorite person and I swear, there’s nothing better than that! I don’t know how your posts can make me laugh and cry at the same time — you have a gift… Anyway, may you all have a Happy Alex’s 3rd Birthday and eat lots of cupcakes!

  18. As the mom of multiple children on the autism spectrum, I keenly know that rejection you speak of & the overwhelming joy that comes from having a baby come along who WANTS to be held & cuddled & comforted. It is a balm to a wounded heart…. I understand this very well.

    Happy birthday, little Alex. Becky, I’m glad you were blessed with this boy!

  19. Awww, such a lovely post! Happy birthday to your sweet boy. I get the whole “wanting to be chosen above all others” thing. As much as my daughter drives me nuts sometimes because she’s a wee bit clingy (I hear “Up….Uuuuuup” about eleventy-thousand times a day), I mostly love the fact that she wants her mama before and in preference to all others.

    And the calling you “Becky” bit? Hilarious, and if he does take after you, he’s doing it on purpose.

  20. Sooo jealous about your children’s timing. Four out my five were born between the hours of 11:37 p.m. and 1:11 a.m. Thank GOD they were all relatively quick. Except my last — Mr. Big Noggin. When your midwife with 30 years experience exclaims, “WOW! That’s the biggest head we’ve ever delivered!” you wonder if you really want to be THAT record in their practice.

  21. Oh Becky…this is wonderful. “healed in ways you didn’t know you were hurt.” That’s a great feeling. And he is so cute! Happy Birthday to Alex and to you, too, Mom!

  22. Happy birthday, sweet boy! There is nothing in the world like being loved that truly and passionately, is there? You got lucky, Aunt Becky. He’s fantastic.

  23. what an awesome letter. totally awesome. i loved it.

    p.s. i cannot wait for blogher. because i will totally track down and meet awesome people. like aunt becky.

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