Dear Alex,

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.”

Sorry, kidlet.


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.


Love Always,


P.S. A Saturn Costume? You sure you don’t want to be a pirate or something?


79 thoughts on “And Now You Are Four.

  1. Very sweet!
    Have you pointed out that if he is Saturn the rings might get in the way of holding the loot bag, i mean the trick-or-treat bag?

  2. Man i wish i had a blog when my babies were little. Having said that, cuz i didn’t, this was awesome and beautiful and it kinda made me wish i still had little kids so i could remember some nice shit to say about my children.

    Hmmm…that’s pretty much it. I’m still waiting for that phone call on my brilliant idea BTW

  3. YAY!! ALex pics! That third pic is just stunning!!! Alex sounds like a kid I’d want to have over to play with my kid. Play date? 😉

    Happy birthday sweet Alex.

  4. well shit. now I am all crying at work.

    they grow up? why did no one tell me this?

    And holy moly does he have your eyes…right from the start.

    sigh…happy birthday, alex.

    and happy BIRTH day, momma.

  5. God. He is seriously the cutest little man EVER. Those eyes. That hair. Those sweet cheeks.

    He is exactly what you wanted and needed. He saved you.

  6. Awwww – so sweet. I pray that my kids are secure enough in themselves to wear a flutter-bye costume as proudly as your little boy 🙂

  7. Well, there goes my mascara – at work even (shhhhh). What a beautiful, loving tribute. Happy Birthday beautiful boy!

  8. Sniff, sniff…that was so..sniff..sweet! You brought…sniff…tears to my eyes! And a chuckle too, let’s not forget the chuckles. What a beautiful post!

  9. Your post made me laugh and would have brought a tear to my eye if I weren’t such a manly man. Alright, I admit it did bring a tear to my eye…but just one. Seriously, your sentiments echo my own experiences as a father of two young boys. They can upset you more than any other person on the planet. They can push buttons you didn’t even know you had. Above it all, though, they’re your co-creation and represent all that is pure and good in the world. Your post and my feelings bring to mind a quote from Murder in the City by The Avett Brothers, which I repeat to my 8 year old son often and will likely do the same when his 9 month old brother is old enough: “Always remember there is nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name.”

  10. Happy birthday! The picture of the three of them is so sweet. Congrats on making it to four, yourself, momma. I consider it a victory each year no one suffers great bodily harm around my house.

  11. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ALEX! You are the awesomest! And what a lovely relationship you have with your brother and sister. Which reminds me… Aunt Becky – did you see my email asking you to write a guest post for my Special Needs Sibling Saturdays series? Would love to have you. Let’s talk.

  12. Whoa. Any boy that can rock a sailor suit, a vest, a hot dog costume, AND flutter wings – can totally rule the night in a saturn costume! Happy birthday to Alex, congrats on a wonderful little boy! 🙂

  13. Happy birthday to your sweet boy!

    I’m at work reading this while slacking off and ordering some nifty “Cancer is Bullshit” shirts for me and my sisters and now I’m crying. People are gonna start to look at me weird(er).

    You are an incredible writer Aunt Becky and your children are so lucky to have your love for them documented this way.

  14. HUGS to the beautiful Mama who sees such wonderfulness in her kids! I already *heart* Alex and his FuckAllToTheWorld Attitude!

    And you tell him, that until Mimi’s old enough to do some ass-kicking for him, the Pranksters have his (and both his siblings’) back!

    I am, as always, in awe of you, Aunt Becky… you are a true model of authenticity, openness, honesty, and loving fucking fiercely!

    Love love love you!!!!!

    PS It’s my brother’s 29th bday today. But he’s not as interesting as Alex… HUGS

  15. Happy birthday, little man!

    And mama, you have inspired me. When I begin to spawn I will also write letters to my kids. I hope they will be as beautiful and thoughtful as yours are!

  16. You did more then great with your kiddies! And I am so glad you just let him be well, himself and are not trying to strong-arm him into being a typical little boy! And you are right to teach them to love and respect each other – my twin boys are 6 months old and every day I tell them the same thing ( not that they understand, but still ;)You are every kind of awesome and your kids are lucky to have you. ( OK and The Daver ) Oh and “Be careful what you wish for” was always my motto ( especially after “oh I want to fall in love” and then he turns out to be the world class arsehole… so now I get a bit more specific ;)if you know what I mean… Anyway, thank you for sharing this with us!!!

  17. Makeup = ruined. You don’t know how much effort it took to get this makeup on today, too, dammit.

    Fabulous letter to your little man. Happy birthday, Alex!

  18. I love him. The cupcake shirt and tutu clinched it. He sounds like such an amazing child! Happy birthday to him 🙂

    PS You’re dumb. You are too creative. Duh.

  19. Happy birthday, kiddo! You are way cuter than that garden gnome from Amelie, even than the one from all those commercials. PS, my son likes to dress like a princess which I think is super rad. Rock that Flutter Bye! PPS, your mom rules:)

  20. Titling your post ‘And now you are four’ followed by a statement about a pregnancy test made me think that you were pregnant again (you know, now there are 4 children…).

    Although I should have realized that you wouldn’t have informed just Alex via a blog that he doesn’t even read, so I am just dumb.

  21. Happy Happy Birthday Sweet Alex!

    Becky, damn you for making me tear up and for making it impossible for any birthday letter I try and write to measure up. I don’t think you know just how incredible a writer you are.


    and stop making me cry, Aunt Becky!!! Sweet baby Jeebus, I feel like I’m pms’ing or something because every blog I’ve read lately has been about kiddos…and I’m in full blown want-another-kiddo-but-can’t-have-one mode just from reading about and looking at all the adorable faces!! I even tried to “cure” myself by checking out and it didn’t work!! Even covered in shaving cream or peanut butter or makeup, I wanted to grab my own can of shaving cream and join in….

    *sigh* I’m off to bitch-slap some sense into my ovaries.

  23. That was the sweetest thing ever!!! I am trying my dang hardest to get preggers but my lady bits just aren’t working. You just gave me a little light of hope. And I hope when it does happen “it” is just as loving as that little man of yours!

      1. Went to see a (male)lady bit doc Friday. I introduced myself with I like nice long walks on the beach, my favorite color, my favorite food, that I was nervous, and about all my lady bit ailments. He said I can be fixed!!! Yay!!! Thank you again!

  24. Oh Happy Birthday Alex!

    Becky, this was beutiful. I loved it. Such strong and important words for him to hear, to know and to feel from you. I love the bond with his siblings, the imagination, and the his very apparant love of life. What a fantastic boy.

    Congrats to you on making it to four!

  25. Wow, there’s a lot of dust in this room… *SNIFF*

    You’ve made some wonderful, beautiful children Auntie.

    Happy birthday, Alex!

  26. I can so totally relate to this. My version of Alex turned 20 on March 14. Children are absolutely, positively life’s greatest gifts. You said that you are honored to know Alex and to have him as your son. That’s how I feel about my sons, too. Happy birthday to Alex. He may not understand this completely now, but one day he will truly know how blessed he is to have you as his mother.

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