His birthday should have been 10 days ago. He comes from a long line of late bloomers, so we shouldn't have been surprised when he didn't arrive on time. But I expected him every day anyway, pacing up and down my street, bulging in the outrageous heat, sure I would give birth any moment (as was my sweet neighbor, watching me go back and forth).
Finally, in the wee hours of July 8, after two days of painful back labor, my water broke. I heard the pop, as I lay propped up sleepless in my bed.
Twelve hours later with a mediocre epidural and all the pitocin they could give me, he still wasn't moving. Still no progress, no baby.
C-section, whirlwind, wedged in, it's a boy, whisked away. And then I blacked out. When I came to, not sure if maybe I'd died in the process, I was a mother. Just like that.
He was beautiful, round and tiny, with soft brown hair and huge hands. He was, as my husband first described him while I was coming out of the fog, "a champion baby." I knew I would always love him (he looked so much like his dad, how could I not?), but it took a little time for me to fall in love with him. Took some time to decide what it meant to be a mom.
I was overwhelmed, over-tired, unprepared for recovery from surgery. He only slept when we held him, so we held him day and night. He nursed around the clock for hours on end and refused to take a bottle. He cried and I cried with him. We accepted lots of help from friends and family.
Then one day, he smiled at me. And before I knew it, I was his Mommy and he was my love. And then he crawled and became a redhead and walked and turned blond and jumped and ran and used a fork and talked in sentences and pedaled his tricycle and slept through the night in his own big bed and made friends and used the potty and jumped into the big pool and ohmystars he's four.
Just like that.
Happy birthday, Junius! I love being your Mommy and I love watching you be you.