Thursday, November 29, 2012

To Jacob on your 5th Birthday...

The familiar patting of feet-on-hardwood grew closer as I heard the squeals of excitement. "I'm FIVE today! It's my burt-day and I'm five today!" A huge grin appeared on my face as my youngest ran into my arms with an air of celebratory glee.

"Are you SURE you're five," I inquired playfully.

"YES! I am five and I am a big boy and today is my burt-day and we're gonna get doughnuts and take them to my school because one of my friends cannot eat peanuts and doughnuts do not have peanuts in them so we're gonna stop by Krispy Kreme and get some doughnuts for my burt-day!"

((deep gasp for breath))

His excitement was contagious. My mind traveled back to 2007 when there was another type of excitement in the most foreign to me but palpable all the same. Jacob's birth mother had gone into labor and was at the hospital. It was happening. This new addition to our family (that we had just learned about three weeks prior) was coming into the world and, consequently, our hearts. And the scariest part? It was completely out of my control.

I had been nesting since getting the call on November 9, 2007 that we had been chosen by birth parents to raise their child. It was all at once unexpected, thrilling yet frightening to know that in a matter of weeks I would be the mother of a newborn--a fete I had yet to experience. In 20 days we had notified the world, furnished and decorated a nursery and accumulated enough infant outfits to clothe a small country. Now it was happening. She was giving birth and I was petrified at the possible heartbreaking outcome that lay before us. Would she change her mind? Would all of this preparation--both physical and emotional--be for naught?

November 29, 2007 was possibly the most grueling day of my life. Knowing that your future lay in the hands of a young woman who was understandably going through a staggering range of emotions was impossible to fathom. So I waited. I cleaned. I walked. I cried. I paced. The hours began to curl in on each other as I eagerly anticipated some word from the adoption agency that he was here and that he was O.K. Each time the phone rang I would leap out of my skin only to be disappointed at each well-meaning call from concerned friends and family.  Finally, at 5pm, the call came that he had arrived and was a beautiful fuzzy-haired boy weighing 8 pounds 2 ounces. My excitement was tempered by one small question... when would she sign the papers? Round 2 of the agonizing wait began and did not end until 10pm when we got the call we had so desperately awaited:  SHE SIGNED. The emotions of that day are forever burned into my memory. The fear, the elation, the uncertainty... all so life-shattering at the moment but distant as I swung my now-five-year-old around in celebration of his big day.

Five years later, I am in awe of this child whom my heart has fallen for hook, line and sinker. This once-shy clinger-of-the-pantleg is blossoming into a bold, confident little boy eager to absorb all the many things happening around him. His baby blues sparkle with the perfect combination of mischief and sweetness and his ever-expanding vocabulary amazes me daily. His passion for the little things in life is something I hope to emulate as I try my best to see the world through his eyes. The joy he exhibits in receiving a cup of strawberry milk is equivalent to winning the lottery for most and his gentle heart endears him to all those around him. Not without a stubborn side for sure, Jacob provides just enough boyish challenge to make the sweet parts that much sweeter. He's all boy and I couldn't be happier.

When I answered the phone that fateful November day, I never dreamed my heart could possibly expand to love another child as much as I loved my first. Boy was I ever wrong. Jacob, you teach me daily that kindness and gentleness will take you far in life. You teach me that being a mother is by far one of the most rewarding jobs I could ever have. But, most of all, your spirit teaches me that there is no hurt, no pain and no sadness that a hug and a little strawberry milk can't fix. I love you and am so glad that God chose me to be your Mommy.

Happy 5th Birthday sweet boy.