It was birthday time again this past week - Braden turned 4. (Or, "a little bit 4," as he would say).
I love celebrating my kids' birthdays - I love all the excitement and joy and cake and presents. All the stuff that adults don't indulge in anymore for themselves. I don't know when birthdays lose their luster (I suppose around the age of 21), but there's something about celebrating your childrens' birthdays that brings that excitement back to you too.
But apart from all the festivities, I love my kids' birthdays for what they mean.
It means that four years ago, I became a mother. I changed, overnight, just like that. It wasn't a conscious change, or one I was aware of at the time, but it was stark. From the moment I laid eyes on Braden, I was a mother first and foremost. Sure, I was still a wife, a daughter, a lawyer, a sister, a friend... but not in the same way I once was. All of those roles became secondary to the purpose thrust upon me four years ago - to be a mom.
I love this role - I love who I am in it. I love that I am completely selfless when it comes to my kids. Despite trying my darndest, I don't know that I've been able to truly do that with anyone else in my life. I love my husband, but the fact is, if there's only one cupcake left, and we both want it, we'll fight each other for it. Or maybe we'll offer it to the other, but deep down, we both want it. I think that's just human nature. But with my kids? There's that weird thing called altruism. Where you want what is best for them at any cost, even if at your expense. I feel that big time. And I LOVE that feeling.
I love the pride that I feel as a mother, for even the smallest things. I often look at Braden in awe of the fact that he uses a fork, or jumps up and down, or talks in complete sentences. Do you know what he was like four years ago? He was an 8 pound little thing that was the epitome of helplessness. So helpless that it was hard to imagine him ever becoming a toddler, a child, a PERSON.
He is now very much a person, and such an incredibly amazing one. I used to think that you could really form who your kids would be. You know, if you want them to be a soccer player, get them into soccer! If you want them to be empathetic, show them empathy! All that nurture stuff. But what is all the more amazing and scary at the same time is that they become their own little people independent of you. Who knew that Braden would be so into music? And love swimming? But hate showers? Who knew that he would be so silly and so shy at the same time? That he would hate being the center of attention (and would refuse to even let people sing "Happy Birthday" to him), but that he would charm the pants off of everyone he meets? That he would be so loving? So sensitive? So short tempered? So good natured?
Who is this little person? Who will he be?
I don't know. But I am having the time of my life finding out.
Happy 4th Birthday, baby boy.