Four years ago today my baby, who isn't quite a baby anymore, was born. And my life changed forever.
Preston was born at 1:33 am after seventeen and a half hours of labor. He greeted the world at a whopping eight pounds seven ounces and twenty-one inches long!
I was officially a week overdue, but unofficially, meaning based off of my original due date, Preston was right on time!
He arrived wide-eyed and ready to take the world on. I'm not kidding, I have never in my life seen a more aware newborn. And I'm not just saying that because I'm his Mommy. His big blue, and now hazel, eyes just seemed determined to take it all in! Even the nurses couldn't help but point out how aware he was and just how big and blue and adorable his eyes were. He was perfect!
I remember him being a baby who never slept through the night and yet he was somehow so calm and aware of what was going on around him. So in the middle of the night when we were up I would wonder when he would learn to crawl and walk and talk. And just what his little voice would sound like. I was just so amazed at every little thing that he did and that he was doing it. And how fast he seemed to pick up on things. I remember telling people that he was wearing shoes because he was going to walk and everyone would laugh at me because he was still so little. He was only like eight months old and yet by nine months he had taken his first step and by nine and a half he was walking! I was just so excited for him to get bigger and for everything that I knew came with him getting older. And maybe just a little bit excited about the fact that at some point he had to sleep through the night and that meant that at some point I would also get to sleep through the night again.
And then he turned one. And I cried. I was so excited and yet so shocked that he was actually one. That somehow the baby that I was terrified to leave the hospital with was no longer a baby but actually a toddler. And that yet it seemed like we had just left the hospital with him, that he had just learned to crawl, just started walking and running, and just begun to talk and yet still he was one. He started to string words together and seemed to find some understanding for showing me or explaining to me what he wanted or needed. We continued to battle over food. We quit nursing and spent our first night apart. Preston showed us exactly what it meant to be parents of a toddler. He had a way of pushing the boundaries and yet making you proud of how creatively he went about doing it.
Somehow we went from one to two. And still in the blink of an eye. I used to laugh when people told you how fast kids grow up. I especially used to get a kick out of this when I was up with Preston for the millionth time in the middle of the night and time moved so slowly because I was just so tired. But somehow they were right. Because I blinked and my baby was two. And he was throwing temper tantrums and learning new words and phrases and coming up with more ways to bend the rules and encouraging me to stop and see everything from his level and from his viewpoint. He also began to show that he was growing up when we would tell him something and you could see that he understood. Which also meant the two was the year of discipline and time outs and yet still laughter because sometimes he was just so hilarious when he was trying to get his way. And we just couldn't help but marvel at how determined he was. I remember having many conversations with friends and family that even while I wanted him to listen and follow the rules I didn't want to break his spirit and wanted him to always be willing to fight for what he wanted to do with his life. Two was also the year that Preston went from being the one and only grandchild to being the oldest grandchild. And the year that during the three months of my sister's maternity leave I went back to work two days a week and Preston spent some extra time hanging out with Grandma. Plus the start of potty training. We didn't get serious about it but we messed around with the idea of it. And with two came sleep! Glorious sleep!
Then three arrived. I assumed that with the arrival of three we would also have the departure of two and it's terribleness. But that didn't happen. Instead we went from the terrible twos right into the torture of threes. Preston could now tell you exactly what he wanted and make what he seemed to consider an executive decision on just how he was going to go about getting it. But with three also came understanding. Preston seemed to have a better grasp on the world around him. Or at least a desire to understand all of it. He would ask question after question. Just wanting to understand why and what and how. Three also seemed to mean an understanding of his feelings. He knew exactly what it mean to be happy and sad and angry and loved and content and tired and so many more emotions. One of my favorite parts of three was "I love you". Several times a day no matter where we are Preston feels the need to tell me he loves me. Over and over again. Sometimes in a quiet moment when it's just me and him or in the middle of the day while we're running errands or when I'm frustrated because of him or something else or simply just because. I can't even explain how much I have loved hearing that three word phrase uttered by his sweet little voice.
Now somehow four has descended upon us. And as excited as I am for four and what I've been told is the end of the full fledged temper tantrum meltdown, I am fully dreading this age. More I think than any of the others. Four just seems like such a big age. It's the age he's going to begin preschool. It's the age of growing up. And needing me less. It just seems to be the end of him being my baby and the start of him really and truly being my little boy. And that makes me want to cry. Or more honestly does in fact make me cry. So while I am so excited for this age and to see just what it means for Preston I really hope that so many parts of the little boy who asks at the end of the day if I'll lay in bed with him for the next "twelve hours". And the little boy who says, "Mommy, I need to tell you something" only to wait until he has my full attention to say, "I love you. That's what I needed to tell you". I hope that little boy sticks around.
Watching Preston grow and learn and get bigger and smarter and more vocal has been just one of the most amazing experiences for me. I am constantly amazed at how much he has changed mine and Brad's lives. And yet shocked at the fact that he has only been a part of them for four years.
Happy Birthday Baby I hope you get all you've ever wanted this year and every year! Mommy loves you forever and always.