Today, on 10/10/10, my firstborn turns...11. He was 10 until 11:25am on 10/10/10. But now he's 11. And he's not here. You see, I knew 11 years ago that this day was coming. The day when he would want to spend his birthday hunting instead of with me. Because his birthday also happens to be the first day of elk season. So today he is somewhere in the woods with his Pappy looking for a trophy elk.
11 years ago on October 9th I called my dad early in the morning to tell him that he might want to stay in town a little longer before heading off to elk camp. At 3:00am I had started feeling contractions. At 11:00am I was at the hospital. At 3:00pm I was really in labor. And at 11:00pm I was...still in labor. Then at 11:25 the next morning, my stubborn baby was born via c-section. 32 long hours after waking up feeling those first few contractions.
But he was worth it with that tiny, sweet face and that crazy, black hair. That was the day I became a mommy. Sure I had been pregnant and felt him kicking, but until that moment when he was in my arms it was all just an idea of what I would be. I looked at this little stranger who I knew but didn't know and was amazed at the miracle I was a part of. This baby, this person, had grown inside of me and was part of me. It was wonderful and joyous and terrifying.
Josh was a good baby. Cute as cute could be and charming from day one. He didn't cry much. Unless I laid him down. He was, and still is, a snuggler. He loved to sleep in my arms or on my lap. But he did sleep through the night really young and quickly got used to sleeping in his crib. He taught me a lot about being a mom. How to change a diaper really fast. How slippery babies are in the bath. How if they can reach it they think it's theirs. How happy the giggle of a baby could make me. How it feels to have my heart walk around outside my body.
And he has continued to teach me over these last 11 years. He is amazingly smart and articulate. He loves with all his heart. He is still stubborn just like on that first day. And I know, that if I ever need a hug, I just have to ask.
I can't believe that it's been 11 years. 11. But even after 11 years, I still see my baby's face when I look at this young man he's become. And I think I always will.
Happy birthday, Josh. You are a blessing and I love you more than words can say.