The day of your birthday number 3 was a Saturday. You were sick. We went to a Rainforest park in Randers. It was a bad idea. We opened a present – a train track that we quickly built and hoped for your smile. You were static. I was still tired and trying to collect myself from a hard week but the strength of the day caught me on every quiet second, holding you still, wondering when will I have to stop, when will the hugs stop.
3 years later, and I am just as scared and you are just as amazing. Like levels on a game, that get harder as you reach the next one, one level prepares you for the next. Every phase prepares you for a more difficult one coming ahead, and sometimes, if you are lucky, the universe gives you little breaks to catch your breath. A very little one. I don’t complain. I do it every day, and with you, I win. Even when I lose, I win. The word “lose” vanishes into how great and unbelievable you are to me. Every level keeping me on my feet, ready, in awe, somehow present. And I don’t want you to think I love you less because it took me this long to write this “word-celebration” . Yes, life became a boring narrative of ear infections and doctor appointments. I have cried amounts of water. I have googled “My son is 2.4 and not talking, 2.5 and not talking, 2.6 and not talking…”. How is it that milestones are driving us all into the importance of “early intervention”? When did the journey to “normal” become so straightforward and obvious and desired? Why can’t I just stop worrying and googling? But how great is it that there is some, like you, that just talk late and are somehow doing stuff differently? How great is it that I happen to be the mother of a wise-amazing-special one? You are talking now, now and when you wanted. The words came, just like that, after I could see them first in your eyes, your hands pointing at things, your body shaking excited, sad, scared, wildly happy. The words of your mouth came when I could see the words of your heart. Because that is how it had to be. Because you are just cool like that.
I can only tune into your heart that was always open, for me to see, your message was there. Perfect. And it took this long so that I could see YOU first. I figure you out slowly, and I am loving that “slow” you have taken me to: “Slow down mom! Observe! Listen. I am here”. You touched my eyes today and said “Okos”, my mouth and said “boca”, my nose and said “nis”. You pointed at the moon and said “Kuka”. And I said “Yeah, that’s the moon”. I scream-jump inside and hold every word with all my presence, the one you taught me. Words that can too become us, that thing/space in between you and me, powerful. The voice of your voice.
A year still happened. 2 to 3.
A lot of recipe fails and walks happened, daycare pick-up hugs, daycare drop-off screams. Tantrums. You wanted water. Then juice. Then water. You threw unwanted liquids on the floor for me to clean. I was tired at times. I wanted to scream too. I counted to ten. I said No, no, no! I said, “I am sorry I screamed”. You hugged me roughly. Your hand hugging my neck, too strong, too beautiful. More liquids dried on my clothes. You sat quietly in the stroller, strangely quiet. I worried. We hugged as we fell asleep together, in your very own but tiny bed.
A lot of silence happened.
The music was muted because you couldn’t hear it well and it annoyed you. All that music that you used to dance to was suddenly gone and then it was quiet. I walked the city in search of birds, buses, trucks. I wanted to make you smile. I missed you, us, the times we had. I waited days, hours, minutes, for the operation that would restore your hearing. And then you heard. The music was back, the dancing was back. But the world felt too much at times. You heard too little but then too much. You were wise and discovered meditation. You walked to a quiet corner and sat. You closed your eyes and breathed when the world got too loud, too much. You were wise and like all wise man, you embraced it and walked away stronger.
So I believed. You were slowly back, with your old funky smile.
I hold now your firecracker hand and touch its little fingers as we walk, your 3-year-old hand, and your steps are strong, you know what you are doing. You are just holding me to push me just enough, to show me something, only because that is what you want. I hug you when you want and I can feel your heartbeat, still so fast. I remember how fast it was the day you were born. The doctors were monitoring it to keep track of “dangerous” levels. It never slowed in 12 hours, always fast, fast, fast, at the edge of dangerous. I was nervous to hear the machine remind me of the delicate state of that heart, already strong and already on fire.
Tun-tun–Tun-tun–Tun-tun. That sweet “love-drunk” feeling that I get from your martini eyes, that I keep getting love shots from.
And you say “No” to everything but sometimes, just sometimes, beautifully “Yes”.
“Mama, mama, mama, mama, MAMAAAAA”, you scream.
Yep. Here. That is me! Your mom. The only mom I can be.
Happy Birthday to you and the world that started with you, the fire, the yellow butterflies that follow you around, the beauty of your kind of wild. Happy birthday to the edge of your heart and the ground of my heart.
I love you.