Ten years ago we took that picture of me holding you and you had on that white knit hat, and your squared boy-fingers were wrapped around my ring finger. You had thick, dark hair, which never thinned.
You weren't breathing well when you were born, so nurses hurried you out the door for some clearing of the lungs. Take him, take him, I said. I wasn't about to complain over not being able to hold you those first few minutes. Get him breathing, get him crying, get him pink. I had you, this healthy boy, because I had let go of your not-healthy sister one year before. All those normal things they do when babies come out were welcome. You want to wipe him clean, suction him out, weigh him, measure him? Yes, please. Do it all. He's alive, he's healthy, and he's mine.
I held you.
I felt like a mom again.
Thank you for giving me that gift. Thank you for being the one to bring me out of some grief and self-pity. Over these years you've taught me patience (still working on that one--sorry), endurance, deeeeeeep love, the good kind of pride, worry (a new kind from what I'd felt before), and how to play chess (more than once).
Thank you for bringing me back to life, my boy. Happy birthday! Oh how I love you. I'm glad I caught you smiling on camera today.