It was late when I checked on him, sitting on the edge of his bed and smoothing back freshly cut hair as he slept. I sat quietly next to him. Remembering.
It was seven years ago on New Year’s Day when the labor began late in the day. I wasn’t even sure if they were contractions because they were painless; in fact, they had to do a stress test to determine if it was really contractions or not. Two minutes apart but no pain. Other than a quick drop in blood pressure, his arrival was seamless, and within hours I was holding my Bear in my arms. Completely, beautifully, and utterly in love.
Life with him has been exactly as his arrival–a few of those blood pressure dropping moments, but seamless, easy. And oh, so beautiful.
Those dimples captured my heart seven years ago, and they still make me grab my breath today.
My Bear. Sweet, beautiful, loving Bear who wears his heart on his sleeve and fascinates us with his imagination and creativity. This boy who loves to draw and write and read, who loves to imagine and play and laugh, who loves to cook and clean, who loves to be silly and wild, who loves to live.
Tears came as I sat beside him marveling at the wonder of grace and how much has been poured out on us. Grace to bestow us with such a gift. Grace that all the hard moments of parenting and training melt away, completely forgotten as I gaze at my boy and am flooded with the memories of how wonderful he is. Grace that I can take each new day knowing there will be hard moments to come, but also knowing we will grow together, Bear and me. Learning, loving, and laughing (a lot!).
I smoothed his forehead again and pressed my finger against his nose. “Always and forever,” I whispered to him, our little ritual each night as I tuck him in bed.
As I walked from his room I heard it. A gentle sigh and soft whisper, “Always and forever,” as he turned to his side in sleep, and my heart melted again.
Happy Birthday, my sweet Bear.
I love starting each new year by celebrating you.
Always and forever.
I love you.
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