I tried to retaliate by asking for a last dance with him while he's 8, but that would have also been my first dance with him. For all his mischievousness (can't you just see it?) and his rambunctiousness, he's a shy thing and rather unsure of himself. If he's not sure he'll be good at something, like dancing, he's not going to try.
Every kid has a special spot in mama's heart, and this kid is no exception, but this one's spot is especially tender in mine. You see, he was a surprise (duh, what mama in her right mind would plan a baby to be born 3 weeks after Christmas?!). We were in a terrible jam, running a fun but failing little garden center on the side of a busy road with traffic that never bothered to stop and buy a plant, toting around a 2 year old and a 4 year old, and that's how it was when we found out we were expecting him.
All children are welcome in our house. Any child would be. But it was such poor timing – I was so focused on simply robbing Peter to pay Paul so we could feed ourselves and keep the house – that I'll admit my maternal instincts didn't kick in with this pregnancy. I was not thrilled.
…until the day I found out he was footling breech and a big boy and there was no possible way to turn that baby. That day, my maternal instincts kicked in. I clenched my jaw, wrapped an arm around my big belly, and said to our little guy, "You're gonna' be okay. I'm sure of that." That day, I wanted that baby very much.
He was born as a c-section – you just can't give birth safely to a footling breech – and at 9lbs., 4oz., oh, my, he was the prettiest baby in the hospital nursery. I'm not just saying that because I'm his mama. I'm not. You can ask his Nana, too. ;) Other people, I'm told, would look through the glass at their own grandbaby and say, "There's our little fella. Hello, little fe……Oh!, but look at that baby! That is a beautiful baby." Living in the womb head up and being born without squishing through a tiny birthing canal has its perks.
Anyway, even though he was a pretty baby, and even though the birth had distracted me from what was really going on, real life came crumbling down not long after we came home from the hospital. Collectors called at all times (they are some serious folk!), our house was on the brink of being taken back to the bank, our bank account was in the red, we'd just had a $10,000 c-section, and it was January and who goes to a garden center in January?!
Nobody was going to come anyway, so I shut down the garden center for a few weeks to heal, while my man went to work long hours for another company to get a regular paycheck and some benefits, like, um, health insurance which was too late. Our 4yo and 2yo meanwhile took to running all over the house, making such a mess that it took Flylady to eventually get us out of it.
Because trouble breeds trouble, and muck attracts muck, we had a rat problem in the attic then, and after poison was laid down, we had a fly problem. See the connection? Gross. I sometimes sit back and look on that time and wonder how I ever got through it all without my mind floating off to never return. But I know that answer.
It was the baby who saved me from insanity, that's what. I sat there, most days and nights, on the couch, breastfeeding my baby, tears streaming down my face until they ran dry, in pain, and likely in PPD, while those young-uns of ours survived on cold cereal and cartoons.
See those eyes of his? As I sat on the couch, depressed and in pain, I felt a bit of peace looking into those bright blue eyes whenever they were open, willing them to be open when they were not. He seemed freshly sent from Heaven, as if he'd just been there and had a bit of it left in him. He was a gift straight from Heaven – sent to me when I'd need the baby most, in God's perfect timing – and as I gazed into his eyes day after day, hope rose gradually as I began to trust that we were going to be okay.
Thank you, Little Guy. Happy Birthday.