It's 4am on June 30th. Exactly 5 years ago at this very moment I was willing the nice man that puts in epidurals to come back and remove mine so I could finally get some sleep. There are two things different tonight:
1) I have no epidural to be removed.
2) One of the causes of my insomnia is now 5 and doing laps for the bathroom and water instead of causing excruciating labor and birthing pains. :)
There are plenty of things the same though. Just now the boy emerged from the dark hallway. "I'm not tired any more," he lamented. I walked him back to his room with the strong suggestion that he was indeed tired and the thought that he was not tired was more like excitement over the presents he was anticipating.
I sat on the edge of his bed running my hand over his hair as he lay against my shoulder. I kissed the crown of his head gently and whispered softly. He gazed at me for a moment and then humored me by closing his eyes. A satisfied and peaceful wave moved across his face even though it's not yet brought sleep. That's not a whole lot different than those first moments of his life 5 years ago.
Willing him to sleep then was as effective as it is right now - I hear him singing himself to sleep which, to me, is utterly counterproductive. He disagrees. Then again, typing this at 4am is not doing much for my own slumber, so who am I to talk?
Last night after the kids were both breathing deeply in sleep, I released 10 helium balloons into Logan's room with another 6 balloons inflated by my own hot air to drift around his floor. We hung streamers down from his door frame and placed a small pile of gifts at his seat at the kitchen table.
Bruce shook his head and laughed a little as I made myself dizzy blowing up those latex balloons. "I hope they don't expect this every year here on out. Friend birthday party, party when he wakes up in the morning, family surprise party in the afternoon...."
"But he's 5!" I said, as if that should be enough. "Five is special. And the balloons come from the dollar store. Cheap."
Logan has already, obviously, noticed the balloons and the streamers. I'm sure it's not helping his sleep anymore than the singing is. He also likely suspects the "surprise" party this afternoon since he all but requested it last week, "My party with my friends was nice, but some day it'd be nice to have a surprise party. I've always wanted one. I've wanted one my whole life!"
Wow. He *is* now 5. Really, truly 5. That's just a lot to wrap my brain around at this moment. Five. He's the child I had given up the idea of having. He's the embodiment of love that seemed just *this* far beyond my grasp. He's the daily reminder of what miracles can enter our lives when we least expect them.
Logan has grown into this person that finds new ways to turn me to mush every day. He's got an amazing sense of compassion and generosity that moves through him with ease. He's got a wacky sense of humor and a quick mind that compliment each other well. He can be fiercely independent one moment and dreadfully dependent the next. He's a bright boy that wavers between over-confidence and nerves the way a child his age often can.
He's curious - the same quiet hard stare he had as an infant still crosses his face as he studies something new. It makes me think that even as a baby he was cataloging the world around him. He's got a memory that gets me in trouble. He's got a zeal for learning that I pray remains with him throughout his life.
Today Logan is a person that I'd enjoy being with even if we didn't share a gene pool. He's a fun kid. He's a sweet kid. We have a genuine good time together.
This boy who has moved from being that wiggling, reactive bundle of need to being a person is defining his own way - pulling away from his parents little bits at a time even as he fights to hold on tight with both hands. He's cuddles one moment and then "Don't kiss me here Mommy! People can see you!!!" the next.
You often hear (or read) people refer to motherhood as having your heart travel outside your body. It sounds a little cliche and trite sometimes and yet, as I watch this person who lived within in me for 9 (long!) months, I know that such a sentiment falls short of the reality. Giving birth is watching a piece of yourself take on it's own life. Motherhood is a constant process of watching this piece grow away from you - of having the courage to let it form its own identity and praying that as it refines itself over time it still has the desire to speak to you.