A Love Letter on Your Birthday


I had a whole other post typed out, but then I walked through the silent house and stood at your doorframe and looked at you sleeping in a pile of pillows and stuffed animals, blankets you’ve collected over time, wearing your bathrobe with the hood up like you’d soon be running into the ring to defend a heavyweight title, I knew I had to write something else instead.

Nine years ago I didn’t know you and I wasn’t even sure I liked you. Looking back, I could have been carrying a Honey Baked ham inside me, not a person. I wasn’t one of those women who felt instantly connected to her unborn child. Heck, at 23 I was hardly even a woman. Walking around with my giant belly and my baby face, I felt like I was just playing pretend in some wild costume. I half expected to wake up from it all like a dream— the haze parting just in time for me to pat my flat stomach and laugh at myself for being so worked up.

It wasn’t a dream though.A Love Letter on Your Birthday

And most of my pregnancy with you was mired with rage. Rage at myself for getting pregnant so soon after leaving a prestigious college with a performance degree. I thought my life was ruined. I’d never perform again. I’d never be famous. I’d never succeed.

Rage that you were a boy. I didn’t know what to do with a boy. The dynamic of mother/daughter was ruined. I didn’t get out of bed for a week after the gender ultrasound.

Rage at my body for problem after problem that landed me as a high risk pregnancy. If I was going to have to do this, could I at least do it right please?

But, soon enough there you were, and the minute I saw you — as clichéd as it sounds — I would have jumped out of bed and fought a million battles for you. (Well, I actually would have sort of slid out of bed and fallen down because after being in labor for 21 hours I had a lot of good drugs…but…you get what I mean here.)

A real person. I made you. And I grew you.

And I turned you back on your back over and over again for weeks until I frantically called the doctor sobbing that I couldn’t live like this anymore, always watching you, always keeping the wolf from the door. The nurse laughingly assured me that once you could roll over I should just let you, that SIDS wasn’t coming for you. You loved Elmo (“mo”) and your Spider Man pajamas (“pie-man”) and when I told you at around two that big brothers don’t use passies or sleep in cribs you looked at me and said “kay mama” and that was that. You went to pre-k without a fuss while I stood outside the door and wailed through giant tears.

Now you can wear my shoes.

Now, if I have to run to the gas station by our house for nine minutes (yes, I’ve timed it there and back) you ask to stay home. Now a girl named Hannah is writing you notes telling you how funny you are and I tell you to “rein it in how ‘bout, Lenny Bruce, before I’m a grandmother in my 30s” and you roll your eyes at me and take another trip to the fridge.

Sometimes you still want to sleep in my bed. We talk and read books together, propped up on pillows, and when you fall asleep I can’t seem to find any of your littleness anymore. You have boy features. Soon you’ll have man features. Soon you’ll write notes back to girls like Hannah and take her places driving in your car.

Soon-ish, in just as much time as you’ve been alive, you’ll leave me. You’ll go to college if you want, or a trade school, or to work in one of your dad’s restaurants. Whatever, as long as you’re happy and fulfilled. And as much as I don’t want to sound like a blue-haired old lady in the check out line at Kroger…wow this has all gone so fast.

Parenting you as a toddler, with your little brother just 20 months behind you, felt like someone was holding me under water for 30 seconds — an eternity for my time submerged but in reality, not even a minute. Sometimes I mix up our sweatpants in the laundry. How did we get here, my little Saucy Sauce? We have inside jokes and banter, and it all seems like some lightening speed blur of a life lived in tiny highlights, moments here and there that I recall when I think back to an almost decade with you.

It’s really gone so fast.

I tell you you’re my best friend, which is a weird thing to tell your kid I guess, but you and I have grown up and grown through so much together. I see your desire to protect me, nearly as strong as my desire to protect you. I see you, the way only a mother can see her oldest son, and I know it really is true: you are my best friend…my best everything…you’ve made this whole parenting gig a breeze for the most part. How lucky I am.

Sunday you’ll be nine. We’ll have cake and you’ll play Xbox and I’ll tell you to put your empty water bottles and granola bar wrappers in the trash (spoiler alert: you will not) and I’ll continue to marvel at you. There’s just something about you my first baby. You’re so smart and special and you’re mine at least for a little longer.

Oh, how I love you.

Previous articleHangin’ with Heroes {Recap}
Next articleEaster Traditions and Memories to Make
Mama to Maddox, Walker and Finn plus three unruly dogs: Nick Carraway, Ladybird, and Charlotte. Owner of Nest, a custom painting and furniture restoration business run out of my SoKno home. I've written for Knox Moms since 2014, and have also written for The Dollywood Company, Her View From Home, and Today.com. I'm a recovering type-a personality, overcaffinated, sleep with too many pillows, am a better person near water, and love a good British period drama or anything about gruesome true crime. I'm going to die trying to pet something I shouldn't or lifting furniture I have no business lifting, and am a firm believer in convenience meals. Probably a top contender for the title of World's Okayest Mom.


  1. Oh my goodness. This pulls my heartstrings so much!! Thank you for sharing your love story with your oldest son. My son will be turning 6 this Friday, and I can still see some of his litteness. But as you say, it is slowing fading into something more mature. We’ll hang on as long as we can to our little men. They certainly mean the world to moms like us!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here