I've been a mom for 6 years now, all on-the-job training with you as the boss. What a boss to have! Although parenthood isn't always necessarily what I expected, it's more amazing than I could ever put into words. (But here comes the part where I try...)
I remember being pregnant and having experienced parents look at me starry eyed and saying things like, “There's nothing like having a baby. The love you have for them--there's nothing like it.” At first my heart warmed at their nostalgia, but towards the end of pregnancy, I began to lose my patience with it. “Of course it's amazing, I'm growing my own person here. What kind of mom doesn't love their baby? I get it, I know,” I'd think, exasperated with people's need to educate first time mothers.
And then I had you, and realized there was no way to experience those depths of emotion without having been there yourself. The other day I was studying your profile as I snuggled you in my lap (which is increasingly awkward to do, with your ever-growing limbs seemingly all over the place) and reflected on my time as your mother and the spectrum of emotions that came with it.
As I studied the perfect swoop of your nose and the freckle over your lip and the tiny golden hairs that grow near your hairline, I felt euphoric with love for you, pride at having made you, panic that 6 years with you could have already gone so quickly, and fear and sadness for life's inevitable hardships that you'll be forced to suffer. My heart soars and sings and aches all at the same time with love for you. Contemplating your very existence fills me with excitement and anxiety over what the future may hold. You amaze me and amuse me and the responsibility and honor of raising you to fulfill your potential fills me with wonder and fear.
Even if I did the best job in the whole world of describing the emotions that make up the love that a mother feels for her child, it would still fall radically short of the true feelings in a mom's heart. There truly are no words to explain how much I love you and how glad I am to be your mom. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for you, but selfishly wish you could stay small forever. The last 6 years with you have been a joy, and I know the next 6 will be too (the 6 after that--I'm not so sure). I'm lucky to have a boss like you and I think you're teaching me well. I hope you can say the same for me.
So, Happy Birthday, my Big Kid.
I like you, I love you, and I'll always protect you.