Friday, December 21, 2007

For Jake on Your 12th Birthday

Dear Jake,

Twelve years ago today, at precisely 11:25 pm, you were born. I have to tell you, I was so excited to see you that I completely ignored the doctor's advice to take a sleeping pill, and instead I stupidly stayed awake all night-completely giddy with excitement like a child waiting for Santa. You see, I was thrilled with ever fibre of my being to be a mom. YOUR mom.

I kinda regretted not taking that sleeping pill because you then kept me up for three days straight. You'd think I'd be beside myself with exhaustion but those nights of pacing through the hospital halls with you in my arms and the strains of "Silent Night" playing in the background, the snow falling outside, the twinkling Christmas lights, are something I'll never forget. Because Christmas, really, is all about babies. Birth. New life. And I had the wonderful privilege of having my very own Christmas angel. I wondered if Mary felt like I did.

I remember looking at you one evening and thinking of what it would be like when you were a boy. It seemed so far away from the diapers and midnight feedings that I could hardly wrap my head around it. It's a good thing that you took your time.

Like the Christmas when you were two and left Santa a bowl of Raisin Bran instead of cookie, and you were so thrilled with your Fisher Price Tool set that you wouldn't eat or have a bath without it. Then you slept with one plastic wrench clutched in each chubby little hand.

Or at three, when you learned that adults have tantrums too-remember that poor gingerbread house?

When you were four and so annoyed with me making you SING at your first Christmas concert, for God's sake, rather then hand out Christmas cards, so you stood and pouted all the way through the song.

At five, when you asked for a bell from Santa's sleigh, and I looked all over town to find a jingle bell, when there was not a one to be had. So Sharon from the craft store removed the large bell from her store display and gave it to me, refusing any type of payment because she loved you so much. You believed it was from Santa's sleigh until last year when I told you who really gave it to you. And then your eyes filled with tears from her thoughtfulness and you said how much you missed her. It still hangs on your door every Christmas.

Also at Five, when you held a hot chocolate stand to raise money for the Hamper fund and got $300 in 3 hours all by yourself.

Six, when we went out for dinner on Christmas day and you collected all the scallop shells from every scallop you ate because you just HAD to bring them home. (even though they were very stinky)

Seven, when you got roller blades and spent the whole day outside with one of the neighborhood kids learning how to play roller hockey.

Eight, when we went to a local church putting on a recreation of Bethlehem and had a blast pretending to be Hebrew. And Christmas LOVED having Christmas crackers that year.

Nine, when went to Starbucks for hot chocolates frothy with whipped cream and peppermint sprinkles. Then we went to the park and watched the deer as we sat under an oak tree...remember the acorns raining down on us? You were sure they were going to bonk us on the head.

Ten, when we discovered the Santa Claus parade and it became a special tradition that belonged just to you and me. You also thought Dad didn't notice when you dipped into his chocolates from the china cabinet, but we knew what you were doing.

Eleven, when we snuggled under the afghan by the fire and watched "A Christmas Carol" and nibbled shortbread while you tried to convince me to put lottery tickets in your stocking.

And now twelve, when you are right on the cusp of being a teenager. I remember twelve. I remember feeling awkward and unsure of myself, and my parents were just so embarrassing.

So on this very special day, I want to tell you something.

Every year, on this day, I look out the window at the twinkly lights and whisper a thanks that I was blessed with you as my Christmas angel. I loved you before you were born. I love you even more now.

Those twelve years went by way too fast for me, and now I'm looking at the next stage of your life and again can barely wrap my head around that. Please, take your time. Now that I've had some experience, I know how fast it goes and forgive me if I have the tendency to catch you in a hug or ruffle your hair now and then. It's just me remembering the tiny baby, the cute three year old, and marvelling at the really great kid that you are now.

And I promise I'll try hard not to embarrass you.

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