A sappy mother post about the boy who stole our hearts.

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This kid is turning two years old in less than three weeks.

Two years old?

How did that happen?

The other day I had to change his diaper in a public restroom using the plastic changing table that is bolted to the wall and seems scarily unstable. You know the ones. I pulled out his baby blue colored plastic changing pad to offer some protection from the germ stained table, and laid my baby down on top of it. Only, he wasn't a baby. There in front of me was a boy. A boy who head to toe took up the whole of the changing table.  A boy who sang the ABC's while we washed his hands in the sink before leaving. Suddenly I was a hit with a wind of a memory strong enough to take the breath out of me. I remembered when he was just a squishy little baby full of chunky rolls, not even the size of that blue changing pad, wriggling and drooling while I changed his diaper. When I blew raspberries into his baby powdered belly button just to hear those sweet baby giggles.

It's in those moments that I feel bittersweet emotions swirling around inside of me.

Bitter because I miss my baby, the first baby I ever had of my very own. His soft head of baby red hair and his tiny doll fingers and toes. The learning experience that we had together, because it was a first for us both. The quiet of the night as I held my firstborn son in my arms, pressed up against my chest. Days that were filled with diaper changes and feedings and naps and doing it all over again and again, when I was moving and functioning like a robot who did what she was programmed to do, from some great maternal instinct that lived inside of me. And all of it was perfect and beautiful and real. My very first baby. I am constantly reminded now that he's not a baby anymore, that I will never have that back. It's over. I will never experience my firstborn baby ever again. And as weird as it sounds, it makes my heart ache to know that.

But then there is the sweet. The sweet in seeing him grow and learn and develop. In watching his baby red hair turn into long, wavy sunbleached blonde locks. Watching his personality come out, one that is all his own. Teaching him new things. The many milestones we hit together, from his first smiles to his first words to his first steps. I was the proud mama, there to clap and cheer and take a million pictures every time.

Last week, for example, mister J started talking in sentences. It happened overnight, he just woke up one morning and there it was. It's the cutest thing, if we're being honest. His words are very spaced, with pauses in between them all. Like this: "That. Is. Hot!" or "That's. A. Balloon!"

I die.

But even with all of the sweetness, we have our trials and our rough stages. Right now he's in a "I hate everybody" stage where if me and dad are around, he wants nothing to do with anyone else except to yell at them for even looking at him wrong. It's tough, our biggest trial so far for sure. But then I remember...this boy was sent here to me, and if I don't have patience with him, then who will? He needs my patience and my love because he's mine and I am his. So I breathe, and in those moments that are so trying I make myself remember that he is my son and he needs me. He needs my patience. And I give it to him, with all of my heart, every ounce of patience and understanding my tiredness can muster.

I love him so much that I could just burst. That's the point of this post, you know. I'm reflecting and reminiscing and blown away that he is so grown up. Shocked and sad and happy and proud all at the same time. I never knew how many contradicting emotions I could feel at the same time until I became a mother.

Dan recently brought me home a beautiful leather bound leaflet of paper. It's a mustard yellow color with faded edges and ribbons of gold carvings. At first it just sat on my nightstand for days, taunting me with it's beauty and begging me to write in it. But what? I wondered. What can I fill these pages with to do justice to such a beautiful book? Then the other night, as I sat in bed reminiscing about all of this, about losing my baby...it hit me. I will make it a journal to Jace, full of memories and thoughts and love, hand written so he will always have his mama's words in their truest forms. What a perfect thing to start as we are coming on his second birthday.

His second birthday.

I think it's okay to cry about these things. It doesn't mean it's a bad thing, and it doesn't mean I'm sad even. It just means that I'm aware. I can mourn the growing up and love it all at the same time. And that's just what I'm going to do.

His second birthday. In three weeks.

Part of me knows that this is how it's going to be on every birthday he has for the rest of my life. A silent mourning along with a public celebration. One year older. My firstborn son.

Really. I love him so much that I could just burst.

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