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You Made Me A Mother
Hollis, I wish I could tell you that I loved you from the moment I knew you were rolling around inside me, but I didn't. You see, I didn't know. I didn't really know what love was. At least not in the way that I do now.

As a little girl I made up stories. Lovely, happy stories about how my life would go. I would marry a prince and live in a magical land. But in all of my stories, something was missing. I didn't know what it was. You changed that. You changed me.

I was so overwhelmed and scared when you were born I'm afraid I didn't realize even then what you had done to me. That you had elementally changed me forever. The knowledge came to me quietly, slowly, whispered in the air during 2am feedings and diaper changes. That soft lilting voice grew louder each day until it was screaming in my head, "THIS! THIS IS WHAT I WAS MEANT TO DO! THIS IS WHO I WAS MEANT TO BE!"

Your mother.

Today you turn three. You've started school. You've made new friends. You have a world that doesn't include me, your mommy.

Now it begins. The separation.

This is hard for me, Hollis. You'll forgive me if sometimes I tug too sharply on your hand when you try to walk away, won't you? You see, although I want to see you grow and thrive and become your own self, my heart is bound to yours forever. When I watch you step away from me, my gut screams "NO!" even as my head calmly says "yes."

I see so much of you in me and for almost three years that bound you to me tightly. Swaddled in my safe arms I told you stories and we sang and giggled and counted toes. But I watch you from a distance now. I am an observer to your internal world. But I know that you have such a rich life in your little head. You see fairies in the river, dragons in the sky, and ogres inside little stone huts.

In the corporeal world you approach everything cautiously. New people, new places, new situations all give you pause. But inside? Oh, inside I know that you tame lions and ride elephants and swing through the trees with monkeys.

In the years to come, just remember that I'm trying to let go. I want to let you fly through the air with the birds, but I'll be running along beside you in spirit, with my arms spread wide and flapping to help you soar. I can still help you climb that mountain in the backyard, help you hide from the tickle monster, or teach you to ride that giraffe without a harness. We can sing to the fairies together in sweet, off key harmony. But sometimes, I know that you'll need to sing alone.

When your solitary adventures are done for the day, I hope you'll still crawl into my safe arms for a snuggle and a story. I'll spin you a tale about a beautiful princess who married a prince and had a wonderful family in a magical land with pink skies and emerald grass. I'll tell you about the princess's little boy and his wonderful travels. How he grew to be a thoughtful and handsome young man.

Someday, you'll have to tell me how his story ends.

Happy Birthday, my little man.



Blogger Kevin Charnas said...

That was simply BEAUTIFUL. Thank you so much...I felt it go right through me.

Happy Birthday, Big Guy!!!

I'm sending him (and you) my best.

Blogger flutter said...

Oh mama..this was so beautiful.

Happy Birthday, big H.

Blogger ExPatSW said...

Beautifully written; he will treasure it always.

Happy Birthday, H and a kiss from G-AP

Gosh darnit, girl. You made me cry! I could barely get through it.


Blogger slouching mom said...

Sigh. Gorgeous. Just gorgeous.

And my goodness, didn't he have the same exact mouth as an infant that he has now!

Blogger jen said...

happy, happy birthday. i didn't realize they were so close in age until recently and it makes me wish again we were neighbors.

imagine them, hand in hand.

Blogger PunditMom said...

Happy B-day, H -- from someone who doesn't knwo you yet, but who knows you have a great mom!

Blogger Suz said...

It goes so quickly....I can't believe that I will be thinking these thoughts as my twins branch out a scant year from now.

Blogger newnorth said...

very touching. Hope he has a great Birthday!

Blogger DD said...

Warm Birth Day wishes to you both.

Anonymous mayberry said...

This is one of the best birthday posts I've seen! Have a wonderful day, Hollis.

Blogger Kuwaitia said...

happy birthday! what a sweet, wonderful birthday wish!

Blogger Mamma said...


Your mama just made me cry. She articulated what I think most of us moms feel about our babies. And yes, you will always be our babies, even when you become giants. Our arms will always flap madly to ensure that you soar.

That's what being a mom means.

Happy birthday big guy!!

Anonymous Emily said...

THat was lovely. My Zachary is almost exactly the same age, and you put into words so much of what I am feeling.

Blogger Gwen said...

Really lovely, S.

Happy Birthday to Hollis! Let the beauty of three begin!

Happy Birthday!

Beautifully written... Happy Birthday HOllis

Blogger blooming desertpea said...

What a great tribute!

Happy birthday Hollis. Hope you have a blast of a day!

Blogger Julie said...

Lovely. Make sure you save this one for Hollis so he can read it as an adult.

My husband and I are contemplating a big move back home to live near both sets of parents -- I think having a baby has taught us how much our parents' hearts ache having us so far from home, and how much we miss them, too. Strange what babies can teach grownups.

Anonymous Anna said...

I agree---with everything! You said it so well, these crazy emotions we are having about these big three-year-old boys!
Thank you for sharing it.

Blogger Bon said...

i can barely type for all the snot pouring down my face because that was so beautiful, so sweet, so honest and good and nice...geez.

if you ever want to adopt me, i'm yours.

Blogger ivey elizabeth said...

This was one of the most precious posts I have ever read. Truly amazing and to the heart of all mommas.

Blogger Julie Pippert said...

Just so very beautiful and precious this post...like your boy. His newborn photo is so HIM somehow!

Happy birthday to him...and happy mother day to you. :)

Using My Words

It's so weird that Crusher and Bam Bam have the same birthday (he a year older). This is going to be so cute when they marry and make us many grandbabies. Many, many grandbabies. I'm just sayin'...

Anonymous Jenny said...

Stop. You made me cry. A lot.

So beautiful, my friend.

Blogger WorksForMom said...

Such a beautiful, sincere post (AGAIN, with fantastic photos).

Blogger Christine said...

happy birthday beautiful boy!

Blogger Part time Mommy said...

beautiful. Happy Birthday

Blogger QT said...

Happy Birthday! Tears of joy, mom, tears of joy ~

Blogger Amy W said...

Absolutely beautiful, Happy Birthday!

Blogger Ally said...

Oh, he looks so big in the photos, and ready for his new adventures at preschool. Happy birthday to your sweet boy.

Blogger Oh, The Joys said...

Happy Birthday to Hollis!

What a great tribute!

Happy Birthday Hollis!

What a loving tribute to that sweet little man!

Blogger KC said...

Happy Birthday to your sweet little man - not sure if I'll be able to handle the separation and independence so gracefully.

Blogger Mad Hatter said...

Oh! I'm late to the birthday party. What a beautiful post, LM.

Blogger PDX Mama said...

Trying to hurry and dab my eyes before someone at work catches me.

That was beautiful. I relate to it so very, very much.

Happy birthday little man!

Blogger Alpha DogMa said...

How to let go.
I'm coping with this issue.
How to make him fierce, but keep him safe. How to show my love without making him a walking ball of mother-smothering neurosis.
I feel your pain.
This was a wonderful post.

Blogger Binky said...

Happy belated birthday to Hollis, and happy anniversary to you as a mom.

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