Sometimes I don’t know how to start these birthday reflections. How do you sum up a year of your child’s life? So much happens, and so much goes unnoticed as well. But I do my best. I always re-read what I wrote the year before to help get my thoughts going. But this year, it just didn’t spark anything. So I looked back at the last photo album I made for him on Facebook, and scrolled through all the Ollie-centric photos. And it hit me. I know where to go from here.
While Ollie has changed immensely in his 7 years (HOW the fuck is it 7 already??!), a few things have remained the same. A few core qualities that makes him ever my boy. My little heart. And he really is. He’s my heart.
I have the unique benefit of having only two kids, and one of each gender. So in my mind, I can have a favorite daughter and a favorite son. 🙂 And while I truly don’t have a favorite child, I do favor each of them for different reasons. Lily is my sidekick. She’s the sassy, fierce, outspoken other half of my brain. She is so much like her father that I also can’t help but adore her as much as I do him. And of course, she’s my first-born. She will always hold a special place for making me a mother.
But Ollie…Ollie is my sweetheart. He’s my cuddles, and smiles, and soft heart. He’s my sensitive soul. If I’m upset over an injustice or worried about an animal, chances are he is too. And we take solace in each other for that. He’s so much my soul that I can’t help but love him a little differently for it. He’s my baby. My last-born. And just like his sister, he is held in different esteem in my mind for that.
And if you look back throughout his photos, you will find very few photos where he isn’t smiling. Where he isn’t just radiating love and joyfulness. You’d think the kid was a libra with the way he likes to keep the balance, and how he’s always worried about everyone being treated fairly. He’ll offer you the last of everything, and practically force it on you because he wants you to be happy. He’ll willingly share anything of his that he has with you. He has to be reminded a lot that it’s ok for him to have his own things. That it’s ok to not give everything to everyone sometimes. He’s just that giving.
And his loving, light-hearted manner goes even beyond just that. Because he likes to see others happy, he goes out of his way to make us all laugh daily. Now, sometimes it’s because he’s so completely oblivious and goofy about things. Sometimes he really is an airhead, and that gives us lots of chuckles. But it’s usually because he just loves to see us laughing. He takes great pride in being our funny man. He makes up jokes, puppet shows, songs, crazy scenarios with his toys, and dance routines meant simply for our entertainment. Truthfully, he’s happiest when everyone he loves is happy too.
And speaking of songs and dances, he is still, 7 years later, the biggest music lover in our family, other than maybe Joshua. He has always loved hearing music, even as a baby. And he’d always naturally swayed to the music or busted some goofy moves. But now, he requests songs, or when a song comes on that he likes, will loudly proclaim, “This is my jam!” And he’s got quite the mix of preferences. From a babyhood and toddlerhood spent listening to metal and hard rock with Dad to later years spent listening to more booty-shaking music with Mom, he likes it all. And if it’s just us around, he isn’t afraid to shake his tail feathers. My favorite is when Josh and/or I are making dinner while playing music through the speaker in the kitchen, and he comes dancing through the dining room. He doesn’t give two shits if his moves are “cool” or even coordinated for that matter. This kid just feels the music and moves. His unrestrained joy in dancing makes me so damn happy. I wish he’d take dance lessons, but he’s still a little too shy to dance around others. Perhaps in the future he’ll realize it’s all good, but until then, I encourage him to dance whenever and wherever his heart tells him to.
And because the yearly reflection wouldn’t be complete if not totally honest, I will mention this past year has been a little trying in some ways. Some behaviors that I’m not fond of have crept up, just as they did with Lily around this age. We joke that we’ll like him again in a few years when he’s matured some more.
He hates hearing “no”, and will sometimes get overly upset or angry when he’s told he can’t do something. Sometimes that anger turns to hitting his sister, which is something we’re working on. His emotions, good and bad, aren’t always in check. And his disregard for our requests to keep his room and playroom clean have caused more than a fair share of disagreements and punishments. And holy hell, his lack of focus and ants in the pants can be trying on my best days when trying to teach him. Sometimes I just want to pick him up and shake him or put horse blinders on him.
But you know what, at the end of the day, he will never fail to apologize. Because, ultimately, he doesn’t want to cause stress or strife. And the thought of anyone being upset with him is too much for him to bear. I think it truly hurts his soul. So, while I may grow tired of hearing, “I’m sorry” and still experiencing the same situations and behavior, I do appreciate how caring and concerned he is. You can’t be mad at that little face when, with tears welling in his eyes, he tells you how much he’s sorry, doesn’t mean x, y, or z, and do you still love him. And the smile he gives you when you reassure him for the umpteenth time that you could never not love him, is pure perfection. And to know it’s meant just for you…well, I feel like the luckiest damn mom in the world.
And so, My baby boy–no matter how old and big you get, my dear, you will ALWAYS be my baby boy–I wish you the very best of birthdays. I hope your Cheez-its for breakfast and Moe’s for dinner fill your belly with empty calories and happiness. You give all of your family so much love and happiness each day of the year that we hope we can give you a sliver of that tomorrow. So, you be silly, and absent-minded and downright loud and obnoxious if you want. I wish I could freeze time and see your smile with that missing front tooth gap when you open your gifts forever. I wish I could keep you small and in a hug forever. I wish I could swaddle you back up and watch you sleep on my chest. But I can’t. You’re forever in full momentum forward. What I can hold onto is the fact that you are you. Have always been you. And so far, life hasn’t had any effect on changing you. I hope tomorrow is just another day of happiness, laughing, and dancing to whatever music makes you happy, my love. It’s your lucky number 7 year, and i hope this next year will bring you nothing but the most amazing things. Happiest of birthdays, sweet boy of mine. I love you more than you know.