Birthday letter to Rowan on his 4th Birthday:
Dearest Baby Boy,
Another year’s tour of memories has spun through the viewfinder…I click, click, click to review your year…I can’t help but smile at your world, a circus of bright palettes of colors and the dazzle of light beams filtered through your blue, blue eyes. Your yellow delight. Your bright green wonder. Your world in red gift wrap. I have my own slideshow to review. Because I’m older, mine is a bit sadder & filled with deep, tugging pulls of longing for all the things I want to change with all the energy I don’t have…However, there is one memory of you from this year in particular that hits me somewhere gutty, somewhere deep where words kneel in poses of uselessness to the feelings they are too inadequate to express…It is the place within me that I love you & your sister most, where my cells call you mine own.
It was the day before Mother’s Day and I was imbued with sadness. Completely swathed in a nighttime blue velvet of depression, I was completely prone with a bony knuckled kind of grief. You and your sister wanted my laser beamed attention & I was doing my grit-teethed best to respond, but failing. You laid in bed next to me, playing on your tablets. Your sister kept asking me to tickle her. You kept wanting me to play with you. I wanted to, but there were too many vultures perched on the driftwood thoughts in my skull. Finally I said, “Mommy is just a little sad today, guys. When Mommy is less sad, she will play with you guys….” My profound sadness, my bottomless ocean, my journey to the center of the earth…how I hated to map it out for you…
But you, wonderful little you…
Your immediate response to my sadness was to take my face in your cherubic hands. You looked at me and said, “Mommy, I love your eyes. They are blue & pretty. I love your teeth. They are pretty. I love your big nose because I love to honk it. HONK. I love your mouth when you wear lipstick & smile, it is so pretty.”
In that moment, even through the dense thickets of depressive briar, I remember thinking, “My son’s instinctive response to someone else’s sad detachment from the world is to invite them back into it.” You could have tantrum’d or gotten mad at me for not playing with you…but you showed me compassion, made a grocery list of some things you love about me. I couldn’t have loved you more in that moment had I tried.
I can’t describe the feeling it gave me to know, that despite all the Everything Else in my often too-complicated life, I somehow managed to bring something fiercely wonderful into a world that is so bankrupt in compassion: a person who is all heart and determined in their mission to love others…You are a rare bird, a precious commodity of love, Rowan…And you are perfect just as you are.
My wish for you is that you never lose that–your pure desire to love others. Love wholly. Love hard. Love till it hurts. Love till it heals. Love because you were made to. Love because sometimes it’s all we have in the world…And it’s always more than enough. Love like you just woke up from a dream where you saw heaven & it looked like everything that was already inside you. Because it already is, love.
Happy birthday, Blue Eyes.