Tomorrow, my baby boy will be five years old. The baby who made me wait 40 weeks and four extra days for his arrival into the world. The baby who stretched my stomach until the 50 pounds I gained rendered it unrecognizable. The baby who stalled on delivery day and had to be forced by a vacuum and an episiotomy into the hands of a doctor who had predicted an eight-pound baby and shockingly caught one who weighed 10 pounds and nine ounces.
Joey made his big entrance on January 3, 2001. And since that day, everything about him has been big. His emotions are big. His energy is big. His demands are big. His imagination is big. His heart is big. He is big. He weighs 55 pounds, wears size 7 jeans and size 10 jammies. His shoes are size 2 Wide. Somehow my big baby boy is now just a big boy. The baby who once needed constant comforting now comforts me. He told me the other night as I tucked him into bed, “mommy, I like your hair that way.” I thanked him, my heart overflowing with love for this guy. He told me not to change it. I asked him what he meant and he said, “don’t let it grow. I like it just like that.”
The baby who once needed constant care and attention now picks out his own clothes, brushes his hair and teeth, can make his own cinnamon toast, rides a bike with training wheels, and is content to play quietly for an hour in the yard with his new pirate ship. The baby who grew to be a shy, reserved, sensitive toddler has evolved into a child who, despite his delicate personality, plays beautifully with his preschool classmates and thrives in his school routine.
The baby who once was unknown to me — hidden in my tummy and offering up only kicks and tumbles — is now the boy who has warmed my heart and softened my soul. He fills my whole body with joy (and sometimes frustration and anger too). He has changed my whole world, my whole being, my whole life.
I am still in awe of Joey, all these years after I first held my new baby boy. He is beautiful. He is amazing. He is five.
Photo: me, my first baby boy (Joey), & my second baby boy (Danny, 2 1/2)