Third Birthday

Monday was the Boychick’s birthday. My third anniversary of the joyful day when I birthed him.

And oh, was it full of joy. Once I could bring back in my body each of the sensations — the pressures, the muscle tightenings, the gasps and words and shouts and whispered pleas, the rush of joy that washed over me and through me, the shock of seeing him see me for the first time — but only a few remain now. Feeling spread apart, shoved open as he sat, head and shoulders out, waiting for my womb to expel the fluid that once cradled him, so it could finish helping him out. Laughing, joy-filled tears mingling with the bath water on my face as I pulled him into my arms.

From that day, that hour, I’ve wanted a full-body recording, wanted to go back and feel it all again exactly as it was, with just that baby, my little love. Each moment messy perfection. Each overwhelming pain itself overwhelmed by the joy, the rush of love.

Three years, now, since it happened. He didn’t nurse that day, waiting until he woke up after the first 24 hours then latching on like he’d done it forever. He didn’t nurse this day, either, but now because he’s done, and he never will again.

That day I held him in my body, deep within me, for the last time. This day I tossed him on my back and wore him again (“like when I was a baby!”), for what — I am aware each time when, every few weeks, he asks for it — may be the last time.

I could hardly believe he was real, that day. He was him (that shock when I saw him seeing me — there was an “I” there, looking back at me, which I was expecting-but-not-really), a being so dependent on me but so completely his own.

I can hardly believe he is so grown, this day. He is he, himself, a person who tells me stories and disagrees with my opinions, and wants to say even more than he knows how, as I hear him start a sentence again, and again, then grins when he gets it right.

I have never been able to tell the story of his birth. I can tell snippets, only. This moment. Those sensations. A time line constructed after the fact. There was simply too much — too much feeling, too much doing, too many arcs, too many stories all happening at once: beginnings, endings, middles, all braided together. How do you tell that without it unravelling?

I will never be able to tell the story of his life, because it is not mine to tell. He is at the age, now, he is building memories he will recall always. Snippets, pictures, moments. I can help him construct his time line, of what I can remember, what pieces I have managed to scribble down. But the stories he will create of now, I do not know. I may never know. I weave the larger strands of his life in these years — choose where he spends his days, choose the strands around for him to pick up or leave behind — but he will make of this weaving something I cannot now imagine.

So to my Boychick, my kid who insists on being called that and nothing else (not even the beautiful name we gave you, not even my child, not even my little love, not any of the hundred names we whispered in your tiny ear three long years ago): I love you. I have loved you since before you were born, since before I knew you. I loved you the day you looked me in the eye, when I first met you. I love you today, when you never hesitate to tell me when you think I’m wrong. I will love you when you are so much bigger still, though I can’t imagine who you will be then, other than you, always so very you. Of me, my baby forever, but never mine.

Happy birthday.

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17 Responses to Third Birthday

  1. Happy birthday, boychick
    You made me cry.

  2. Beautiful. Better than a birth story, really. Happy birthing day to you and happy birthday to Boychick. :)

  3. Happy Birthday, Boychick! Arwyn, you’ve put my heart in to words here, too.

  4. B’awwwww. I’m tearing up over here. Happy birthday, little Boychick. <3

  5. I had to stop reading so the shivers would quit. Excellent!

  6. Yes. That. For both the times I gave birth. So special, so sweet, so universal and yet so very, very personal. Happy birth-week to you all.

  7. Lovely. So, so lovely. Happy birthday to your Boychick, and happy birth-ing day to you.

  8. Aww. Beautiful. Happy birthday boychick xx

  9. Happy Birthday Boychick!

    It’s a cliche, but I really can’t believe how much and how quickly they change. My daughter is just past 2 and is starting to actually converse. And when you describe how you interact with your now-3-year-old son, it reminds how much she’s going to change this year too. Mindboggling!

  10. Belatedly, happy born-on day Boychick, and happy mothering anniversary Arwyn!

  11. I was just realizing, in a muzzy sort of way, that he must be turning 3 right around now. Happy birthday to you both. Enjoy this time–I suppose it can’t be always true, but it has seemed to me that 3 is a very charming age. You, for instance, and your brother–both wonderful 3-year-olds. I think it has something to do with partaking of both babyhood and childhood in just the right mix, or some such.

    Love and hugs.

  12. You made me cry too, in a good way. :) Happy birthday to the Boychick, and happy birthing-day to you!

  13. Happy birthingday to you you, friend, and happy birthday to the kid! <3

  14. That was just beautiful and so captures the emotions and love between a mother and a child. Hold on tight because they don’t stay little forever. Today my sons head reaches my chin and I look back remembering when he sat in my lap.

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