Before you were born, we knew you'd be something special. You weren't expected, you weren't planned, you weren't counted on. But you were hoped for. Prayed for. Dreamed of. Having been told for years that you simply "couldn't be", that I shouldn't get my hopes up, I had to keep telling myself that you were real. Every second of every day of every month, I reveled in the changes my body was going through, as those changes meant you were really there. I would watch your little foot travel across my stomach, and I'd laugh out loud. You were never still, always moving. And I loved every bit of it. You were my miracle.
And then you arrived.
You were never content to be like the other babies. You were always one step ahead of every other baby we knew. You were rolling over at 6 weeks. Sitting yourself up at 3 months. Crawling at 4 months. Walking at 9 months. Talking in simple sentences before you were even a year old. Everything fascinated you, and everything about you fascinated me. Everything about you STILL fascinates me.
When you were almost 5 years old, you were so excited to be planning for "your" new baby brother. You did have a brief moment where you told me you had decided that a baby wasn't right for us, and that maybe a puppy would be better; but you came around when you got to see him on the ultrasound. And when, three weeks before Bug arrived, we were reminded just how precious you really were to us. That fall out the window, and your walking away from it, reinforced to your dad and I just want a miracle you truly were.
Kindergarten brought you a little more independence. You didn't rely on me for everything anymore. That was so exciting for you! And heartbreaking for me. But I didn't realize the pride that I could feel watching you grow in school. Always the first one to make friends with the new kids in class, always the one who stood up for the underdog, always the protector of innocents. School has never been just about the grades you can get, or the sports you can play; but about the beautiful heart that has grown and developed.
Watching you with Bug when he was so tiny filled me with so much joy. You never noticed that he was born "different" and not like the other babies we knew. You treated him like the precious, unique little boy that he is. He was your buddy, and your shadow. And you still get very upset when people refer to his "birth defect", reminding them that he's NOT defected, just different.
We've grown up together, you and I. In the beginning, it was you and me against the world. I now know it is totally possible for your best friend in the whole world to only be 2 years old. You had this way of looking at me while I was talking; I felt like your soul was listening to mine. You were my comfort, my joy, my heart. You are still one of my favorite people to spend time with.
As you've gotten bigger, you've moved from games on the living room floor to games on a much larger playing field. While I've always been a sports fan, I never knew I could find such beauty in watching an athlete. You are so full of grace out on that field, that it still surprises me, and yes--brings me to tears, sometimes. And while you might claim in front of your friends that you can never hear me when I'm screaming like a loon up in the stands, we both know that you know I'm there and that I'm cheering you on.
This next year is going to be both incredibly long for you, and amazingly short for me. In one year, you'll no longer need me for yet one more thing. Once you're driving, you're more independent. I have to warn you now, baby.... I plan on milking this last year of your dependence on me to its fullest. It boggles your father, but the current $4.25/gallon price for gas doesn't make me near as heartsick as you turning to someone else to take you where you want to go.
You are 15 today. I know you know that. You've been counting down the days for so long now. I want to tell you to slow down, don't grow up so fast on me. But then I want to encourage you to spread your wings and fly. I want to wrap you in bubble wrap and make all of your decisions for you; but I want to watch how your incredible mind works as you learn from your mistakes and become a better person for them. So really, I'm not going to beg you to slow down. Its your time. Your time to move forward boldly. Your time to stretch and grow. Your time to become the man I know you will be. Just please, don't speed so quickly past me that I become nothing but a blur in your rear view mirror.
Happy Birthday, Jock. You're still my miracle, and I love you.