For Andrew on Your 9th Birthday...
Today, for you, is a day of uncontainable excitement. A day of celebration, of pride in knowing that you have successfully graduated from being 8, of soaking up all of the affirmation and love being poured out upon you. It is a beautiful day. Turning 9. The clock ticks. The hands of time pushing you on toward 10. And, it is all going by so very, very fast.
Today, for me, is a day of remembering. I will look into your rose flushed face all day long and see the baby boy grown big and the big boy who will one day be a man. And, I will hide behind a smile all of the fragility a mother feels in those glimpses, reassuring you that today is, for me, also a day of celebration.
I remember with great clarity the day I discovered that you were alive within me.
Your brother Benedict, only 8 months at the time, played at my feet on the carpeted floor of our tiny apartment, and as I watched him I couldn't stop repeating through tears of delight that he would soon have a sibling. He would soon have you.
I wondered how I would manage with two babies so small. I wondered, as my womb was stretched, if my heart too could be stretched with more love, love just for you. And, I wondered if my lifetime would be enough time to tell, to show you just how much I do indeed love you.
Andrew, every day that I get to be your mom is a most wonderful gift. In you I see God's light, manifested in your stillness and your actions, your words and your silence, your smiles and your tears.
I cherish your joyful spirit, the one that draws others close enough to you so that you can embrace them in your arms and raise them up on your strong shoulders. You're always watching out for the little ones, always ready to help, ready to give up a little something so that others might receive, always there to encourage at just the right time, always trying so very hard and wanting to do what is right.
Your dreams right now are to become a professional football player and then a priest. I see how your eyes beam with hopeful confidence when you talk about this. Whatever dreams may fill your heart, I believe that God has a very special plan for your life, for your strength - physical and spiritual.
You teach me so very many things....someday we will sit on the porch together and I will tell you about every one of those things. And, we will laugh, and I will ask you the same question that I have asked you every day since the day you were born, "Andrew, have I told you today that I love you? That you are my most favorite Andrew in the universe?"
I hope that your answer will always be yes. If someday I forget to ask, please promise me that you will still remember how very much you are loved.
Happy, Happy Birthday!!