I really can’t believe it’s been 4 years since you were born, on a dark yet warm night in Mannheim, Germany. I remember how anxious I was to meet you, how grumpy I was because it took so long for you to come, how my last meal before you were born was Taco Bell with spicy sauce, and how my first meal after you were born (10 or so hours after the Taco Bell!) was a Planter’s energy bar and some chocolate (man was I ravenous!) You didn’t come into the world easily. In fact, you had one of the most difficult births ever for our strong, confident German doctor. I had no idea what I was doing, but I felt so blessed and so excited to have a baby boy! And look at you now. You’re getting tall & thin, you can do more and more “big boy” things every day–even pick up your baby brother yesterday…much to my chagrin! You alternate between seriously sassy and downright mouthy, to super sweet and loving. You love all things on TV right now, but mostly Octonauts, Peppa Pig, Mickey Mouse, Chuggington, Jake & the Pirates, and the old standby, Thomas & Friends. Dad & I try to limit your TV but it’s tough. And your appetite lately… boy, I don’t even want to know how much you’ll eat 10 years from now! You alternate between eating like a bird, and eating like it’s going out of style. You’ve been such a sweet big brother to Asher. I know your world was rocked this year when he was born, but you handled it like a champ. You’ve been my helper (except when you flat out refuse to help) and you’ve been a big pain in the booty too. You remember everything and sometimes I think you’re too smart for your own good. You tried out soccer this year, and didn’t quite feel comfortable. Your dad bought you a T-ball set and you tried that too. We also signed you up for basketball. You’re not overly enthused about any sports, so we aren’t pushing it. You’ve gone on a couple runs with me, but you peter out after 1/8 mile or so, although one day you made it nearly 1/2 mile with me (I was impressed!) I love that you love books, you love your baby brother, you love to laugh, and I love that you whisper sweet things to me before bed. Your favorite time of day is “tickle time” right before bath time (also my most trying time of day!) I think you’ll always be a momma’s boy, one who looks just like me but acts like his daddy 🙂 I love you with all my heart, Gabriel, and I really can’t imagine life without you. I wish I had written you a note like this every year on your birthday, but better late than never, right? Here’s a collection of my favorite pics I took of you this past year.
You were the cutest fireman on Halloween, the silliest skinny dipper this summer, and the most tentative kid in the cul-de-sac when it came to snow days (“It’s crunchy!”) You helped me plant sunflowers and a garden, and you loved watering the plants with the hose. The green boots were your favorite, but they fell apart (got my $10 worth!) so I got you some new Elmo ones, even though Elmo hasn’t been your thing for a few years now.
You’ve been a real challenge… a real learning experience… a true joy… and the biggest blessing. You are one of my best and proudest accomplishments (and Lord I hope you turn out OK! haha) After you were born, I just stared at you with wonder. How did I create this beautiful little person?
The first year was hard. God, was it hard! We lived in our flat in Heddesheim, Germany for 10 days after you were born, before the movers came. Daddy left for his new job in GA, and we waited for your passport… for 6 weeks. In a hotel. Just you and me. Thank God for our friends or your momma woulda gone nuts! Then we moved to Georgia where we didn’t have many friends, and I continued my MBA and tried to figure out how to be a good momma. I tried cloth diapering. I nursed you until you bit me too many times, then I stopped when you were 7.5 months old and began buying pricey formula. You had up-the-back poops regularly. You were always quick to learn the next skill, and before I knew it you rolled around, then crawled, then pushed your wheeled things (or your basket!) all over the house. Our 10 months in GA flew by… I stumbled through it in a sleep-deprived haze. I’d like to think I cherished every moment, but I don’t know if I did. I went back to work when you were 10 months old. Then got the job in NC, and so we waited until your 1st birthday was done, and we moved.
You had the cutest, craziest, most amazing curly hair… it looked just like mine. Only better 😉 You took the move in stride, finally started sleeping through the night (weeks/months later), and started going to daycare. That was rough on me, but again, you adapted. You joined the 2 year olds when you were 18 months, and suddenly came home talking in sentences (“kick the ball!” “read the book” “watch the TB” & all kinds of cute phrases). We took bike rides together, with you in the seat behind me. I’ll never forget the bike ride where you pulled down my shorts and laughed hysterically, as I tried to pedal home without the neighbors seeing my @$$! Then, before I knew it, you were 2. In love with Elmo, and memorizing Dr. Seuss books.
The terrible 2’s weren’t really that bad, looking back. You’ve been far worse at age 3! We went to the beach when you were 2, and you loved it. Right before I got pregnant with Asher, we went to Tweetsie Railroad, and we all had such a great time. You loved trains… still do, but not like back then. The excitement on your face was worth every penny of that ridiculously priced ticket. I’m making myself cry now, with this reminiscing. It’s just gone by so damn fast… stop growing! Then you were 3…
We had a Thomas-themed birthday for you. You were so darn excited about the Thomas balloon at breakfast. You have grown so much this year. You were potty-trained at 2 1/2, but only with peeing. You finally started to consistently sleep all night without wetting the bed… then your brother was born, and you started waking up for no reason. It’s been a hard year for you, making room in your heart for your brother, and not always being the center of attention. You switched daycares, but you were so brave. Some days were brutal, dropping you off and you cried and screamed. You give me a hug and kiss these days, and wave at me down the hall. You are so brave. You love puzzles, and trucks, trains, toys, books, any kind of little knick-knack. Chocolate, desserts, protein bars–anything with sugar, really. I could type this all night. I pity the fool who’s read this far–just kidding 😉
On the eve of your 4th birthday, I just want you to know how proud I am of you, Gabe. I love you with a fierce kind of love that I never knew before having you. You are truly unique, and you’ll always be my baby, no matter how big you are.