Wow! So, Sunday you turn 18. 18 years old! 6,570 days, give or take a few for all of the leap years, or 157,680 hours old. How did you already get to be 157,680 hours old? Sounds like a lot of time, I know. But, I can assure you, it has flown by faster than I would have liked it to.
I remember the day you were born........ Don't roll your eyes. Humor your 'ole mom, will ya? You started to make your entrance into the world at 2:30 that morning. Your Grandma called the police academy and asked them to tell your Dad it was time. I started to get ready for your birth. I went in and curled my hair and put on my makeup. (I had seen photos of mothers looking a wreck after giving birth and I had no intentions of looking like that in our first picture together. I was 21 and stupid, of course.) Your Dad was four hours away and still beat us to the hospital! Clearly, he was not as concerned about us being fashionable parents as I was. He was wearing maroon sweatpants, black socks and a red ARMY sweatshirt. What was he thinking? Anyway.....He called the house in a panic and your Grandma explained that we were still at home waiting for the contractions to come a little closer. They were very mild and still pretty far apart. I thought to myself that this whole birthing thing was going to be a piece of cake! Boy, did you have me fooled!
We made our way to the hospital around 8 that morning. I was excited and ready. You, on the other hand, decided to take your sweet time in making your appearance. I think you had decided that you weren't so sure about the whackjob of a mother (aka ME) that was about to raise you and decided to maybe just stay inside forever!
I remember watching the coverage of the Gulf War on the TV in the labor room. Hoping your Dad would not be called back into the Army. It was bad enough that he had decided to become a police officer, which scared me to no end, but at least he would be here, in the US, to help me with you. And trust me, I needed all the help I could get!
There are a couple of things that I did during your birthday that I'm not really proud of or have any explanation as to why I did them. I blame it on the fact that I went through this whole thing with no drugs. AT ALL. Not by my choice. Because when that first, really hard contraction hit, I started screaming for the drugs! I was told I wasn't far enough along. And then when I was far enough, it was too late to give me any.
Anyway...I sorta put your Dad in a headlock. It was in a moment of pain. Really. I whispered something to him and as he bent closer to hear me, I choked him and said if he ever did this to me again I would kill him. Like I said, I'm not proud.
I may have also called the sweet, labor room nurse a bitch - under my breath, of course. She kept telling me to take deep breathes and I kept telling her to find the doctor. I wanted drugs dammit! Sorry, again, I'm not proud.
Just as I was sure that you were finally ready, about 10:15 that night, I went into the bathroom - midcontraction, half stooped over - and touched up my makeup. I had been a little sweaty and my hair had started to clump on my head, and I thought a little lipstick would do the trick to brighten up my haggard appearance. Chalk that one up to being 21, stupid and no drugs. Ok?
At 10:29 you finally came out. You were this little, blue shriveled thing and the most adorable baby I had ever seen. At that moment, all of the pain faded and I started to cry. I had never experienced that feeling in my life. To look at a person, for the first time, and have so much love for them.
They wheeled me out of the delivery room. By this time, I was sporting the Alice Cooper look. My mascara had run down my face and I was a mess, to say the least! I was glad we had forgotten the camera. (This would be a prelude to the many important times in your life when I forgot the camera!)
The hospital saw the way we looked, me as the haggard rockstar and your dad as a fashion nightmare and still, they let us take you home! Many times, throughout the years, I would try to take you back to that hospital and demand a refund! There was the time you were helping your Dad "fix" the toilet and you whacked it with a wrench and busted the tank, water gushing everywhere......the night before your Grandma and Grandpa were coming to visit us at the new house for the first time. Then there was the time that you showed your friend how you would use the mini-bat, that the smoke alarm salesmen left at your house, to bust out the window if ever there was a fire. The times you and brother almost killed each other. Why would you push him off of the sky fort? Just because he had a towel wrapped around his shoulder, he was not Superman! I also remember the first summer I let you and Beaver stay home alone, while I went to work. The fights. The calling, "Mom, Beaver won't.....", "Mom, Wally keeps........" Remember when I had enough and told you I would be right there and hung up? And you two little heathens locked the door on me? Remember that? Yeah, well I want to apologize. When I finally made it in the house and muttered under my breathe that I couldn't wait until you were grown, and out of my house, I wasn't being serious. It was in the moment of a mother's frustration.
I didn't know that you would grow up. That you would grow into this amazing young man. The young man that everyone wants as a son or wants their daughter to date (that's what your coach said, if he had a daughter.....). I'm lucky enough, that you are my son. You have a willingness to help others and put them first. Don't ever lose that, son. It speaks to the kind of person that you are, the character you have.
Soon, you will graduate and be off to college. You'll do what I had muttered under my breathe all those years ago - grow up and move away from home. The tears that will come, aren't so much from pain, although it does hurt to see you go, they come from pride. I am so proud of you. I can't put into words how much you have brought to my life! You'll understand. Someday. When you have kids.
I love you, son. Happy Birthday!