I never thought of myself as a “mom.” I knew I could be a great mom, but it was never what I aspired to be. Growing up, my own mother always told me; “I always wanted to be a mom. That was the only thing I knew for sure that I wanted to be.” I never had the same volition. I was too pre-occupied with wanting to be the President, a doctor, a secret agent, an artist, or a social worker. I always had the mindset of, “if it happens, it happens.” I needed to be my own, before I could be anyone else’s. I never dreamt of soccer games, or mini vans. I never longed for t-ball games, or just to hear a little someone call me “mom.” Certainly, and as much as I love planning an event, I never really thought about throwing a birthday party – not until now. Not until now, now that it’s all said and done. Now that my boy is here, and he has somehow, so very quickly, reached the age of one.
Maybe it was selfish of me, as space as one of my favorite topics, but I gave him a space theme for his celebration. The theme was “ONE small step for man, ONE giant leap for mankind.” I made him a few different versions of posters just like this, with different space inspired sayings, so he could keep them and learn about what his first birthday was like. Somewhere between, “I’m not so sure the mom is for me,” and “I’m going to make him posters, a balloon arch, and cupcakes,” I found myself enveloped in him, and wanting so badly to make a day he wouldn’t even remember, perfect.
I baked him a cake, too big for his little body to devour, and I topped it with space men, and rocket ships, even though at the moment, he can’t comprehend what they are, or that they don’t belong in his mouth. There were stars on the table, and stars on the cupcakes. A rocket ship balloon in the corner, and star balloons on the walls. His balloon arch was excessive and beautiful, and as much as I loved it, I also knew it was entirely unnecessary. I let my imagination run, in order to make him feel some type of love years from now when he could recognize what I had done for him. Maybe I didn’t want to be a mom then, but I want to the best mom, for him, now.
The possibility for a life to change tremendously, can nearly be unfathomable, and I guess that is what he has done for me. I have always loved birthdays – I love the whole idea of them. Birthday’s to me say, “hey, I am so happy you were ever born, let’s spend the whole day celebrating that you exist.” This kind little soul, with bright blue eyes, wispy blonde strands, and eight teeth, has transformed me into the person I probably always should have been. As someone who came from such a place of severe dysfunction, family was a concept, not a reality, but he has made the word family, a life, not a word. Much like he caused me to react for his birthday, I typically react to him in such a fashion daily – the smallest progress, is the biggest event. Not because he is special, or better, but because he is mine, and as my first; he is my first chance to celebrate something that is existing in the purest form. He is my first experience with something so close to perfect – I want to bottle it and keep it forever, but I think I will soak it in and cherish it instead. As much as I would love for him to stay like this forever, I also can’t wait for the birthdays to roll in, and the human in him become more prevalent. I cannot wait to learn from him, and for him to learn from me, and to simply be more than his “mama,” but to be his biggest source of support and accountability as well. Maybe I’ll never do this again, maybe he will remain the “first,” and his first birthday will be the only first, but as this point in time, I am content with this, just as he is content with his daily dose of cinnamon raisin toast.
At some point in time, we all have a “first” with something. Having this boy has shown me the importance of firsts, the fragility of firsts, the depth of firsts, and the terrifying feeling of perfection that firsts can bring. As he is my first, and his birthday was his, as well as my own, first, I hope that I can find the same excitement and love in seconds, and thirds as well. With this being said, when love is attached, I think excitement will follow.