Eight years ago today, my world changed. I became the person I always dreamt of being. A mum.
The first born, without doubt, is special. Or rather, a special and unique experience. It's not that they're more special than the siblings that follow them, or that those sibling's births are not as amazing...it's just a time, and an experience, you will never have again.
The thing I remember the most about how I felt once my 8yr old finally arrived in to the world (after a rather "challenging" birth) was looking at him in those first few hours after he entered this world, lying next to me in his hospital bassinet, and thinking, 'He's really mine. I made him. He's part me, and part Hubby. He is my baby.' And I could barely believe it. You see, for me, the first pregnancy was all about, well, the "pregnancy". I spent so much time focusing on what was going on inside my body, and how that affected me, and how I felt about it, that by the time the 8yr old was born, I hadn't spent much time thinking about the fact that there was a, you know, baby that was going to be joining us at the end of the pregnancy. (And interestingly, when I had the very first scan during the pregnancy of my second son, I remember seeing him in there and thinking, 'Oh, the poor thing. He/she must be lonely and doesn't know yet I'm here!' Which sounds kinda ridiculous, but for me, it was my baby in there. All alone. The focus wasn't so much on me that time, but on the baby.
And believe me, when the 8yr old arrived - Hubby and I were smitten.
And although he can be challenging at times, it doesn't mean we love him any less for that. He just has so many other wonderful and positive traits.
He listens. If you tell him he really shouldn't do something, and he knows you really mean it, he won't. He has a conscience, that's for sure. (Makes for a good Catholic, huh?) He has always been pretty patient with his brothers (for the most part). For example, when the 6yr old was little, and the 8yr old was around the age of 2 to 3 years old, he would sing to the 6yr old to stop him from crying. And the day I threatened to leave the 6yr old at the park if he didn't come and get in the car, and I started the car with the 8yr old and 3yr old strapped in (who was a newborn at the time) to show the 6yr old I meant business (bluffing, of course), the 8yr old cried and begged me not to leave his brother!
When the 3yr old is acting up, he'll try and distract him by calmly diverting his attention to something else. And he'll sit and read the 3yr old a bed time story any night I ask him to; and will listen to the 6yr old read his school reader, and help him with the words the 6yr old struggles with.
One time, the year before last I think, I took all three boys and a couple of other boys from school to the park to meet up with a bunch of school mums. I had a lot of stuff. The stroller with the 3yr old strapped in. A bag of food. Drink bottles. A rug. Nappy change stuff.
As all the boys jumped out, all incredibly excited to meet up with their friends as soon as possible, and I was standing there trying to work out how I would carry everything, the 8yr old suddenly stopped and turned to me and said, "Can I help you with anything, Mum?" I couldn't have been more proud, and he gladly took a bag I gave to him to help ease my load.
He's smart. And even though if you met him, you might think him quite serious at times, he actually has the best sense of humour. Even though I'm not a big fan of the kids watching The Simpsons (can't help the toilet talk issue), the 8yr old just "gets" it.
He loves documentaries and sport. It's not unusual to find him on the couch on a Saturday or Sunday morning, with the rugby on, rather than the cartoons and kid's shows on the other channels.
He's in to Pokemon, and spends quiet time in the mornings before school drawing and colouring them.
Like me, he LOVES stationery. Smiggles is his favourite store. He loves to read, play his DS and hang out with us. Board games, a play in the park...whatever...as long as we're all together as a family, he loves it.
He won't let me kiss him goodbye at the school gates at the moment, but he's happy to have his goodbye kiss early at home. And if he spies me walking past the school at any point during the day (it's down the road from our house), he gives a wave and a smile, and I know he's happy to see me.
And this morning, when we gave him him birthday present, he opened the card first and asked me to read out what we had written. And when he opened his pressies (a Wii game and three books), he was so happy and thankful. A gift to us.
Yes...he will always be special to us and today is his special day.
Happy Birthday young man. We love you and can imagine what a fine gentlemen you will turn in to someday...