Dear Mr. Happy,
Sometimes a mother needs a moment to reflect. And be sappy. So I'll start with you. Besides your brother still needs attitude adjustments.
You were my first baby. Even though it wasn't a "planned" pregnancy, looking back I realize you were just what I needed. You came into my world and simultaneously reorganized my priorities. I like me more now that I am a mother. You'd have liked this me over the pre-mother me, too.
Honestly, I have loved every stage of your life. When you didn't sleep, your grandmother smiled with satisfaction at the payback I was getting. But as for me, I learned to hide the clocks (even putting electric tape over the one on the VCR) so I wouldn't know what time it was when you got me up (over and over again, on many nights). All you seemed to want was to be rocked and held. And after 9 months of being right under my breasts, it felt good to have you so close again. I can still hear the squeak of the rocking chair, feel the warmth of the blankets, and smell that sweet baby-clean scent that makes people swoon. With mixed emotions, I have to admit I miss those long, long nights.
When your brother came along two years later, you instantly seemed so much bigger. So much older. And I'm afraid in return, I lost a lot of patience. I remember thinking "if I could have just one day where no one cries, I'd be happy." And that day came and went and I didn't notice. What I would give to have one more poop-filled, snotty nosed, I neeeeeeed my mommy kind of day again.
You, however, waited it out with seemingly adult-like patience. You always were my sensitive one. When I was sad or upset, there was no fooling you. Once, you even followed me around with a box of tissues. And I felt guilty for you knowing I was upset. I wonder if one day a wife will appreciate this sensitivity in you? I hope so.
You were only four when your father and I decided our marriage couldn't be fixed. We worked hard to keep things the same through these drastic, life-altering changes. And, overall, you seemed to be okay. Sadly, you did lose some of your openness by shutting out some people who wanted to be in your circle. But those who were in got the benefit of really knowing you. To the others, you seemed sullen, moody and unreachable. They just didn't know.
The years seemed to race by giving no hesitation to my thoughts on stopping the merry-go-round to take a moment to reflect. The pictures in my mind all flash in sync like the ultimate photo story. School, sleepovers, riding a bike, baseball, soccer, trips to the beach, braces, a trip to New York, band, driving, going to school dances, going to Europe.
Once, after Mr. Strong and I had been dating for a couple of years, he told me you acted like the man of the house. And I knew it was true. I didn't ask you to take on that role. You just did it by default and I worry it was too heavy a load to carry.
And while it hasn't all been peachy-keen, it has been our story. Still, your wisdom and patience amaze me. You are wise beyond your years. Thanks for being someone who will talk to his mother. Someone who never quit saying "I love you" even when his friends were around. Someone who was kind to all people. Someone who wasn't so into what was popular. Basically, thank you for being my son.