Our sweet Bodie,
Your first two handed birthday. I know you had a hard time understanding what we meant by that when we said it, but you'll just have to trust us, it's pretty cool.
Wasn't it just yesterday that I was pregnant with you, that we were learning about how there was something wrong with your tiny, walnut sized heart? When we toured the cardiac ICU for the first time and thought "how will we ever survive this, spending even one night in here?"
And yet, here we are, 6 years (and many, many nights - and days - spent in that cardiac ICU) later. And here you are, the bravest little boy we know. We are so blessed we get to call you ours.
I know as parents, we're supposed to be the ones teaching. And we have.
Or, at least we've tried.
You can strip a bed really well now, although remaking it still continues to be your Mt. Everest. And at least twice a week you magically forget how to put on your socks and shoes (somehow, it becomes a task fit only only for an individual celebrating a double digit birthday). But you have finally mastered underwear, so there's that.
And yet somehow, you have taught us even more. In your early years, your infancy and toddlerhood, you taught us resilience. You taught us fight and bravery. You taught us to trust God with this tiny human being, and to trust others to help you when we couldn't. You taught us to revel in the beauty of life, to find the magic in every day. You taught us what our limits were, how far we could be frustrated before we could break (and, well, let's be honest, you're still teaching us that - you're kind of an expert in that area).
The past year, you have taught us even more, maybe even more than you did in your entire first 5 years of life. This was the year where you started to move outside the protective confines of our family, of a preschool, and out, just a bit, into the real world. Where you weren't the kid to be treated with kid gloves, the kid with a heart condition. You were just another kid. A little boy obsessed with Legos, Star Wars and paramedics.
When we got back from Boston last August, we weren't sure where this year was going to go, how you would do in school. The challenges before you seemed so daunting. But I remember daddy telling me
"Just give him a chance. He's always risen to the occasion. I have no reason to think he won't this time, too."
And you know what, Bodie? He was right. You have totally risen to the occasion this last year. You have stretched and grown this year. So, so much. You have shown us that, no matter what you bring to the table, no matter what happened to you before you got there, you bring your A game and do the best you can. And you enjoy the heck out of it while you're doing it.
Gah. Your joy for life is unreal, kiddo. I don't know where you got it from, but I thank God for it every.single.day.
This was the first year that you didn't have a birthday party where we invited a bunch of heart families and reveled in what a miracle you are. Because, of course, you are, but you don't need to dwell on that too much these days, lest you think it's an excuse on the whole socks and shoes thing. Instead we did a joint birthday party with your friend Garret, and invited only school friends and just did a regular kid birthday party.
And it was pretty awesome.
You're starting to grow up on us, just a little bit.
Last night, you told me "mama, I don't want to be 6. I like 5."
I know, buddy. Change is weird and unfamiliar. Tell me about it, kid. If daddy and I thought 5 was hard, where the statistics and survival rates stopped for kids with your heart condition, 6 is even harder. We're kind of into this weird abyss, where we don't have survival rates anymore and things might be really great or they might not. So, you know "go have fun and live life." It's weird and unsettling for sure.
But you know what? It's also so so amazing. You're our pioneer. We get to watch you do things we didn't know you would ever do. And we can't even put into words the pride we feel when we see you doing those things.
And we love every inch of you.
Well, except for the inches that won't help clean the house or put your socks and shoes on.
Because, seriously, dude. I don't care how many heart surgeries you've had, you can't walk around barefoot forever.
We love you so much, buddy.
Mommy & daddy
Happiest of Birthdays to a super duper guy. So proud of you Bodie!