Eighteen years ago, on this day, the most amazing thing happened and life, as I knew it, changed forever—all because of you.
We had waited for you. Prayed for you. Hoped for you. Dreamed about you.
It was Valentine’s Day.
The day that is so much about love. It was a perfect day to be born, really. Because having a child, becoming a mother, is like having a big old truckload of love poured into your heart until it is so full and so big for your body, that it explodes into a bazillion confetti hearts that flutter down all over you and cover you with love on the outside too. You just become one big ball of ooey gooey love covered in confetti hearts, all melty and messy.
Yep, it was just like that.
And there you were, my precious boy—my heart walking around outside my body, and I was never the same.
We have watched you all these years, grow and laugh, struggle and cry, persevere and mature. You are becoming a man. And it breaks my heart and fills me with so much joy and pride.
You are an incredible gift from God. Through all your struggles, you have taught me so much. You have taught me compassion, gratitude, patience, and flexibility.
Because of you, I’ve learned that things don’t always work out the way you planned; sometimes things work out better. God’s plans and ways are so much bigger and better than mine, anyway.
You have taught me that when one way of doing something doesn’t work, you try something else. And you keep trying until you find “the thing” that does. I’ve learned how to fight for you and be your advocate.
I’ve learned that “normal” is overrated and that doing things in a way that may look completely nuts to other people is okay. I’ve also learned not to care what others think and to listen and smile and nod when people offer “helpful” advice. I’ve also learned to accept advice that is genuinely helpful.
I’ve learned that it is okay to let you do things in your own way (not all the time, of course! *wink*), because we don’t always look at things the same way. And hey, you’re a pretty smart guy, so you know what you are talking about. But I’ve also learned to push you to try things that might be scary or difficult (for all of us!). And I’ve had to push myself as well. We’ve grown together—you and Daddy and me.
You are kind, compassionate, brilliant, sensitive, persevering and hilarious. You are so strong. You have worked so hard to get to where you are, to overcome some challenging obstacles. You amaze me. I have no doubt that you will make your mark on this world and that the world will be all the better for it. I know I am.
It’s gone by so fast. Eighteen years. How did we get here? My heart still explodes with that same confetti love each time I look at you, at that face, those eyes—those brilliant hazel eyes. Just like the first time I saw you on Valentine’s Day 1995.
I could not be more proud to know you and call you my son. You are more precious to me than you could ever begin to know.
Happy Birthday, Jacob.
I love you. With a big old truckload of bursting-heart-ooey-gooey-confetti-love that is messy and beautiful and wonderful.