My sweet baby boy...
Ok, so I know you aren't a baby anymore. But I have news for you buddy. You will always be my baby! No matter what. Today you are six years old. You are officially closer to 10 than 1, and that makes me a little bit sad, but also makes me want to burst with gratitude. When I wasn't sure you'd live for six minutes, getting to keep you for six glorious years has been more than I could have ever hoped for, or dreamed of.
You are now old enough for me to tell you stories about when you were born, and your special heart. You know that you were tiny, and that you came into the world too early. And that mommy was worried about you, and scared. I often tell you that you are my miracle baby, and I think you are beginning to understand what that means. You know that Jesus gave you to us, and that you were a gift. I can only pray that you will take that with you your whole life, and do big things. I know you will.
You love to hear stories about yourself as a baby and young boy. I think your sister brings memories back to me, because I often see her do things and think of things you did, or didn't do like she does. You always laugh and say "what did I do?" and "then what did I do?" after the story is over! You enjoy seeing pictures of yourself and hearing about all the silly and cute things you did. You especially like that we called you a monkey, and that you climbed out of your crib (and you love to watch the video of yourself over and over!) And just for fun in honor of your birthday, I dug this out again! There are so many things about this that make me laugh. The monkey pj's (quite appropriate), the way you grunt and make noises the whole time but you never give up. That determination is something about you that has never changed. After you are out, your reaction is priceless. You are so proud of yourself. My favorite is the way you toss your paci back in the crib, because you know it's for night night time only. Oh my sweet boy, what I would give for one more day like this with you. (Pause the music at the bottom for Andrew's full sound effects!)
As I sit here, unable to believe you are six, I can't help but look back to six years ago. That scary but beautiful moment when you were born in the early morning hours on January 30, against my wishes, because I was certain that you wouldn't live coming into the world with a severe heart defect, and six weeks early. I can still see the doctor holding you up from across the room. There wasn't much time for me to see you, and we didn't even have a camera because we didn't know you were coming (this was way before iPhones!) but those short seconds are etched into my memory forever. I don't need a picture to remember, and I think God knew that I would need that first memory to stay with me always. Your full head of dark hair sticking straight up, your tiny little limbs flailing, and best of all, your cry. A precious, tiny little noise, but oh the best sound in the world. You were certainly the most beautiful being I had ever seen. My darling little 3lb 13oz bundle of pure joy.
I know I share this picture every year, but it is the first time I held you, and the first picture we have of you. I think it shows just how tiny you were because you can see the size of my hand in comparison. I just think you look like the most precious and beautiful baby in this picture, and so cuddly. I just remember holding you like that, not being able to believe that you were mine, you were here, and you were real. You were so fragile, I was scared to break you. But I treasured the few times I got to hold you before your surgery.
I was so blessed to be home with you your first year, and every single day was filled with joy and purpose. Nothing was more important than being with you, and I loved every single minute. Two open heart surgeries later, you turned 1! And what a blessed day that was!
Your second year I worked part time and enjoyed our time together just as much. Your 2nd birthday was so much fun to plan and celebrate!
3rd birthday- full of personality!
4th birthday- growing up! I think you grew a lot between 3 and 4. It was shortly after this birthday that you had your 3rd open heart surgery. And you flew through it like a champ... in only 4 days you were back home!
But then I see these next pictures and I just can't believe how much you grow right before our eyes.
My camera was on the wrong settings, but I just love this picture of you on your 5th birthday. My little dragon warrior. This seems like just yesterday to me.
Taken at your 6th birthday party (you weren't quite 6 yet!)
Andrew, this has been an amazing year for you. You have thrived in your role as big brother. You are protective and loving (most of the time!) to your sister, and you both love each other so much. It is a joy to watch. You graduated from preschool and we took you on a special vacation to celebrate- Disneyland and the grand opening of Cars Land! We all had an amazing time making memories- my favorite of which was a late night ride with you and daddy on Radiator Springs Racers. I'll never forget it. You officially learned to swim this summer. You started Kindergarten and have taken some time to adjust, but you are growing every day and learning that letters and sounds make words, and you are starting to read. It is amazing for me to witness. You are an amazing, smart, brave and beautiful little boy with a special, caring heart. You show such empathy and sensitivity towards others, and you have an appreciation for the things you are given. I have prayed that you would possess these traits as you grew up, and God has led you to be the special little six year old that you are. That He intended for you to be.
And daddy and I couldn't be more proud of you.
Happy 6th birthday buddy! We love you!
More pictures to come from your party last weekend...