My dearest Benjamin,
When your eyes open tomorrow morning, you will be five years old. I still remember the day you were born. The day started out like most others, I woke up very begrudgingly as I was too uncomfortable to sleep much the night before. I felt a little nauseous, and so I decided that this morning I should stay home. I spent a nice morning with Jacob, until your father took him to daycare. Every ten minutes or so, I started feeling sick again. After calling my doctor, I realized I was probably in the early stages of labor. I was due to deliver you the next day, so the timing seemed very appropriate.
After your daddy dropped your big brother off at his preschool, he and I started walking around the neighborhood blocks, discussing what life would be like with you around. We worried about how Jake would adjust. We worried a bit about how I would handle two kids in the same household, (because after all, I was the only child in two houses growing up, and I couldn’t imagine what two in just one would be like.) We discussed the odds and ends of getting the house ready for you to come home, where we had put your car seat and what whether or not we still wanted to name you Benjamin Edward. Mostly though, we just held hands and thought excitedly about how nice it would be to hold a little baby again.
In the early afternoon we decided to head to the hospital, because I had been having contractions all day but nothing was really happening. My doctor, Dr. Reeb-Alba, was waiting there to see us. After checking me out, she decided I should stay in the hospital. She joked that she thought you’d be born around midnight. The nurses laughed and said that you would be born in the morning. But I was impatient, and I thought you would be born that day before I went to bed. Hours droned on, and eventually, merely hours before you due, I delivered you, the very day I had insisted you would be coming. The nurses were all shocked that you had come to be so soon. Dr. Reeb-Alba wasn’t as shocked, but she was concerned you had exited too quickly, because you were too cold. Though the nurses had you half way down the hall and on the way to the nursery, doc had called to them to let me meet you first.
You looked soooo small. I only got to hold you for a brief moment before they took you away. I know that you had a lot of dark black hair, and you were smaller than I had expected. You looked so perfect though. I was so reluctant to allow them to take you, but I knew that you and I both needed some extra help to recover from the delivery. Much later, I got showered and got dressed and came down to meet you. Several hours after you were born they decided to finally weigh you, and at that point you were 6lbs and 9oz. You were a little over 19 inches tall. You had all of your fingers and toes and your head was shaped nicely because you were born so quickly. You looked a lot like I did when I was a baby, with tons of dark hair and a round face.
However, you did not act like me. From the very beginning of your life, you were patient, unlike myself. You were relaxed and chilled, and the nurses would come to me to wake you up to feed you, because you would sleep so long. You were good at nursing immediately. You rarely cried and when you did, it was never insistent. Perhaps you have your father’s temperament. Perhaps you are, and always have been wise beyond your years and you know that life is not a race to the finish. You have continued to grow slowly and cautiously, curiously and carefully. You seem to notice each little nuance of life, and you already know how to appreciate the simplest of moments. I hope you realize early in life how big of an asset that ability is. I have spent the last 5 years trying to master what you have inherited so naturally.
Patience is not the only lesson you’ve taught me. You taught me a most important fact of life; People do not have a specific amount of love to use up, but can create more love by loving at any moment. It was never really a question of whether or not I could love you as much as Jake, but whether my heart would just burst open because it was overflowing the moment we met. You can never use up all your love. The more you use, the more you get, which is a pretty amazing cycle, really. You also have showed me a softer, gentler side to Jake. As much as I loved him, I have only learned to love him more, because now I know he can be a most excellent big brother in addition to being himself. And you were happy and patient when we were stressed and learning to adjust to these lessons. And, you have always been forgiving when I took longer than necessary to realize how perfect life is around us.
You were a perfect baby. You have grown to be such a handsome, sweet young baby boy. I love playing with you. I love how you can make time stand still and you can make me appreciate little things like eye squints and nose puckers and lip smackers. I love how you can laugh at the simplest of jokes. I love how you hug. I love that you love it when I read to you. I even secretly love cuddling you in the middle of the night when you are frightened, and I know I will miss that terribly one day. Sometimes I look at how you’ve grown and watch you looking thoughtfully at everyday objects I tend to overlook. I wonder what the future has in store for you. I wonder how you could possibly become more wise than you already are, and I am excited to see how you will continue to inspire happiness and kindness in the world around you.
Thank you, Mr. Benjamin, for being such a wonderful son and for teaching me so many valuable lessons.