Your birthday is tomorrow. I am writing this today because I am afraid I won't have time tomorrow. Tomorrow is pretty busy; Dad's got a ton of work, Super 1st has school, Super Preschooler has a morning playdate, Super Toddler has an afternoon playdate, it's supposed to snow and be ridiculously cold, and it's Ash Wednesday so I guess we have to figure out church and fasting and stuff. Better off just squeezing in your birthday celebration tonight. Yeah......squeeze it in.
Squeeze in your first birthday.
You get squeezed a lot, and I am not just talking about when Super T. wants to play "Mommy." Your baby book isn't finished. Someone else has worn all of your clothes before you. Played with all of your toys. Chewed up the corners of all your books. More often that I want to admit, I get your name wrong when calling you. You learned to feed yourself out of sheer need, and, let me tell you, the decision to just follow Super Toddler around and eat stuff she drops was pretty genius, You do a lot of things yourself; calmly, sedately, like it's no big thing to climb stairs and color and drink from a cup and do puzzles and get out your own shoes. Things we took a million pictures of Super 1st doing, I now notice you doing out of the corner of my eye. There are a lot of pictures of you, my darling, but there is usually someone else in there too. Trying to steal your thunder.
"Have you guys met my sister?"
She's kinda a big deal."
You are so tolerant of the chaos that surrounds you at all times. And it's no surprise, my love; you're a fourth. You know that being siblings is all a numbers game. There are your powerhouse firsts. Your daydreamy seconds. Your utterly outrageous thirds. And then, there's you. A fourth. A strong, steady, easy-going fourth. I don't need to tell you this; you're an unflappable fourth. You were born wise and patient.
Those eyes may be new, but they know it all.
I'll never forget it. You were one day old, and we were staring at each other in that hospital room. You were exploring my face with your wise eyes and I was delighting in getting to focus just on you. You outside of me, that is, with no feet in my ribs. It was blissful, and then I heard them. I heard them before I saw them; it was like a herd of elephants coming down the hallway. It seems that your sister had set off the alarm in the elevator and they were fleeing the scene of the crime. They burst into the room like a hurricane; flinging coats and hats and jumping everywhere all at once. They located the controls to the bed and began hitting things at random. The television blared on and the head of the bed flew up, taking us with it. I looked down at you, to make sure you were safe, and you were sound asleep.
Nothing keeps you from your beauty rest.
I don't forget you, because you can't forget your heartbeat, but sometimes I forget you aren't three like your whirlwind of a sister or five like your creative big brother or seven like your bossy biggest brother. I leave you all to romp and head off to put a load of laundry in. I am usually halfway through switching the clothes when I remember you aren't yet one. So, I go flying up the stairs and burst into the living room to find you happily sitting in a pile of Legos, three in your mouth and one up your nose. I scoop you up, flicking Legos off you and cooing my apologies, and you snuggle perfectly into that space between my neck and my shoulder, all forgiveness and joy. You never hold your fourthness against us anyway. You surf it like a blissed-out Matthew McConaughey (only slightly more articulate). You own your place in the family and smile all wise at us when we freak out around you. Because you are calm. You are even-keeled. You are completely in control. You are totally at peace with yourself and your surroundings. You are last in line, and you know full well that the plate will get to you eventually.
You even take down intergalactic gangsters like it's no big thing.
You are number four. You are the miracle of a square. You are the beauty of total balance. You are the magic of a four leaf clover. You are the final tire that makes the car run. You are the key member of the fantastic four, the Beatles, the A-team. You are the one to bring balance to the force.
And you deserve far more than being squeezed in.
Therefore, tomorrow is going to be all about you, my beautiful boy. There are many more days of work and school. There will be other playdates. It is cold and snowy every winter, and Ash Wednesday will come every year like clockwork. But you turn one just this once, so the world can just hang on for a second and everyone else can wait their turn, Tomorrow is yours. All yours. You get to go first. You are an outstanding fourth, my precious, but tomorrow, you are going to be number one.
I love you,
P.S. I am glad that I squeezed in writing this today, because tomorrow, all I want to do is get lost in the wise eyes of yours.