Three years ago today, I sat in that hospital bed in labor and delivery waiting patiently for the moment that Oliver would arrive. I was hooked up to the monitors, IVs in my arms, blood pressure cuff on the other side. As we watched the needle jump higher and higher, Ryan would let me know that it was a big one. He didn't need to tell me, they were my contractions - I didn't need a computer screen to tell me how big they were. But I let him tell me anyways, if anything he may have been doing it for himself.
The moment they placed Oliver on my chest, that was it - I was hooked. He was mine and I was his. Forever.
Oliver, you made me a mother. I will admit that I was so very scared when the nurse handed you to me and said, "Here he is, your baby boy!" There have been some rocky roads between us, but every day we learn a little bit more about each other.
Looking back now, bringing you home was the easy part. The feedings and late night diaper changes were simple. Now that you're almost three, your father and I have been trying to raise a person, not a baby. A person who will go out into this world and be something. This is the hard stuff. Because I have no idea if we're making the right choices. There is no manual that tells me what to say during situations. There is no manual that tell me how to react or how to fix it. I just have to go by my gut and I'll admit to you, sometimes I don't make the right choice - sometimes I let emotion guide my decision. Sometimes I am so wrapped up with what is going on in my own world that I forget that this is all new to you. And exciting, and you just want to share your excitement with me. Yet, you're forgiving and understanding. You love me anyways - faults and all.
On this thrid birthday, we have watched you grown into a child. A little boy, no longer a baby -- but always my baby. You are sweet and so very funny. There are moments when I look at you and see your father. It makes me happy to see how much you are like him. Yet, you are sensitive and observant. For a child - this amazes me. Its almost like you have a sense of when someone is hurt or sad. You will go out of your way to try to make them feel better. You heart is huge Oliver, please don't ever lose that.
Watching you is like looking into a mirror. I have to be careful with what I say and do, because eventually you end up doing it too. You don't know any different, you're learning from me and your father. But we don't always make the right choices, and we need to be a little bit more mindful on how we react to certain situations. We're only human Oliver, and we make mistakes too. I will always admit to you if I was wrong. You will learn by my words and actions and if anything I want you to learn that you are loved and are lovable.
You are courageous and compassionate. Keep that, don't lose those qualities that make you, you. Life will be hard sometimes and throw things at you that will make you question everything - hold on to that compassion. But mostly, be compassionate with yourself first. You deserve that. As for the courage, don't ever let fear stand in your way. You have the courage now, as a child - don't lose it as you grow.
You are an old soul, Oliver. Full of kindness and love. Our lives were so very blessed when you entered it. In this family we will always encourage you, to be yourself. On your third birthday and always, we love you -- the most.