What an auspicious day to be celebrating one's birth: The Autumnal Equinox!
Today I celebrate a birth that has changed me, has changed my life - and continues to change my life - more than I could ever dream or imagine.
Seven years ago today, I gave birth to my 10lb wonder. A person who, from the very beginning, made it abundantly clear that he is so much bigger than the body that contains him. There is so much that is BIG about Ryan. "Ryan": when it came down to it, I didn't even really want that name - even tried to change it. It appears, however, that the name really rather wanted him. They were meant to be together, the boy and the name. The best meaning that can be surmised is "little king". And it fits him to a T. He is King-ish. As an infant, he was high need; demanding - nursing every 30 minutes or so for his first few months of life, nor did he ever really need much sleep. Peering squinty-eyed back into the past, I see now that he (has always) had a general air of impatience; of being About Something. Can't sleep, have to hurry up and grow, need to get things done!
He really was and still is so big. He takes up a lot more space than most people. His movements, his sounds, his way of playing and being is high energy, intense - BIG. His way of speaking is big. (Seriously. His choice of words, his intonation - beyond his years.) Case in point: his teacher has told me that he becomes frustrated when other people in his class have questions after a concept has been taught. He impatiently yells "Oh, COME on!" when someone asks a question. Obviously, I've spoken to him about the inappropriateness of this response and also about everyone having a different kind of smart. (A never ending theme in our home culture.) This is the perfect example of how impatient he can be.
After having a quiet and ethereal person like Lauryn live with us for two years, his sudden burst of energy did indeed come as a staggering shock to me. I teetered, wobbled, grabbed for the sturdy. Figured him out as he careened ahead, leaving me in the dust.
As I said, "Little King" has changed me. Quite a bit more, I am positive, than I can possibly know right now and will only clearly see in that crystal clear rear view mirror of hindsight in about 20 years or so. Has it been hard as hell? You bet your bottom penny. And it has been good.
Witnessing this being; beholding the unfolding of this person is like nothing else. Ever. He is so full and overflowing with zest and zeal; with tenderness and caring; with curiosity and wonder. He is so many things, my Ryan. He is unforgettable. He is warm. He is obnoxious. He is tactical. He is a scientist. He is so very good with words. He is the whole bed of roses, velvety sweet softness complete with thorns and dirt... and rocks!*
Even though the stages seemed, themselves, to have lasted eternities, the years have quietly tiptoed by, never really attracting as much attention as some of those raucous hours and days. Now that they've gone, I miss them. I treasure those that are left. I love him a little more fiercely today than yesterday.
Perhaps the equinox is a good omen. Perhaps there is more balance coming our way; both to me and to him and to us together. Perhaps as I gently widen my embrace to accommodate more and more of my son and the hours, minutes, days with him - well... all the parts can fit and be held and be safe.
The Sun's "path" aligns perfectly with the equator today. After this, the days will be gradually shorter; the nights longer. I am experiencing a similar alignment with my own son's path today; his days, his nights, his seasons.
I am filled with gratitude for him. I am filled with delight and hope and joy for all the wonder and potential he his inside him.
Happy birth day, dear Ryan Michael. You have certainly changed the world as I know it; you expand the boundaries of possible.
I love you all ways.
*Disclaimer: I've always said and I still maintain that unless you've
had a child like Ryan, the journey of parenting him is hard to get. I
know my son; I've met other children like him; tagged with words like
spirited, intense, high-need - but never 'angry' or 'malicious'. Just
variations of 'big'.