Birthday Wishes

Happy birthday to my, not my BABY baby, my first baby, although he isn't so much anymore--a baby.  He is 12.  TWELVE.  How is that even possible considering it feels like only a few years have gone by since we brought him home.  I know, people tell me all the time how fast their childhood will go.  I get it...I'm getting it.  I'm so excited to watch him (them) grow and change and learn new things and like new things, but I wish too that I could just bottle up time and go back whenever I wanted and drink it all in again and again.  I guess that's kind of what this blog bottled up time that I can open up and recapture and remember.

Waking up to breakfast in bed on the special plate! 

It's always a family affair.  Today, Dad made breakfast, Josh lit the candles, Mathilda carried the tray, Benjamin gave Jakob a gift of his own stash of treasures--a "Benjamin" name card and a ReMax key chain!  :)  We all sang happy birthday of course!

We didn't know if Jakob was going to be a Jakob or a Mathilda until the doctor informed us as he layed him on my chest all slimy and a little purple, crying with all his lungs that faint little newborn cry.  Instant love connection!  I didn't want to give him back to be weighed or cleaned up, I just wanted to hold him and get to know this new little life that I had been talking to for the previous nine months.  "Oh the dreams I have for you little boy."  That was early on a Monday morning and for the rest of the next two days, our hospital room was buzzing non-stop with excitement.  The first Stricker grandchild.  The first great-grandchild for both of my grandparents. The first Andreasen boy grandchild.  We had lots and lots of visitors, and when we took him home, we were the proudest parents in Crete. 

Our world would never be the same, and we would never dream of going back.  I have shoe boxes filled to the brim with the hundreds of pictures I took each week.  (That was before digital.) Now you're a young man.  **SIGH**

Spaghetti and meatballs, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes and gravy, mixed veggies and of course chocolate cake for dessert!

Candles with colored flames...oooooh!

Special guests:  Annie and her friend Amy came out for dinner and cake to celebrate with us.  (They are in town for clinical rotations for the week.)

I drive by this hospital...St. Elizabeth's...routinely.  Just seeing the building makes my heart skip a beat.  I have happy memories of bringing babies into this world just beyond those windows.  At night, when the cross is lit up, it may just be an illuminated cross to some, but to me it is a beautiful reminder of all that is good and the excitement I felt as we walked sometimes for miles and sometimes for minutes to progress labor right underneath of it, and the physical pain of delivering a baby and the overwhelming happiness that made it all worth it.  I've felt that way about it for 12 years.  (I need to take another picture when ALL of the lights are working!)  Just remembering as I type makes me think I need to dedicate an entire post to the details of what I feel when I see this building.

Dear Jakob,
"You are my favorite Jakob in the whole wide world."  Maybe you remember me saying that to you all the time when you were little.  I haven't said it for a while.  It's still true.  You favorite Jakob in the whole wide world.  You push my buttons and drive me crazy.  I used to read the book "Love You Forever" to you and I could never make it through the whole thing.  Still can't, especially now, thinking that I will totally be that mother that sneaks in to your house at night to cradle my adult son and rock him and love him.  I watch you grow up and I am so happy and sad at the same time.  We joke about you living next door when you're out there on your own with a family or whatever God calls you to be, and having you over for dinner every Sunday and to watch the Husker games on Saturdays and whenever you want to come.  It's no joke...I hope you do live close--I hope you all live close and that we can fill three or four pews every Sunday at church.  It seems like that is so far away, yet you turning 12 seems impossible, so I know it will be here soon. 

I am so proud of you.  You're so smart.  You've always been so smart...from talking in fluent sentences before you were two, to cracking adult codes, to using words that they may have been teaching in junior high when you were five.  I've always loved to watch you learn.  You have a way of charming people with your obnoxious yet genuine love-for-life spirit.  You push my buttons because you are just like me and I want to fix all of my short-comings before they are yours.  I wouldn't trust you to be in the same room with a cookie jar, but I could leave you in charge of our family for days and I know you'd all be just fine. 

You're a fabulous big brother, a gifted athlete (not so much a gifted dancer--you can thank me for that too), creative, artisitic, hard-working and reverent.  You can be anything that you want to be.  I love that you want to love God, that you want to serve him and that you want to be what He wants you to be.  I love the boy you are and the man you are becoming.  I thank God for choosing me to be your mom.  He got it so right!  Happy birthday Jakob.  I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my baby you'll be.

Love,  Mom