Happy Birthday Cassius Milo. My big (but littlest) man. My partner in crime. Your Daddy's "mini-me". My little buddy. My smartest little quarter.
Four years ago, before I became your mom, I pictured today a whole lot different then it turned out to be. I envisioned a gush of water. Hard labor pains. Your Dad high-fiving everyone he passed in the hospital hallways. Passing out cigars. Cutting your cord while wiping his "Nah, just got something in the eyes" man-weep. Standing over the shoulders of anyone wanting to hold you making sure they were being gentle enough.
That's definitely not how the story went. At least the first couple of things...
After being induced and having 36 hours of HARD, intense labor, two and a half hours of pushing so hard I pooped on the delivery table ..... I gave up. You were a stubborn little guy and you weren't going to make this easy on anyone. I opted for the c-section. I just couldn't wait any longer to meet you. The doctors put me asleep while they worked on getting you out. 9:06 am. Cassius Milo Dietrich Topinka was born. 8 lbs 4 oz. 21 inches long. Only one problem. You weren't breathing. Which meant your Dad never quite got the chance to say hello. But the doctor said this was a good thing because you decided you needed to go poo while still inside of me. I told you you weren't going to make this easy on anyone. After finally getting you to take a breath your Dad was told he could come say hello. I was still out so he took the camera over so that I could watch it later. I still have a hard time watching it. Heck ... I'm having a hard time writing about it. You were finally a pretty pink color instead of purple. But your nails were still black. You were grunting from trying so hard to breathe and you couldn't cry because your lungs were still trying to work. But you were fighting. After you were finally breathing on your own they wheeled all of "us" into recovery until I woke up. I will never forget the first thing I heard. The nurse was giving you a bath and I heard you start to cry. It took everything in me to wake myself up to see you. I couldn't quite get my eyes open yet but I remember stretching out my arms and saying, "My baby!! Is that my baby?!" Your cry was the sweetest, most precious sound I had ever heard. Your Daddy brought you over to my side and said, "Hi mama....". And finally ... I opened my eyes. I saw my angel for the first time. Your nose. Your mouth. Your ears. Your tiny hands that fit so perfectly in mine. I asked, "Does he have 10 fingers, 10 toes?" "Yes", answered your Dad. "He's perfect." And that you were. You were all mine. To hold and kiss whenever I wanted.
But here's where I get real with ya kiddo....
We didn't know what the hell we were doing. It took us a few months to finally get into the swing of things. Long nights. Endless days. I was clueless on what to do with a newborn. How to talk to you without sounding like an idiot. How to play with you without looking like a robot.
But some way. Somehow ...
Elmo turned into Spiderman.
Busy Town turned into Transformers.
Baby Einstein turned into KISS and The Ramones (bypassing The Jonas Brothers and Justin Bieber .... which for that I will buy you candy anytime you want).
Mega Blocks turned into Legos turning into more intricate lego sets.
Crying turned into tantrums turning into whining.
Diapers turned into "All done!" turning into "I need privacy, please".
I still don't know what I'm doing but I do know one thing. No amount of little boy sweat (or future teenage body spray) will ever mask the smell of baby lotion that I still smell when I kiss the top of your head.
In the blink of an eye my baby boy turned 6 months, then one, then two, then three .... and now FOUR. What happened to my little baby?
I still remember the first time you smiled, the first time you crawled, your first word, your first tooth, your first steps. I just can not believe that you are now FOUR and your own little person. I really enjoy the little boy you have turned into. I love the fact that we can have conversations about everything and I love spending one on one time with you. I always tell people that your personality right now is between a very silly/goofy/ornery 4-year-old boy and a very serious/mature 20-year-old.
I can't do anything to stop the time from passing but I know that I can cherish every moment you are learning, loving, growing, playing, exploring, and smiling.
I hope that someday you can experience as a parent the magic, the wonder, the excitement, and the endless unconditional love you have brought our lives.
How does a four-year-old have the perfect words to say? Like that one day I was not feeling my best and said under my breath “Ugh, I look disgusting today” and you over heard me and quickly said ” Mom, you look beautiful!" I remember how hearing that from you made me realize that no matter how bad of a day I am having, you will always turn it around for me.
I guess I have a lot of hopes for you. I want you to be an awesome man in this world and always try to make the right decisions. I know you will slip here and there but, knowing your heart, you will always work through it. I want you to one day fall in love and treat your wife the way you treat me. Always make her smile and always have those perfect words. I want you to succeed, I want you to have big dreams. I want you to achieve them. You are so very smart and eager to learn. I don’t want you to lose that. I do not want you to fall into temptations. But, I know that if you do, you will come to me for advice or help. Or just for me to hear you out. I want to always have this relationship with you. Even though you are just a little boy, we get each other and have an awesome relationship. I know when you are upset, I know how you need a little space and I know exactly the right time to speak to you. You have a lot of feelings and emotions and often you bring me to tears with your worries. But, as you grow, I want you to learn that somethings are not worth being worried about. Don’t stress yourself out over things you can't control.
I thank God everyday for the blessing of giving me such a wonderful, smart, sweet, and loving boy. You've changed my life for the better and helped me become the person I am today. As much as I hate to see you grow up .... I really can not wait to see the great man you will become.
Happy Birthday big boy. Here's to many more crazy dances in the living room. Silly made up songs. Tents in the living room. Sidewalk chalk artwork. Water gun fights. And Disney dreams.
Now go do your thang, son. Your Dad, your brother, and your Mom have your back ..... and we always will.