In the past 15 years (YIKES!), I have had every childhood dream come true. I cannot pinpoint the exact moment I realized that the chain of events was set into motion, but I cannot believe how wonderful the ride has been so far.
First off, to Hubby:
I remember the day that we first met, so long ago. I remember your kind smile and thinking that everyone should be greeted by a smile like yours; warm, inviting and just a slight bit devilish. There was an easiness between us that just felt right. When our interest in each other became more than just platonic, there was a certain amount of fear on my part. Could I succumb to this delicious, intoxicating lull that was love? Could I really say that I loved you and not be marked in some way? No, I could not just say it and not be changed. The fact that you had chosen me, even at just nineteen, was a gigantic leap of faith. You were a guy, in love with a girl, and just wanted a happily ever after. There was no trepidation on your part, and you simply caught me. You saw further than I could imagine...and in your eyes I saw a forever that made me feel cherished and equal. Because of you, I changed for the better. I became less defensive, more accommodating, more silly, more able to laugh at myself and my craziness. You gave me an empowerment that I had never known, and for the last fifteen years, we have stood side by side, certain that our strength together can overcome all that life has sent our way. Fears, job concerns, long shots that beat Vegas odds...together, we have withstood all of them, stronger, more in love, and deeply loved by the other.
Among all the gifts that you have bestowed, you have given me three beautiful sons. Yes, beautiful, because they are truly the best parts of each of us. They are a constant reminder of what true faith and a lot of love can produce. So I say to you, with all my heart; let's stay in this moment and enjoy...the best is yet to come.
To my Andrew:
You were the first real miracle that I had ever been witness to. When I first looked into your newborn eyes after months of waiting for your existence, I knew that I would be hopeless in my love for you. You changed me in so many ways. With you, I became a mother, without any idea of how profoundly that would shake me to the core. I know that there is still much that I need to learn. We are learning from each other, pushing each other's boundaries, finding our way together. You are brilliant in ways I still cannot comprehend. Your capacity for learning is something I envy. And yet, I think that of all my children, you are the most like me. You are a paradox of devilish, boyish humor, and wisdom that takes a lifetime to achieve. Know that every time I look into your eyes, I see boundless possibilities. You are my gift from God and I love you dearly!
To my darling Max:
You are the one who looks most like me, but reminds me so much of your dad. I watch you struggle between being the younger and older brother, the one in the middle. Yet, of the three of you, you have had the most courage. You are constantly analyzing those around you, thinking of how to fit in, how to please. I want to see you stand on your own, strong in your sense of self. I want to help you find the voice you keep silent to find your place among your brothers. As I once told you, you were sent to be the most important brother; you try to bridge the differences that separate you from the others. You are so bright, yet are humble. Kind, but not willing to take anyone's nonsense. You have an incredibly sharp wit, and are quick with the one liners. You are a series of contradictions, yet you love with your whole heart, without reservations...Life will reward you with a great love that will be as boundless as your very own heart. You have had my heart since I gazed upon you when you entered this Earth. You are my strength and my inspiration and I love you dearly!
And my littlest angel, Ryker:
You came to us the way the sun brightens a somber day. You came to us against all odds, and you have brightened every day since the day we knew you were on your way. Even though you are the youngest, you have an old soul. You are wise beyond your years, and your ability to comprehend things that should be above your head is astounding. You came to us at a time when we were pretty sure that we wouldn't have another baby, and in that way you taught me that all that is important cannot be rushed. It must come in its own time, at it's own pace, so that the anticipation gives way to acceptance and joy. When I look at you, I see all that Daddy and I have prayed for, a healthy son whose very presence in our lives has been the cause of so much joy. I know that of all of you, you will be the one to handle hardships with patience, acceptance and humor instead of frantic worry and overdrive in trying to remedy the situation. You are just so perpetually and infectiously happy. You have taught me that all you really need is love and faith. You are living proof of both. I love you, peanut!