i've got a kleenex in my hand. ok, a box nearby. i'm lying i have the box in my lap. i'm a crier. i can't help it.
do you see that handsome little face up there? that's my Mark Patrick.
he's my baby.
my man child.
he is a miracle.
he is a gift.
he holds my heart.
he is a riot.
he is kind.
he is fearless.
he has a laugh that spreads through a room and wraps everyone else in it's wonder.
he is more than i could have ever hoped for in this life.
he is probably my last kindergartener.
this day, this first day of kindergarten, snuck up on me quick.
last time i remember reminiscing, he looked like a baby. heck he WAS a baby, right?
see how tiny he was? he was a preemie you know, born almost 5 weeks early. but from that very first day he was out of the womb, we knew he was something special. before i knew what was happening, Mark Patrick was growing up before our eyes.
and i've thought about these days with my sweet boy; these days of growing up with so much happiness and love bursting out of every memory. he's been so ready to go to big school. he's been so ready to grow up. he's been SO READY. i, however, have NOT been ready.
the weeks leading up to this day felt very familiar to me. they were almost exactly the same emotions coming from every angle as when Norah was about to go to big school. i started getting anxious. and antsy. and sick and nervous. i cried each time he needed an extra snuggle at night. my eyes got misty each time i got a kiss on the cheek for no reason. i found myself beaming at him more than usual, saying "I love you" to him more than 100 times a minute.
and then, just like with Norah, it was time to buy school supplies. it was time for backpacks and lunch boxes and new school clothes. it was time for the night before school. it was time.
Mark Patrick and i made his lunch and he put it in his new camo lunch box, just so. making sure to arrange everything just as he wanted it. it was bedtime shortly after. i tucked them in. kissed their heads. got one last squeeze. and i walked out of that room and lost it y'all. this wasn't supposed to be here yet! this wasn't supposed to happen so fast! that backpack will swallow him whole, i thought as i couldn't look away from it. and then the spinning started...
the panicked trip to the hospital on March 23, 2008. something was wrong. i was in labor and it was too early.
the first cry.
the first smile.
the first time he nursed.
taking him home.
making all his baby food, solid foods, laughing, crawling, two fists full of passies and one in the mouth, walking, potty training, those blonde curls and bottomless blue eyes. knocking out the front teeth. busted lips. birthdays. preschool.
life. love. memories. i saw every single minute i had ever experienced with him and i cried.
my baby boy. he's just so wonderful and perfect and contagious. you can't meet him once or really look at that face without loving him. it's impossible.
he started school. and as my heart and my soul ache for my baby today; i also can't express the pride and satisfaction knowing that we have lived to see this growth in him and with him. he's perfect.
last night at the dinner table, i prayed instead of asking the kids to say grace. i prayed for my kids to use their mouths to be kind to others, for their hearts to be open to new friends, for their ears to open for listening and learning, for the teachers that i am trusting with my most precious gifts.
cause really y'all... it's not them walking away from you on the first day of school that makes it so tough on a mama and daddy. It's knowing that you are walking away from them, trusting someone else to love your kids and keep them safe, and letting them be independent. THAT'S what gets me.
Happy first day of Kindergarten, Mark Patrick. I love you so.