Mr. B, you are God's special gift to me. Your dad and I knew we wanted two children, but we had a dilly of a time conceiving you--it was just one fiasco after another. Miscarriage, stupid pre-cancerous growths in the ol' girly parts, and a giant cyst on my neck. In fact, when I'd given up hope of having a second child any time soon, I scheduled surgery to remove that giant cyst--maybe God would bless us in another year, you were already 2 years behind our schedule for planning our family. Then, during my pre-surgical exam a few days before I was to go under the knife (and escape the shame of the giant goiter requiring neck scarves and turtlenecks), the blood test showed I was pregnant! With you! We bagged the plans for the surgery, forged ahead with building our dream house, moved and you kept growing and growing inside of me. (The cyst kept growing, too.)
In dramatic flair very typical of you, we were born at 11:59 p.m. eight years ago today. You've lit up our life ever since, and here are some of the reasons why:
1. Your distinct sense of style. You've pushed the fashion envelope since you were a toddler in your yellow rain boots and Batman cape. You're the most dapper kid in the Midwest.
2. Your sense of humor never quits. It was tough to discipline you as a toddler--you chuckled all day long. How do we get on your case when you're grinning and teasing the whole time you're being naughty? Mr. B, you're a round of daily belly laughs.
3. You're a worker. Whether learning to read, mastering karate forms, perfecting your baseball swing, you possess the grit to knuckle down and improve. You're happy to teach yourself and practice things until you get them right.
4. You're a team player. Everyone loves you, middle child, and it's because you get along with everyone. You encourage people, you accommodate people, you play fair, you include others. You're the only kid on your flag football team high fiving other kids for good blocks and telling them "Good job." The result of being sandwiched between two brothers in the birth order? I don't know, but it has served your personality well.
5. You're confident. You're comfortable alone or in a crowd, you're easy in your own skin, never self-conscious, never afraid. You approach people without any fear of rejection, you smile at strangers. Last weekend at the zoo boo, you gave your favorite ghouls on the haunted hayride enthusiastic thumbs up and shouted "Great job, buddy! You were really scary!" To ghouls! Who were strangers to us!
6. You're creative. Like your brothers, you make your own fun, come up with your own version of what to do. This shows in your art work, in the things you build with your toys (whole cities, ramps for Hot Wheels stretching across the hallway, catapults for stuffed animals), and in the stories you tell.
7. You're becoming one heck of a little athlete.You swim like a fish, slipping through the water fast and efficiently. In karate, flag football, basketball and baseball you've upped your game. You've lost the hesitation and learned how to hustle. Your coordination has improved and you listen to your coaches. I confess, until this season, I've never enjoyed flag football. Watching you play this year is fun, because you're kind of a little stud out there, getting tackles, blocking, even running in touchdowns.
8. You overflow with enthusiasm (except for first thing in the morning--you've never been much of a morning person). You run into life, arms wide open to catch it, your face beaming with pleasure. Mr. B, you are pure joy.
Happy birthday, Mr. B. I love you and hope eight is as great as all the other years you've been around. You were worth the wait.