About 10 years ago, on the eve of my mom's birth/death-day, I dreamed about her playing with a toddler-aged boy in the backyard of my childhood home. I watched from a distance, wondering who the child was, until my mom picked up the baby and walked toward us. The baby had strawberry blond hair that shimmered in the sunlight, fringy curls around the ears. His head was nestled into Mom's shoulder a bit so I could only see it in profile, but I clearly remember the round cheeks and button nose. I asked where she found him. She smiled and said simply, "This is your son."
Mind you, this dream took place long before I even thought about having children, but I recall waking up feeling comforted and calm, settled into an understanding that everything in my life was going to be ok. It was the first peaceful, happy sort of dream I had after Mom's death, and the baby was just perfect.
Fast forward to March 2010. My newborn son slept on my chest in a dark, quiet hospital bed in the middle of the night. A tumultuous few weeks had led up to that day -- Chris's layoff, shifts in childcare and routine, anxiety over this new addition to our household. But in that dark, snuggly moment, a peace swept over me; I held my brand new healthy baby in my arms, felt his breath on my skin, wrapped his tiny hand over my finger. And in that perfect, precious moment, I knew everything was going to be ok. I felt whole and connected and completely calm. There was a presence in that room greater than just me and my baby.
I looked at that baby the other day while we played outside, the sun glinting off his strawberry blond hair. He was laughing at his brother's silliness, clapping his hands, and his big blue eyes sparkled. He looks just like my mother, you know.
And it occurred to me: This is the son she introduced me to all those years ago; the child I never even thought possible is really the boy of my dreams.
Happy 1st birthday, Baby J. Thank you for bringing so much joy into our family. Thank you for reminding me every day how blessed I am. And thank you for reintroducing me to the wonder in small moments. You really are a dream come true.