Oh my sweet, crazy, little Charlie,
A week ago, I found myself sitting on the front steps thinking, “how in the world are you going to be four next week? Four. 4! You’re going to be 4!” And those happy little tears of joy, they came right along with those thoughts.
The following day, I found myself sitting in on a panel, sharing your story. Almost four years worth of your story. Projecting your hells and your victories, to a room of strangers. And every person in that room listened with “Awwws” and “ohhhs” as I shared. None of them fully being able to understand the pain and triumph those hells and victories hold for us.
Sometimes, I let my brain forget all of the hells, it’s rare, but it happens. Like yesterday, when you played for your biggest audience yet at your birthday party.
That was gold, and my heart, for that small bit of time, let all of those hells take a back seat.
And this morning, when you added your metal touch and screamed “blood on your face, sick disgrace” as you jammed out to We Will Rock You, all I could think was, “boy you’ve rocked the shit out of a lot of things.”
The truth is, for you, getting to 4 wasn’t easy. We’ve gone to battle. Time and time again.
I’ve handed you to a surgeon, knowing what could happen, knowing the odds, praying for miracles as I let you go. And every time, you rocked it. I’ve watched your sats drop as you became lifeless, trying to catch your breath, fading into the night, but you weren’t done rocking. I’ve listed to you scream as I held you down for procedures. I can still picture every detail of your tiny body withdrawing from narcotics, as you just kept swimming. I’ve lived in a hospital with you, protected from the outside world, when all we needed was each other (and all the medical staff). We’ve celebrated holidays with hospital staff and enjoyed visits from hospital Santa. I’ve carried you flailing to and from appointments, when your PTSD was winning. There are countless days and nights we’ve spent hooked up to machines to watch your breathing. I lost track of the ambulance rides we’ve taken and the amount of ER visits we’ve made. You have never stopped rocking it. I’ve watched them shock your heart, as your tiny body jumped off the bed, again, a hell no one should ever have to endure, and you continued to rock. There is not one moment of those hells that I can’t recall. Burned painfully in my brain, images, smells, sounds and all, they have made you strong.
There is also not one victory I can forget. I remember the saving words the doctors said to me. I remember walking back into your room after I thought that was it, and the weight that lifted when they told me you were stable.
I’ve held you for hours as you slept, because I was your security blanket, and that made everything better.
I’ve fed you as you learned to eat, and relearned, and relearned some more.
I’ve cheered you on as you finally began to roll, and then crawl, and then walk, and then terrorize everything in sight.
I’ve watched you start to dance and perform for audiences.
I’ve watched you slug a ball at three years old, farther than some six year olds.
I’ve left you at the door to preschool, ready to learn and explore.
I’ve listened to you talk to doctors, check yourself in at appointments, and talk to others about your experiences.
I’ve watched you rough house with your siblings, punch your sister in the face, and join in the chaos, like every little boy does.
I’ve watched you be a little shit, more times than one would think is possible. Then flash your shit grin to try and escape your demise.
I’ve watched you love. You love with all of that little broken heart, as if it was never broken at all. You give the best hugs. And you’ve mastered the super kiss.
I have watched you live. You live every day as it comes. For all it is. Not worrying about what is to come. I hope and pray you always do that. I’ll handle the worrying enough for us both.
I’ve watched you become four. A number that still seems so unimaginable to me.
I want you to know, no, I need you to know, that you are a rockstar. You are more than I could have ever asked for. Your chaos inducing, life altering craziness, it changed me. It changed everything, in the scariest, most amazing way. And on your 4th birthday (that still can’t be right), I need to tell you thank you. Thank you for making me do things I don’t want to, thank you for scaring the living shit out of me, time and time again, thank you for insisting that I have patience (in so many many ways), thank you for forcing me to be better, thank you for trusting me, and thank you for letting me be your mommy.
You just continue to rock, I’ll always be two steps behind.
With all of my love,