It's impossible to celebrate Elijah's birthday without reminiscing. And it's impossible to reminisce without getting at least a little bit emotional. It has been an emotional morning for me. Our oldest boy has come very far.
I was able to go snow-shoeing with him and his kindergarten class yesterday. I will admit that I had my doubts beforehand. I thought he might have a hard time, or at least not be motivated to try something so outside his comfort zone. When everyone started buckling up their snow shoes, I did my best to act like it was not a big deal. Like this is something we do every day.
Elijah did not have a single complaint about having clumsy snow shoes strapped to his feet and he followed his classmates around the snow like it was a piece of cake. He climbed hills all on his own and he did great. Really, really great. At one point I watched him run toward me, snow shoes crunching in the snow, a huge smile on his face. He toppled over and I thought, uh oh, he's not going to like that at all. He popped right back up and kept on running toward me.
If you know our boy, you know what a huge thing this is. And what perfect timing to be able to experience this with him just as he is turning six years old.
Six years ago, we got to meet our firstborn for the first time. He was beautiful and perfect. We had survived a rough and worrisome pregnancy, but our baby was ok. He was going to be ok.
Five years ago, Elijah had already had one open heart surgery but was in need of another. He was a very sick baby with a very tired heart. He had cute curly hair and loved Veggie Tales.
Four years ago, he was finally starting to crawl around. This was such a sweet age for him. He was snuggly and so sweet, despite constantly being sick.
Three years ago, Elijah went to preschool for the first time. I remember feeling like he was way too little to be going to school, but I am thankful I was able to let go. Thus began his love affair with school.
Two years ago, we had just found out that Elijah's third open heart surgery was on the horizon. He soared through that surgery like a champ.
One year ago, Elijah was thriving more than ever before in his life (and continues to do so). He was finishing up his third year of preschool and really starting to enjoy his little brother.
Today, on his sixth birthday, he is a smart, spunky, charismatic and super funny little boy. He loves kindergarten and playing with his little brother. He has an attention to detail that is incredible. He tells me that when he grows up, he wants to be "a daddy and a news reporter." He adores the Willy Wonka movies and can often be found imitating Mr. Wonka as he walks around the house with a pretend cane. He loves water parks more than anything in the world. He loves to talk and ask lots of questions and play "tickle" on the couch. He has scars all over his body, big and small, that can tell a hundred stories, but he never sees himself as being "different." I love that about him.
Happy happiest sixth birthday, Elijah!