I’m fairly sure that it wasn’t baby brain that wiped my memory. I mean, obviously I can’t be completely certain. Whatever the reason, I seem to have absolutely no recollection of my life when I was not a mum.
It’s almost as though my life has been neatly divided into two stages – Before Kids (BK) and With Kids (WK). If I think about BK now, according to my brain I was a Mummy-In-Waiting. Even before they were born, I felt it in my bones that my children would come. And I was one of the very lucky ones, because they did.
When Jack was born, seven years ago today, he made me a mum. In many ways, he made me what I felt I was always meant to be.
It was for the love of Jack that made me want Phoebe, and then Maisie. Had my broken insides not been an issue, I would have kept going.
Jack is seven years old today. It is all at once so, so big, and still enough little to make me want to keep him close to my belly.
As with every birthday, our boy has been counting the sleeps until he was no longer six, but a ‘grown up’ of seven. All of a sudden, he has grown long, gangly arms and legs, freckles upon freckles, and has been losing teeth with abandon. Considering how difficult it was to get those teeth in the first place, I wasn’t too happy about them falling out. And quite frankly, the size of the tombstones growing in their place scares me more than a little bit.
I can still glimpse the shadow of my cheeky toddler in his beautiful blue eyes. I can still hear my little boy in his high, sweet voice. I still catch my breath when he wraps his arms around my neck, his hug fierce with love.
But my baby is not a baby anymore, and turning seven suits him. Jack has spent the entire school holidays riding his bike and his skateboard, wearing a helmet with huge red spikes all over it. He is Star Wars obsessed, and spends hours in an imaginary world zooming Luke and Darth Vader around while making the noises out loud, completely unselfconscious. He still loves his dancing and ballet, and has become the proud member of a troupe that competes in competitions and exams. But this has been tempered by his adoration of the Bombers, and all things footy-related, the boy in him obvious as he whoops and hollers “Yes!!!!” when the Essendon boys kick a goal.
Jack actually received his birthday present two weeks early, just in time for the beginning of the school holidays, and it was this present that showed me just how grown up he has become. For Jack’s seventh birthday, he became the proud master of a cavalier puppy who he named Toby. He actually wanted to name his puppy Michael initially, which made me snort because I had this vision of standing in the dog park calling, “Michael!! Come!” A day or so later, he changed his mind and preferred the name Jonathan. Again, I couldn’t quite picture a small puppy with such a formal name…even if the opportunities for comic relief would have been numerous. In the end, we talked about names together and agreed that Toby would be an awesome name for Jack’s puppy.
So Toby came to us two weeks ago, an eight-week-old brown and white little bundle of energy with curly, floppy ears and a growl that sounds like purring. Jack simply worships him; he plays and wrestles with Toby; feeds him and takes him outside for wees; cleans up his messes and gets up with him in the early mornings. Of course, I get up to Toby in the night, and play with him at 11pm when he gets the puppy maddies but he’s so gorgeous it’s not a hardship.
Seeing Jack with his puppy, giggling and rolling on the floor, it makes my heart burst. Just as it did when the Mouse sang “Happy Dirt Day Princess” to her big brother this morning, as only she can. Or when Phoebe carefully chose a birthday card with lots of doggies on it, because Jack loves dogs.
I fell in love with Jack long before I clapped eyes on his big blue eyes and tufty newborn hair; long before his gummy smiles and backwards commando-crawling; long before his wild blonde toddler curls and obsession with Thomas the Tank; long before this leggy, lanky, gap-toothed, goofy, dinosaur-loving, ever-performing seven year old landed his bony bottom in my lap.
Today it is seven years since my heart was turned inside-out with love for this boy, who made me a mum. Seven years of joy, seven years of hugs and kisses and squeezy cuddles, seven years of ridiculous love. Happy, happy, happy seventh birthday my Jack. I hope you never get too big to throw your arms around my neck.