He slides into the living room. Sleep lines still on his face. Small doggy in one hand. Blue Bear in the other. He's usually the last of his brothers and sisters to wake up. And unlike the others, who are chatting from the moment they emerge from slumber, he is silent. He glances at me -- just a quick peek out of his big blue eyes and long lashes as he snakes across the wooden floor.
I put my arm out and expect him to curl up next to me. Instead he moves a little to the left. He pulls his knees up and settles into a spot on my lap. He's five and that is a bit too big to sit on a lap. But he doesn't seem to know it. He pulls his two favorite stuffed animals up under his chin and rests his head on my chest.
Understood silence ensues. And as we sit there together, I have trouble believing that he is five now. He is learning to read and to ride a bike. He just lost his second tooth, is memorizing Bible verses at church, and just completed his first tennis lesson. He loves junk food especially ice cream and lollipops and Cheetos and Oreos. He requests Blueberry Shredded Wheat cereal every time we go to the store. He is obsessed with Superheroes and can recite names and facts and powers as seamlessly as I used to shoot lay-ups. Oh, and he thinks his Daddy hung the moon.
Not many moms get a phone call telling them that they have a son while they are driving down the highway. But I did. I met a barely blonde seven pound little boy just a few hours later. Forty-eight hours later I sat next to him in the backseat as we pulled away from the hospital.
I had never felt him move in my womb. I had never spoken to him or sang to him or called him by his name or told him about all the hopes I had for his life.
Not where he could hear me anyway.
But I had crossed days off the calendar. And I had readied a nursery. And I had read all the books. I had spoken out loud to him and begged him to come soon. We had chosen a name. We had purchased a car seat. And a stroller. And waited for the phone to ring.
We had dreamed.
He loved his swing. Hated green beans. Was allergic to eggs. We went for walks, grocery shopped, and felt the wind in both of our faces on boat rides. Daddy gave him his first hair cut and sat him on the counter in the kitchen with a wooden spoon in hand so they could cook together.
The first time he threw up all over me, and I climbed into the shower with him still on my shoulder and stood there under the warm water with his naked little body in my arms, I knew we were in this mother-son thing together forever.
I potty trained him. Taught him to put on his own shoes. To feed himself. To wash his own toes in the bathtub. We visited the Zoo. The park. The pool. The beach. I wiped his nose and his butt and his mouth. In exchange he gave me more hugs and kisses and snuggles than I felt I deserved.
Today he is a lanky five-year-old with a smile that he reserves for moments that truly deserve it. He's nimble and spry and while soft-spoken, he has the words to challenge us verbally every day.
When the power went out the other day, you could instantly spot the older brother amongst my four children. He was the one saying, "It's okay everybody. I got my flashlight. It's okay."
He knows the word adopted and can tell you what it means. Knows that unlike his siblings, he has something in common with Superman and Kung Fu Panda and Jesus and Moses.
He wants to be a carpenter and a veterinarian and an artist and a superhero when he grows up.
And all I want is what I've already gotten.
I wanted him to be my son.
And he is.
I love you Isaac.