i can't believe it's been 21 years since...

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...you came into my life. I remember so clearly. It was the week of Thanksgiving in Brunswick, Maine. The first snow of the season was just beginning to fall when I looked at your Dad and said it was time to go. He looked at me, slightly confused and said "Go where?" 

I should have known then what I was in for.

After 32 hours of labor you finally decided to make your appearance at 2:32 a.m. November 20, 1989. You were 7 pounds, 6 ounces and 20 1/2 inches long. I was amazed that you were so small because I was so BIG! I had gained almost 100 pounds carrying you. I had found out in my third trimester that I was having an adverse reaction to the amount of testosterone you were creating. I laughed at the Doc and told him that after growing up with six brothers, I was now allergic to boys! 

You were a very high maintenance child. You had colic and I tried for weeks to nurse you to no avail. I was 22 years old and totally clueless so we went to formula. I learned so much in that first year. When you were fifteen months old you had your first asthma attack. It was 2 a.m. and Daddy was on deployment. Miss Cammie came to my rescue and drove us to the E.R. That night was the first of many nights with me rocking you in the old rocking chair administering a breathing treatment with the nebulizer. So many nights were spent that way, especially in the cold winter months in Maine. 

You were born with a mind of your own and a stubborn streak a mile long. You were a determined little man and you remain so to this day. You will do things your way. Conforming is not in your genetic makeup. Sometimes that's a good thing and as your learning, sometimes that's really hard.

cool dude even at age one!
You were always the first one up and the last one to sleep. You didn't like crawling, too slow. So you went from taking a few tentative steps to running. You haven't stopped since. 
At age 2 I knew I would have to learn to run to
keep up with you in all aspects of life!

When there is something you are curious about you are all in, reading and researching everything you could get your hands on. You were very inpatient with me teaching you to read. So at four you taught yourself. You can still say all the Dinosaur names because of the books you read as a child. 

Getting jiggy with it at age 3
You loved music as a little dance machine and still do. Anything with a strong base and electric guitar and you are there. It was an interesting phase you went through in junior high with the whole Christian Rap thing, but we survived it.

At four during Courtney's second Christmas.
At three your world changed when God blessed us with Miss Courtney. You were not happy for the first few months since my attention was with a very sick little person and not with you playing Thomas the Tank Engine but you eventually adjusted. I'm not sure if I ever have. You proved to be a tough little kid. There are scars I know. Somehow they have made you stronger, and for that I am so grateful to God. Without Him we would both be lost!

At six, Spiderman had taken over your life.
He is still your favorite Super Hero today.

Your imagination sustained you in the darkest times of childhood and it continues to sustain you today. I am constantly amazed by your storytelling. You have a gift of combining fact and fiction to create a fabulous world. I look forward to reading  your stories in hardback someday or playing them in a video game. You have a gift, son. I pray you persevere in pursuing your dreams!
the boys and their toys...1999
Your favorite holiday has always been Christmas. The gifts, the food, the surprises. When you were little, you would come into our room in your footy pajama's to let us know that you were absolutely sure that Santa had come. Of course it was 3:30 a.m! You still do that to this day...only now it's 7 a.m.! I know that you will not always be with us for Christmas morning so I will enjoy it while I can. Tears still come to my eyes on Christmas morning as you let your sister rest her head on your shoulder while you read her "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" with the very BEST Cindy-Lou Who voice on the planet! It is a moment of time that I cherish and will never forget no matter how old you get.

That t-shirt was worth the smile!
I remember the year you were a shepherd in the Christmas play. The next year you were a Wise man. You told me you were so happy for the promotion!  Don't get me started on your love of the barking dog Christmas album! That must come from your father's side of the family! I love standing next to you at Mass listening to your deep baritone loudly proclaiming Christ is Born! It brings such joy to my heart. 

Jonathan with his Grandmother G. and his newest cousin Sean.
The oldest and the youngest grandchildren.
You are the oldest grandchild on both sides of the family and your cousins love you so much. You are the first to get on the ground and begin building Legos and before you know there is a small army building with you. You are always willing to be the bottom of the wrestling pile while the little ones enjoy trying to tickle their BIG cousin! The laughter and memories that come from those times stay with me when the house is so quiet because you are out living your life.

Happy 21st Birthday Jonathan!!
So on this day, your 21st birthday, I wanted you to know that I love you son. I know that your life has not always been picture perfect but God chose the very best big brother for Courtney and the greatest son for me. I want you to know how grateful I am for your sense of humor, your tenderness of heart, your strong sense of honor and right judgment. I love that you love God and honor Him by honoring your Daddy and me...most of the time!

I hope you enjoy this day and all the privilege that comes with it. Tonight we will celebrate with your Grandmother eating lots of good food and raising a glass toasting your good fortune and future success.

Happy, Happy Birthday Jonathan!

Love, Mom