Joshua, you are seven years old today. You don't know this, and one day it will probably make you a little bit queasy to think about it, but you were my only completely planned baby. Your dad and I see no reason to talk to any of you about this, and if you were really going to read this now, I wouldn't talk about it still, but I lost a baby before Calvin, and I lost another one before you. That very first pregnancy was a complete surprise, and it made us realize that yes, maybe we were ready to have a baby. Of course we really didn't have any idea what that would mean, but we took the plunge anyway and so in that way, Calvin was planned. But if it hadn't been for that first unexpected glimpse into the frontier of parenthood, who knows how long we might have waited.
Your brother was not a fun baby. It's a wonder he didn't ruin things for the rest of you. But somehow, by the time he was three, we felt brave enough to start again. In a completely uncharacteristic move, I planned and timed and got pregnant with a baby who would be born six weeks before the start of summer vacation. But then a few weeks into the school year, that baby slipped away. It was hard not to feel that with each pregnancy, the universe was sending me a new message. I already believed, because of Calvin, that I would have the baby I was supposed to have. Now I saw that I couldn't necessarily control when or how that baby would come to me. My timetable and carefully-planned maternity leave apparently did not jibe with your plans. I was sad, but I also knew with inexplicable certainty that you would come, on your own terms and in your own time. And you did.You are the child of mine who is the most temperamentally like my child self. As far as I can tell from my memories, I didn't really know or think much about where I was or what I was doing until I was about eight years old. You coast through your days smiling and easily made happy. Your funny, skipping little run makes it completely impossible for me not to grin. And even as your tendency to space out and tear things into tiny little pieces irritates and frustrates me, I can't help but remember the time I spaced out and drew in a library book at school and then cried when the outraged librarian brought me crashing back to the reality of what I was doing. The worst you are ever guilty of is just not thinking about what it is you are doing, and, well, I can't really fault you for that because you come by it honestly. Don't worry; you'll outgrow it.You will not outgrow the other tendency you got from me. You know, the one that allows you to be asleep as soon as you are horizontal. When you were smaller, every afternoon without fail, you would walk over to me, say "I ready my nap," climb up next to me on the couch and suck your thumb and twirl my hair and fall promptly and happily asleep. Just as that easy nap felt like your gift to me each day, I hope you will one day appreciate my gift of ready sleep. I only wish I could have passed it on to the other three!
Happy birthday, Joshua. I love you so much. You are my little composer and future rocker dude. You love a joke and to laugh. You sometimes forget yourself, but you never mean any harm, and that's all I can really ask for.