When Eli was about three, we would lay down at bedtime and talk. I would ask him if he would always be my Babycakes, he said yes. I asked him if I could always call him Babycakes, he said yes. He has since outgrown that name. He is so far from being a baby, he is my oldest and my baby all at the same time. He doesn't get enough credit for being such a great kid. I think oldest children always have more pressure on them, I expect him to be more responsible, to not tease (he has too many genes of this to avoid it, sadly), to help me, to be perfect. He isn't, but he is so much more.
Eli was a hard birth. I labored for hours. The doctor all but attached a suction cup to Eli's head and then to a truck and pulled him out of me. Seriously. His noggin ended up being on the large end of the scale and let's just say my body didn't appreciate it at all. But do you know what he did when he emerged from that canal? I kid you not, he smiled. Truly smiled. I have quite a few witnesses if you want to dispute this.
This kid is physically gifted. He was walking by 9 months, running two weeks later and hasn't slowed down. He is shorter than most of his friends by inches, but you would never know it by how he moves and runs and jumps and hits the ball and swings a racket and flips on the trampoline. I love to see his little legs and muscles. He is strong.
He loves to learn. He reads so well, because he wants to. He soaks in what he is taught, he understands it a little better each day until he knows how to do it. He wants to be good at things. He gets frustrated when he isn't. Fortunately, his dad is a natural teacher and calmly works with him.
He LOVES to be social. He wants to be in the middle of it. He wants 13 play dates a day, or more. He is an equal opportunity friend, he loves almost everybody. He has really good friends. I think he is a really good friend. I think all kids have their days where playing isn't a good idea, but his are far and few between.
He is sensitive. Once, while watching LOST, he walked in from his bedroom, we didn't see him. He came over and looked very sad. The scene he had just seen was an emotional one, he asked if the girl would be ok and why was she so sad and what can we do to make her happy. He feels what others around him are feeling. He gives hugs because he knows that they will make the recipient happy. He greets loved ones enthusiastically, sincerely because he is happy they are there. He is wonderful.
His siblings love him. From the moment we drop him off somewhere to play or to attend school, Caroline is counting down the minutes to when they can play together. Like most brothers and sisters, the way they treat each other can be maddening, but they truly love each other and he watches out for her and she watches out for him. She loves him like crazy. He is the coolest, the most awesome, the nicest and sometimes the "teasiest" brother. Joey laughs at him. This morning, Joey crawled over and pushed him on the ground so he could hug him and lay on him. Tears in the eyes for me. He also plays games with Joey and thinks Joey is "Super Joey".
Why am I saying all this? Eli is 6 today. Six years ago, at 5:26pm, he was placed in my arms and I fell in love with this nameless child. My heart about swelled out of my chest. I couldn't stop crying from the magnitude of love. His birth has started the most difficult era of my life, Motherhood. No one can ever tell you just how much it takes - emotionally, physically, spiritually - but there is nothing like it. I'm blessed to have him, and those that have come since. His smile is one of the best things on Earth. His hug is candy. Seeing him develop is miraculous.
p.s. E got a skateboard for his birthday, so Ben and Linds, you need to give him some pointers when you are in town.