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Happy 5th Birthday Superman

As I click away on the computer keys, I can’t help but feel nostalgic. Victorious, perhaps. Today, September 18, is our sweet preemie’s fifth birthday.

FIVE.

And I hardly recognize the mom reflected back to me in the mirror these days. She finally learned to live life. Luke has been God’s greatest gift to the family in many ways. Today, we celebrate his life, his tenacity, his love and his lessons. Luke – big guy – this letter’s for you.

Dear Luke,

Last night, you asked me to “sit in da chair wif you,” just like you do most days. That may very well be the one piece of furniture we never sell. So many nights have been spent rocking you in that chair, from the early days when you screamed for hours, HOURS, after all your hospital stays and surgeries, to sweet bedtime snuggles as of late. Somehow, you just seem to fit in the crook of my arm, your feet pulled in and then we cover you with a blanket. It is my most favorite thing in the world to do with you.

Sit in that chair.

This year you turn five. And, in all these years you’ve been with us, I think it may mark the first time that we don’t have a surgery lingering over us. At least, I hope not. You officially graduated from all your therapies – speech, occupational/feeding and physical. For four years, that Seton building as been our mainstay two, and sometimes three, hours a week. Now we’ll only see Ms. Laurie, Kathy, Stacie and Mindi in HEB. It’s just so strange and awesome, all at the same time. This was you four years ago, struggling to stand with assistance… 

luke_walker, blog

 

And this is you today. A graduate.

luke, laurie, blog_005

luke, stacie, blog_004

You still don’t throw back hamburgers, but your days of intensive feeding therapy are long gone. Mushrooms still aren’t your favorite, but who can blame a guy? Your favorite food, in the whole wide world, is mashed ‘tatoes. Somebody’s living the southern high life. You want nothing to do with milk, but you adore yogurt and cheese so we still manage to get some Vitamin D in you.

If “stinker’ was up for naming rights, I’m pretty sure it would be your first, middle and last name. You cause so much ruckus here, it’s crazy. I’m amazed at how much trouble you and John Paul can generate in two minutes flat. You love to hide from us and I’ll be danged if you aren’t good at it. That sweet little 25-pound frame of yours can hunker down in some pretty tight spaces.

Your favorite toys are cars, trains and balloons. You’ll stop traffic for a smartie and every once in a while I’ve been known to slip you a sip of vanilla Dr Pepper from Sonic. Playing outside, running, jumping and sliding, are all your favorite things. I’m not sure when I’ll put you on a bike. This mom is still incredibly nervous to have you fall. Sorry, bud. When you only have one good kidney and it sits unprotected in your pelvis, I tend to be a worry wart. Your dad says I need to lighten up. I tell him to zip it.

I’m pretty sure you’ve earned a Ph.D in Netflix, Angry Birds and the iPad.

At naptime, you insist we wrap you up like a taco. “It helps me sleep, Mom.”

You have a temper, boy do you ever. But, you usually scream, stomp off to the front door and then two minutes later I feel a pair of arms wrapped tightly around my leg. Then, a sweet little voice says, “I sorry, Mom.” And all is right with the world.

You are funny.

And happy.

And such a far cry from the little boy I feared would never survive. You sometimes ask what those lines are on your belly. I call them your brave marks. “Not every boy is brave enough to have those lines,” I tell you. You giggle and tell me you’re strong.

Oh, don’t I know that.

It’s interesting, Luke, this life as a preemie mom. For all of my living days, I will carry the trauma of your early years very close to my heart. And I sometimes struggle with what to tell you. In the coming years, I don’t know how we’ll share the Luke story, your story, with you. I suspect it will come in bits and pieces. That God will lead me to share the just right reflection for the just right moment. 

So, what do I want to share with you this year?

That you are strong. That even though every kid around you is an entire head taller, ten pounds heavier and with greater fine motor skills – none of them will ever match your fight. Your joy. Your strength. I sometimes catch a glimpse of you and see a young boy emerging. It’s so hard, because I’ve always seen you as my baby. But it’s also so incredibly awesome because I know that you have so much to tell the world.

Build that lego mountain, create that pillow fort, race those cars, sing all those songs. You’ve made it to one whole hand, Luke.

And this momma couldn’t be prouder.

Love, 

Momluke, blog_017

 

12 Comments

  1. Beth (A Mom's Life) on September 18, 2014 at 7:57 am

    Happy Birthday Luke! (And that picture with the walker? ADORABLE!)

  2. Nicole on September 18, 2014 at 8:12 am

    Happy birthday to Luke! Five is a big deal, and an even bigger deal with the hurdles that have been put in front of you (and the family). Enjoy the day! Can’t wait to see party pictures – I am assuming there is a rockin’ party in the works 🙂

  3. nicole on September 18, 2014 at 8:13 am

    HAPPY happy birthday, Luke!

  4. Laura Teran on September 18, 2014 at 8:49 am

    Love, Love, Love!! Happy Birthday Luke! I know it will be a GREAT one!

  5. Kim on September 18, 2014 at 9:15 am

    Happy birthday Luke! What a sweetheart!

  6. Lynn A. on September 18, 2014 at 10:08 am

    Happy Birthday to you dear Luke!

  7. Heather on September 18, 2014 at 10:11 am

    AW!!!! He is SO cute!! Love it!! Have a wonderful birthday Luke!!

  8. Connie on September 18, 2014 at 10:41 am

    Happy Happy 5th Birthday Master Luke! Thank the healing Father that you are the little stinker you are today! I love you!

  9. Stacy Woodruff on September 18, 2014 at 11:00 am

    Happy birthday Luke! What a ride it has been. I’ve taught Alanna to identify her scar just like any other body part. You ask her, “Where’s your scar?” and she will point to it just like she would for her nose or her belly button. It’s just another one of the beautiful parts of Alanna. All of Lukes scars are just a part of his story, and part of a perfect little man.

  10. Melody on September 18, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    Happy Birthday Luke!!! 🙂

  11. Maureen Davis on September 18, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    Love and God bless all! Happy Birthday Luke Maureen and Larry Davis

  12. Elise on September 22, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    This is beautiful. Hope your sweet Luke had a happy birthday! I know his life has blessed you one hundredfold, but what a blessed boy he is to have you as his momma. Thanks for sharing your heart.

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