As of 11ish this morning, Small turned 4. Yes, as his mother, I ought to know exactly what time he was born (along with how much he weighed), but I don’t. For me, it’s enough that I carried him in my uterus for 37 weeks and then birthed him.

Quite honestly, I barely remember what he was like as an infant (Henry, if you ever get around to reading these oinks of mine, you know Mommy loves you and just because her memory is crap doesn’t mean that you weren’t the most special 30th birthday present anyone could ever ask for).

I’m pretty sure that he was an easy going baby, but when I try and recall those special little moments with him—you know, the ones I should have recorded in a baby book—it’s as though I’ve been lobotomized. Medium was 20 months old when Small made his appearance; Large was in kindergarten. After struggling through the I-have-a-new-baby-who-doesn’t-sleep-at-night zombie phase, I returned to my human resources position where it was my job to fly all over the country and spank people (only in the figurative sense). Until recently, I had neither the time nor the inclination to look back; it was all I could do to look forward, put one foot in front of the other, and try not to drop any of the balls I was juggling.

You’d think that I wouldn’t wax nostalgic for those days, but sometimes, I do. I miss my co-workers and the easy banter that comes from working with people day in and day out. I miss the challenges of searching for the truth and articulating management’s best options for justice. I miss feeling that I am an expert at something—for God knows, I am no expert at parenting.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t regret my decision to take this hiatus from paid employment—I was lucky to have the choice. And I know I would be regretful had I kept on keeping on the way I was doing. Six months ago, my family was out of focus. Now, I am in the midst of an incredible opportunity to make memories with my children and to participate more fully in their lives.

There is a quote attributed to Oprah Winfrey but one I associate with Lynda Carter. Ms. Wonder Woman was attempting to revive her career after many years out of the spotlight—years in which she spent raising children. She told an interviewer, “I realized that you can have it all, just not all at once.” How that sentiment resonates with me!

So Small Henry, I may not remember our times as a nursing couple or when you cut your first tooth or what was your first word, but I know what you’re like now. And I’m writing it all down. Happy birthday, little man.

Then:

and now:

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