I was in awe and wonder at first sight. He took his time to appear in the world, and finally arrived at 4:25 AM, after I had been in labour for 12 hours. The minute Dr. Ross put him in my arms, he stretched in my direction, craned his neck and looked right into my eyes. And I knew right then that my life would never be the same again. That tiny little boy had completely and absolutely captured every inch of my heart.
And I made many promises that night. I promised that I would love him. That I would protect him. That I would take care of him. All 5 lbs and 6 ounces of this precious baby with beautiful brown eyes. And for the next 6 months, Shayne and I were companions. We hung out together and spent time doing stuff. I enjoyed carrying him in this blue baby pouch sling that I wore in the front of my body. Shayne would nestle in comfortably and I could hear his heart. I remember speaking to him constantly. I would tell him everything I could see as I carried him – the street, flowers, McDonalds, a bus, a red car – and he would listen intently, almost as if he was absorbing everything I was saying. And I would sing to him songs from Mother Goose and Sharon Lois and Bram, and he would reward me with gurgles and chuckles.
Shayne, today is your birthday and you are 29 years old. I don’t know where the time has gone. I still remember you as a kid playing baseball for many years. It was such a pleasure to watch you and everytime you hit the ball or fielded the ball cleanly, I would yell, “That’s my boy!”. That’s how I feel everytime I see you Shayne — I just want everyone to know that I am your mommy! You make me so proud!
I love your big, bright yellow energy, and how you fill a room with your personality. I love how smart you are, and how you send me cool stuff to read everyday. I love your stories and the life you have created for yourself in Nairobi! I love how you took Daddy shopping in your closet and got him to stop wearing “Dad Jeans”! I love how you introduce us to your music, and the latest fashion in clothes. I love how you like to hang out with us by choice! I love how your faith guides your actions. I love what a great “brother bear” you are to Sabrina. I love your Emogies (even though I don’t understand most of them!). I love how you challenge me to live a Big Life and to think about where I am spending my energy. I love how compassionate and caring you are. When I was in the hospital, the nurses would often tell me how you would visit me late at night after work, and sit with me for a couple of hours while I slept. Most of all, I love how you open your life to us and allow us to be a part of it.
And you will be pleased to know that everytime we pick up something unhealthy, we have you in our conscience! Gone are the days of Chocolate Dipped Donuts and Big Macs, Now it’s all about green smoothies, protein powder, tahini, almond oil and berries. And, even though I was mad as hell at you for putting us through this health kick journey, you should know that you’ve been successful — we now eat healthy, even though you are not watching!
Shayne Aman, your name means “Gracious Gift and Protection of God”, and that is how I think of you. Until you came on the scene, I had no idea what it meant to be a mother. I learnt by interacting with you. You have easily been one of the best parts of my life, and I know that God danced the day you were born.
On your birthday, my dream is to see you happy, healthy and fulfilled. My hope is that you live your life fully and fearlessly, with no regrets. I wish for you a life of love, enduring friendships, exciting adventures, many travels around the world, strong faith to guide you and success in everything you do.
I know that you are all grown up now, but I remember how, for many years, when I put you to bed at night I would sing to you: “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always. As long as you’re living, my baby you’ll be.”. Love you forever, Shayne!
Happy Birthday, Shayne!