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Six times around the sun

January 9, 2011

Col, today you are SIX!

You told me this morning that you want to be an artist when you grow up. Last night you decided to draw a portrait (your word) of your sister standing by the chip bowl, demanding “more chips!” Rose studied your work, coaching you, “too much green Coley, now do some pink.” Dan and I looked at each other, the word bossy hanging in the air, but you complied cheerily, crayoning in her long, pink, chip-seeking arms.

You’ve been wanting to hear stories about your past. You ask, “when I was a baby did I call coconuts, coco? Did I say ‘moh coco, moh coco?’

“Probably something like that,” we tell you. But you want accuracy, an encyclopedic recall of your first five years. So we tell you what we remember, that you called antelopes, ooo-boots, berries were bee bees and crackers were dadacks. And you smile at the hilarity of such ancient history and then pretend to be a baby demanding berries and crackers who sees an antelope. Suddenly you and Rose want the toddler translation of every noun on the planet. “What did I call beds? What did I call chairs? Did Rosie call lamps lam-lams?”

You know that you were born premature, or early, as we say. You don’t yet know how our lives were tumbled and jostled six years ago as if we all leapt off a mountainside, free-falling with a 1 lb 12 oz newborn in our arms. “Was I this small?” you ask, sculpting your hands around an imaginary egg. You told me recently that one of your mealworms from school had morphed quickly into a pupa. “It came early, like me,” you say, pleased with the connection. You like to sift through your first, impossibly small knitted hats which would fit snug on a baseball. I occasionally gawk at the one newborn diaper we kept; folded, it’s smaller than a playing card, fitting in the palm of my hand. Just this morning I told you that we used to wipe your newborn bottom with a cotton ball. “Wow,” you said dutifully, but you’re never shocked about your beginnings. You trust that the world is a safe place where children are loved and cared for, always getting what they need – and sometimes there’s even macaroni and cheese or vanilla ice cream.

I want to remember everything about you right now on your 6th birthday, January 9th 2011. How you woke up this morning and crawled in bed with us and sang a song with only two words, “Mama and Daddy.” Then you whispered, “you’re the cutest Mama ever.” Later you wrote down (with spelling help): “Rosie has been drawing on my pictures.” When I consoled you over this, you said “it’s okay Mama,” and then you scampered off to see what sisterly mischief Rosie was currently up to. And then, as I hugged you for the 400th time today, you wondered “do you love that I’m six now?”

Oh, I do sweet boy. I love you every minute of every day. Happy birthday.

* for more ancient history of this boy, or how we got from there to here, read Five Times Around the Sun

37 Comments leave one →
  1. Ellen permalink
    January 10, 2011 1:34 am

    What an amazing miracle — a beacon of hope and a lovely reality check for all parents of early premies.

  2. January 10, 2011 2:52 am

    This post pulls my heart strings in all good directions. What a beautiful letter to a sweet birthday boy. Nice job, mama. Tears over her for the lucky boy. I feel like I know him. Love, love.

  3. January 10, 2011 4:56 am

    Happy Birthday to Col! I hope there was macaroni and cheese and vanilla ice cream.

  4. January 10, 2011 7:24 am

    Love, love, love this Rachel!!! Happy Birthday Col!!

  5. January 10, 2011 9:10 am

    Happy Birthday Col! What a sweet boy.

  6. Mike permalink
    January 10, 2011 9:11 am

    A big Happy Birthday to Col, what a handsome young lad.:)

  7. January 10, 2011 9:52 am

    How sweet. I feel as if I’ve gotten to know your family from following along on this blog and your beautiful writing. What a swell dude…and so patient with Rose.
    Happy 6th Birthday, Col! {6!!~whoa, Mama. Hugs to you today}

  8. January 10, 2011 10:18 am

    What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful boy. Good job, Mama.

  9. January 10, 2011 10:20 am

    Oh, happy birthday Col. You are one amazing little guy. I hope your day is wonderful.


  10. January 10, 2011 10:53 am

    Happy Birthday, Col! Hope it’s filled with bee-bees and dadacks and maybe even an ooo-boot siting or two. And may this coming turn around the sun be even warmer and brighter and full of artistic inspiration!

  11. January 10, 2011 11:37 am

    Happy Birthday Col! There is much to celebrate! Six is an odd sort of milestone in itself! Enjoy yourselves! :)

  12. January 10, 2011 12:08 pm

    Happy birthday, Col! You have one of the world’s best gifts in your parents and sister, and they in you!I

  13. January 10, 2011 1:23 pm

    Enjoy your day Col, happiest birthday wishes sent your way!

    Happy birth day mama. I loved reading the post you linked to about when he turned 5. That was when I first happened upon your blog…been a reader ever since. There is never a doubt as to the love experienced within your home…it refreshes and inspires!


  14. January 10, 2011 1:58 pm

    Happy Birthday, Col! Did you know that you brighten the world? Look at this, way down in Southern California and tons of other places on the map, we’re celebrating your 6 turns around the sun. How cool is that? People all over the place and saying prayers and sending warm fuzzies and rooting for your happiness and long, healthy life. Kinda cool, eh?

  15. January 10, 2011 2:00 pm

    What a beautiful tribute to your beautiful boy. Happy birthday to him and happy anniversary of becoming a mom to you, Rachel.

    (By the way, I am glad to see Col’s appreciation for Hop on Pop. I’ve always found that to be among the stronger works in the Seuss canon and I’m happy to see that Col recognized this fact at an early age.)

  16. January 10, 2011 2:12 pm

    What an amazing gift you gave your child with this tribute. Happy Birthday to him, and Happy Birth Day to you sweet Mama.

  17. January 10, 2011 3:49 pm

    “Rosie has been drawing on my pictures.” Isn’t it amazing how we console when sometimes our children are just providing information? I do this too.

    A birthday is such a remarkable day in the life of a child and parents.

    I’ve frequently asked my friends how old their oldest is because it tells me something about how long their mommy heart has been growing… SIX years…that’s some mighty big loving you’ve been doing!

  18. Melissa permalink
    January 10, 2011 3:51 pm

    Happy birthday, Col!!! Sending love and celebration your way!

  19. January 10, 2011 3:53 pm

    I made it sound like Col is your oldest and that seat belongs to Rose, correct?

  20. January 10, 2011 5:00 pm

    He’s a keeper! You are a lucky Mama!

  21. January 10, 2011 11:04 pm

    Great story, photos, and where do you get the time and motivation to write so often? Awesome job!

  22. January 10, 2011 11:16 pm

    Happy Birthday Col! Incredible the life in someone not even 2 lbs. at birth – and congratulations Mama – six years!! Beautiful sentiments…isn’t this just such a wonderful ride we are on!

  23. Diane Petersen permalink
    January 11, 2011 12:34 am

    Happy Birthday, Col!! You are one blessed little boy!

  24. January 11, 2011 7:45 pm

    Happy Birthday, Col. What an amazing six years you’ve had…and imagine, it’s just beginning.

    Happy Birth Day, Rachel. You are one Rockin’ mama. xo

  25. January 11, 2011 8:46 pm

    happy birthday, col!!!

  26. January 12, 2011 12:14 am

    Happy, Happy Day!! :)

  27. January 12, 2011 7:50 am

    belated birthday wishes to your beautiful boy!!!



  28. woowoomama permalink
    January 12, 2011 8:51 am

    i am late because i have been sort of avoiding clicking over to read because i knew it would make me get all teary and there just hasn’t been the right time for another bloggers kids birthday induced crying around here. you know? but now i read it and of course i need to wish you a happy birthing day and a happy birthday to col. treasure.

  29. January 12, 2011 10:51 am

    Belated happy birthday wishes to Col. Not too late to wish him a marvelous seventh year, no?

    And you, Rachel. You got me all weepy.

  30. January 12, 2011 8:27 pm

    happy birthday to your col…i have had such little time to swing by my favorite blogs lately…i have been missing your writing:) so good to check in today and see such a lovely post!! hope it was a wonderful wonderful day.

  31. ike permalink
    January 12, 2011 10:02 pm

    I am so grateful to see Col doing so well-what a sweet boy!
    That is all I can write-it is hard to see the keyboard through my tears.

  32. January 13, 2011 2:00 am

    What a divine letter to your sweet Col. When I first found your blog (can’t remember how?) you were writing about those early, insane experiences. And, look at him now. When I was in hell with Ruby I came here to look at your thriving son. You told me the pain would lessen and it has. You also told me it was fairly recently that his birthday was Pure Celebration. Looks like that continues. So much hope! xo

  33. kelly permalink
    January 13, 2011 9:32 am

    HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY COL!!!! We hope your next year around the sun is filled with fun, love & happiness:)

  34. Caraway permalink
    January 13, 2011 5:44 pm

    You are so amazing, smart and fun. We love you! And here’s some more important information from your past: When you were only 2 years old and Rosie was in your Mama’s belly, you showed us how to shoot a bow and arrow in your yard of your house in Blue Lake, California. Then, when you were 4, you taught Noah how to shoot a bow and arrow in the yard of your house in Ashland, Oregon!! That made Noah VERY happy.

    Maybe now that you’re 6, we can come to your house in Colorado and you can teach us all again how to shoot a bow and arrow. Because even though you have known how to do it every year since you were 2 (or maybe even 1!), we’ve forgotten, and Noah wants to learn again.

    Happy Birthday Coley!
    Love, Caraway Josh Noah and Fiona

  35. Emily permalink
    January 15, 2011 4:49 pm

    Happy Belated Birthday Coleeeeeee!!!!
    It’s hard to imagine it’s already been a whole year since your fifth birthday. I’m sorry I missed giving you a great big birthday hug this year. I’ll have to give you a Super Squeeze when I get back to Durango. I hope you had the most super birthday ever!!
    I Love You ^_^

  36. January 16, 2011 12:07 am

    Col, how lucky you are to have a mother who can spill her heart so beautifully on paper (so to speak)–Happy Birthday!!

  37. January 17, 2011 8:18 pm

    Belated Happy Birthday, Col!

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