>> Friday, July 2, 2010

When I grow up, I want to be a tornado.
-Eli, age 3 and 11/12ths

The night he was born, I lay next to him in our bed at home, feet away from where he entered the world,
watching him sleep.

I watched his chest rise and fall, rise and fall,
for three hours.

I'm not sure I even blinked.

And when the birds started singing outside our bedroom window,
the sun rising and washing my newborn boy in the first warm, bright light he'd ever seen,
I finally drifted off, feeling somehow
like we made it.


Tell me a story without a book, as I tuck him into bed.

I'm too tired to tell a story.

Tell me a story from your head.

I cave.

[every time.]

Five nights ago, I tuck him under sheets in the cave of the bottom bunk.

I'll tell you a story about when you born.

And I do, skipping over the parts he'd find boring and sharing the grand parts with great enthusiasm
and when we get to the part where I proclaim
how very happy I am to meet him!
how glad I am he's mine!

he smiles huge and grabs my cheeks in his hands
planting juicy lips on mine and telling me
I love you, Mama.


We're leaving my grandmother's house after a visit. She let him take a Batman motorcycle to borrow for the night. (He has no idea who Batman is.)

I wish that was our house.


Cuz I want that scary motorcycle. I like scaaaar-y stuff. (both hands up, palms out, fingers spread.)

You know your birthday's coming up -- would you like a motorcycle? A scary one?

I would like chocolate cake. Can we have chocolate cake?

Of course. And you could have a toy. What kind of toy would you like? Would you like a scary toy?

Can I have a scary chocolate cake? We could put a mad face on it to make it scary.


I knew he'd be my little firecracker.

From 3cm and the first contraction that reminded me what labor felt like
to holding that boy in my arms,

two hours.

helloooooooo eli!

he's a force, that child.
a muscleman, caveman, tornado of a boy
with the squishiest cheeks I've ever smooshed.


before I sneak off to bed at night, I sneak into his.
I rescue sheets pinned under limbs and
I cover the quiet tornado, the little starfish
And I kiss his pink piggy cheeks

my heart swells in my chest, huge and warm.

he will wake tomorrow with the energy of the fire-hot sun.


it's his birthday. four years I've had with this boy who drives me right up to the edge each and every day,
who keeps me laughing,
who certainly won't let me take myself too seriously.

marshmellow eli

happy birthday, my boy. My Eli. I love you, buddy.


for those of you who love birth stories, Eli's is linked from last year's birthday post (which actually has some pretty cute pictures and some funny Eli stories, too). Like I said then, the birth story photos are family-friendly, but not for the prudish among you. It ain't nothin' you haven't seen at the beach, but the context is a little different. ;)


Lindsey July 2, 2010 at 6:38 AM  

Happy birthday, Eli!
Funny, my Whit entered the world like that too - a force, a good word for it that I hadn't thought of yet.
And I've had tornados on my mind lately - the song "This Tornado Loves You" by Neko Case in my head. Your blond tornado is divine. Hope you celebrate well today with a scary chocolate cake. Sending you all love. xox

heartcooksbrains July 2, 2010 at 7:31 AM  

When you write about your boys, it always makes me so happy. And I hope that I can capture the same feelings and thoughts when we have our little one around. (Soon, I'm due in December... I don't think I've told you yet.)

Corinne July 2, 2010 at 7:57 AM  

What a sweet, lovely post :) Happy Birthday Eli!
I love that he likes scary things! I think he and Fynn would get along so well (I didn't realize they were close, Fynn'll be 4 in Nov)
Playdate? Next week? ;) Wouldn't that be incredible?
Back to your post. You write with such love and passion about each of your boys. They're so lucky to have you as a mama! Love to you on this birth day, Elizabeth!

Allison @ Alli 'n Son July 2, 2010 at 1:57 PM  

Happy birthday to your Eli (also my son's name)! Boys are just amazing aren't they?

Dawn July 2, 2010 at 5:17 PM  

this just makes me want to hop on over to your place and visit with this little wonder. i so love the love that shines from your words! wishing eli a big happy scary birthday.

Grumble Girl July 2, 2010 at 7:24 PM  

Oh, Happy Birthday Eli!! And Happy Birth Day, Elizabeth... it's such a wonderful story to remember - he'll have it as one of his fondest "memories" always. Its the perfect gift.

I'm so thrilled for you all... xoxoxoxoxox

terri browne July 2, 2010 at 9:05 PM  

Your writing is so beautiful and eloquent; I envy your way with words. Every time I read your blog and your thoughts on parenthood I think "yes! that's exactly right!" I quite literally couldn't have said it better myself.

Happy Birthday Eli!

Deidra July 2, 2010 at 9:44 PM  

Happy birthday, Eli! Boy! This world sure is lucky to have you!

Misty July 2, 2010 at 10:17 PM  

oh, i love the way you write, and this post is so evocative! is eli your firstborn? (if so, then our kids' ages must be quite close indeed--my first was born almost 4 yrs ago, in 2 wks)
you've totally inspired me to tell my son his birthstory--he'd love it! he likes being the center of attention. :) and i'm delighted that your eli has blue nails. sometimes my shea sports them in blue or pink or even black. :)

~kiMbeRLy~ July 3, 2010 at 12:04 AM  

what a beautiful way to wish a son happy birthday! Very beautifully written.

TKW July 3, 2010 at 8:02 AM  

This was beautiful! It had me grinning from ear to ear. I love that he wanted to be "a tornado" when he grows up. Happy birthday to your little bundle of mischief!

Lee Vandeman July 3, 2010 at 12:03 PM  

Oh Eli - You know that kid has a special place in my heart....those eyes on that tornado of yours...

Happy Birthday a little late you 4-year-old firecracker. Boy your mama loves you fiercely...just like a mama should....


What a beautiful post my friend....

C (Kid Things) July 3, 2010 at 2:19 PM  

A beautiful tribute to your boy. I hope he had a great birthday.

Mama Hen July 3, 2010 at 5:05 PM  

Happy birthday Eli! What a sweet post! I am a new follower! Come visit Mama's Little Chick when you can! I hope you have a great 4th of July!

Mama Hen

fertilizr July 4, 2010 at 1:47 PM  

This post pretty much made my heart melt. :)

krista July 4, 2010 at 5:37 PM  

oh, the sweet tornado. yes, he's a force of nature, isn't he?
happy birthday.

Christine July 4, 2010 at 5:40 PM  

For some reason the joy of this made me cry. I'm not sure why because I loved it.

Happy Birthday to Eli! From one tornado's mom to another.

Ann Imig July 5, 2010 at 7:45 PM  

This blog is a huge gift to your boys. And to your parents (below). Oops, and of course to your Husband.

Hey Ann? Try "FAMILY."

thegypsymama July 5, 2010 at 9:27 PM  

Two hours?? TWO HOURS??

Just wow....

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I'm a realistic optimist who relies on raw honesty and plenty of humor to navigate the boystorm that is my life. I am mother to three and wife to one. These are my stories.

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