Today Kobe turned 9 years old but it feels like just yesterday that I was in the doctor's office, begging for my labor to be induced. It was my due date. April 24th, 2002. My doctor said that if I hadn't gone into labor on my own by the next morning at 5:00 to come to the hospital and he would begin the induction process so I could meet my baby boy. Considering the fact that I had experienced a very uneventful pregnancy and that I had walked the TVA trail TWICE and the bleachers at the high school, I figured I could go on home and rest and plan on being at the hospital the next morning. All night I tossed and turned. I couldn't get comfortable. I was nervous. I was excited. The next morning I was at the hospital at 5 on the dot. I was ready to meet my son. I got there and when I arrived I was alarmed to find out that I was almost 7 centimeters and really close to having a baby! I was super excited. By 7:30 AM I was settled in and just waiting. Just before noon I was told that it was time and that my family and I would have a new member before lunchtime and we could have a celebratory lunch. Not so. To make a long and not so glamourous story short... I had Kobe at 6:24 PM. When he was born he didn't cry right away. I remember my mom standing right there beside me cheering him on, "Cry Baby Cry!". I looked at him across the room and about that time the doctor apologized to me and told me he thought he had broken Kobe's arm. At that moment, as if on que, he screamed and began crying and held his little fist in the air to show us he was ok. He was the most beautiful thing I had ever laid my eyes on. Everyone was there. My parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and friends. He was born at 10 pounds 9 ounces and 28.5 inches long. He had a head FULL of black hair. Bless his heart, he looked like a baby Sumo Wrestler. The nursery did not have any diapers in the nursery that would fit him so they had to go get some from the hospital's supply closet. He began wearing a size 1 diaper. They put the little shirt on him and it didn't fit either! A friend,who worked for New Balance at the time, brought him his first pair of New Balance and they didn't fit. He had to exchange them for a size 2. The special outfit I had for him to come home in didn't fit either. He was absolutely perfect to me. The moment my eyes saw him I was completely in love. This is the first time in my life, other than my parents, that I knew what real unconditional love was and what it felt like. He was my first love. I couldn't believe how much I could love someone that I just met. He was my heart and soul. I took him home two days later. Just us. I had no idea what I was doing but with the help of my parents I figured it out. I became a pretty good mom. It was just me and him. We were stuck together like glue. He loved me with all of his heart and looked to me for everything and I felt the exact same way about him. We sort of grew up together. I learned responsibility,sacrifice, and maturity while learning to become a good mom to him. We had a lot of fun times and a lot of trying times. I remember a time that we played in the mud and rain and when we were coming in he put his hand on the front shutter on the house and it left a muddy little handprint. It took me forever to wash that away because it was such a fun day and I didn't want to wash the evidence away. I remember him sitting on my kitchen counter as I cried when I cooked beanie weanies. I cried partly because I hated them and partly because it was all we had. Then, I cried when he ate them and told me how good they were. I remember him coming to me to console him and to comfort him when he had a bad dream and looking to me as if I could do ANYTHING. In his little eyes (and still now) he thought and believed I could. He has always been my baby and I don't think he will ever be anything other than that to me. There was a time when we were all eachother had in the whole world and that made us so close to one another. I have enjoyed watching my sweet baby turn into a smart,funny,caring, and sweet young boy. I can't believe how fast the time goes by. It is hard to imagine that in the amount of time I have had him in my life that this many more years and he will be on his way to college. Tonight to celebrate his actual birthday he wanted to grill hamburgers and hot dogs. So, that is just what we did. We had hamburgers, hotdogs, and tater tots. He decided he wanted ice cream and watermelon instead of cake for his birthday dinner at home tonight. After dinner, the boys played outside and blew bubbles in the yard. We ended the night with a game of tag and UNO. I pray for him every single day and I hug him every single day. I tell him I love him every single day. We still die out laughing together when no one else even knows why. We have memories together that belong to only us. I am so glad we have been able to make memories as a family as well. I look forward to many more memories with this sweet boy. No matter how old he gets, No matter what he gets himself in to in life, no matter where life may take him... he will always be my baby. Just like our favorite book when he was so little:
I like you forever. I love you for always. As long as you're living...my baby you'll be.
Kobe on his 9th birthday after a VERY intense game of UNO