It's hard to believe we are celebrating a six year old today. It seems like just yesterday when I sat on our recliner all by myself, 39 weeks pregnant, too uncomfortable to sit at my work desk another full day. Jaden at daycare, Daddy working. I counted down the hours and minutes those final days, knowing you were coming anytime. You didn't make it easy on me. My back hurt in one spot consistently for almost nine months (which did indeed turn into back labor the day of your birth). Until week 10, I couldn't eat a thing except for spaghetti-o's. I had to go on anti-nausea meds that made me extremely drowsy until the second trimester. I had to go on special headache medicine in the second trimester, and by the time the third trimester had rolled around, I had gained a lot more weight than with your brother. And you never stopped doing complete flips in my belly. You were an unplanned C-section baby - a little boy we didn't name until we saw your sweet, perfectly rounded face. And you were worth the post-surgical extremely itchy nose, the really strong day-after pain, and the permanent scar. I'd do it all over again for you in a heartbeat.
You've been your own person since day one. No one wants to compare siblings but it inevitably happens, especially when they are both boys and only 25 months apart. But just as your brother does in his own way, you stand out Brandon.
Full of life and energy, stubbornness and mischievousness. Our little adventurer, still happiest outside under a blue sky, or listening to a thunderstorm roll in, or watching the snow quietly fall outside, or catching lightning bugs in your pajamas or splashing in the river after a boating adventure.
That's always been who you are. But this year, I've really seen the change in you. You're growing up, and it's becoming more evident every day. You aren't afraid of taking showers anymore. You like to play Mario games on the Wii. You shake hands with the church greeters on Sunday mornings instead of burying your head in my legs. You ran football drills with the Panther players this winter without a hint of shyness. You transitioned from daycare and preschool to kindergarten and new friends without a single glitch or moment's hesitation. You were leader of the month in your classroom within two months of starting school. And you found your courage - trying all the thrill rides with your mama at the Mall of America, braving the big water slides at the Falls by the end of last summer, and taking your older brother on in games of PIG and HORSE in the driveway even though when it comes to sports, he can be pretty bossy.
But with all the BIG adventures and changes we've experienced in the past year, you still relish in the simple joys of life. You can be somewhat of an old soul, finding happiness in a strawberry field or pumpkin patch, sitting around a camp fire with melted marshmallows all over your fingertips, swinging for hours to your heart's content under our big shade tree, running around our yard in a Superman or Batman cape, believing you could save the world.
You still love to build and create things - with Lego's, Lincoln Logs, pencil and paper. You still love to read and to be read to. You are fascinated by tornados and weather, love to watch old Chip & Dale and Donald Duck cartoons on YouTube and can get super competitive - and sometimes even angry - when playing Angry Birds on your tablet.
You believe in Jesus and Heaven - with faith like a child.
You are a complete goofball. You are quick on your feet, witty, and sometimes wise beyond your years. Your vocabulary and dialogue is almost adult-like at times, and your giggle is infectious.
We love you so much. You make everyone in our family a better person, and I couldn't imagine our unit without you in it. Happy birthday little monkey.