This is the one I lost for 42 seconds at Garden of the Gods last summer because he went off to explore.
This is the one who tells me he’s getting a motorcycle, a tattoo, and a pet snake when he grows up.
This is the one who knows the name of every kid in our neighborhood and every classmate at school because he is truly friends with them all.
This is the one who wanted a mohawk for his sixth birthday. When his father, an Army officer, came home and asked, “How long are you planning to keep that haircut, son?” this is the one who answered without a moment’s hesitation, “Until I’m dead, Dad!”
This is the one who tells me I’m a Mommy Jedi, and he is my padawan, and we use the Force together.
This is the one who teases his big siblings with unrelenting persistence and absolutely no remorse yet adores the ground they walk on.
This is the one who crawls into bed with me and tells me all about his dreams.
This is the one who at age five when I asked if he was ready to get out of the bath, while carefully filling and arranging old plastic cups at the edge of the tub replied, “Not yet, Mom. I haven’t turned the water into wine.”
This is the one who begged for days to borrow a necklace of mine then when I said yes, he tossed it high up into a tree to see what would happen.
This is the one who watched Little Women with me and said, “Marmie is just like you, Mom.”
This is the one who faithfully cared for an injured bunny the cat brought home.
This is the one who yells, “Hey, Google, cancel Mommy!” when he gets mad at me.
This is the one who at age four emptied every single container from the spice cabinet into a big mixing bowl to make a magic potion and then tried to feed it to the dog.
This is the one who rolled his eyes when the bishop blessed him at mass one morning.
This is the one who says he brushes his teeth each night but upon further review, it’s determined that he actually didn’t.
This is the one who sits with me at the piano and lets me teach him how to play.
This is the one who at age three left a neighborhood party when I wasn’t looking and walked home, all on his own because he wanted to bring a favorite toy back to his friends’ house.
This is the one who sneaks tortilla chips or cheese sticks or graham crackers up to his room.
This is the one, and only one in my family, who dances with me in the kitchen.
This is the one who at 18 months carried as many Oreos as his tiny hands could hold from the kitchen through the living room and to his great-grandmother in her recliner. He sat on her walker seat and shared the goodies with her. “There’s something different about this one,” she said.
This is the one who asks me to sing him to sleep with either “Baby Beluga” from the Raffi sing-a-long or a Girl Scout campfire song called “Barges” or “Some Nights” by Fun.
This is the one who loves trying new restaurants and charms every waitress with his blue eyes.
This is the one who despises socks and shoes and shirts yet wears a tie on school picture day without any prompting.
This is the one the nurses laid on my chest, and I knew our family was complete.
This is the one who gives me gray hairs and sweet kisses. This one is my baby boy.