the night before you were born.

where my heart resides

The night before you were born, I stood in the bathroom doorway with a toothbrush in my hand and cried my eyes out.

Just hours earlier, we went out to a fancy dinner and I ate as much as I could possibly fit into my stretched out belly in preparation for the 12-hour fast. We talked about you, of course, and us, and about how life as we knew it was about to change forever. It was the kind of change that I had waited for my whole life---the same change we had prayed for, hoped for, wished for all along. That date night was a gift, you know. One of the (many) pros of having a scheduled c-section is having one last night to prepare yourself for the fact that your entire life is about to turn upside down.

As I brushed my teeth later that night, the reality of what was happening washed over me.

It was our last night as Brett and Ashlee.

The last night of being two, of being married without children, of being us.

And it shook me, deep down in my soul.

All I could do was cry. It was a weird mix of sad and happy, the very definition of bittersweet. My own tears were confused as they streamed down my face. I cried and cried and cried some more, while your daddy wrapped his arms around me and prayed for us. He was calm and collected as always, but I think he was equally terrified.

Twelve hours later, they put you on my chest, and from the instant your skin touched my skin, I knew I couldn’t breathe without you.

To know you is to love you, Everett, and I loved you the second I knew you.

When I saw you for the first time, I knew you were mine. There was no question, no doubt, no regret, no sadness, no confusion, no anything. My body was still cut open on the table, but I had never felt so whole.

From that minute, Ev, I have never looked back. I have never once thought back to the time when daddy and I were just us and wished we were still that way. Not once. I cannot imagine life without you, and I want you to always know that my life improved in every way humanly possible the exact second you entered it.

There are so many things you will never remember about this time. You will never remember life as an only child, and that makes me sad, because these have been two of the most wonderful years of my life.

For two whole years, I have held only you. I have rocked only you to sleep and tickled only you on the carpet and kissed only you goodnight between the crib rails. You’ll never remember sitting in the rocking chair reading books or sitting on the kitchen counter swiping chocolate chips out of the mixing bowl or lying in my lap for Curious George marathons. You’ll never remember all of our mommy and son dates to the zoo and the train museum and the ice cream shop and the park. You'll never remember your solo bedtime routine or the way I rub lavender baby lotion on your skinny legs after a bath. You'll never remember how we sing in the car, just you and I, or the way you roll toy cars up and down my tummy while we're curled up on the couch.

You’ll never remember all these times, these hours, these days filled with enough love to cover the sky.

And it’s okay that you won’t remember them, because I know that I will. I’ll remember them for both of us, and I'll write down our stories as best as I can as we go along.

And Ev, I want you to know that the night before your brother is born, I will cry. I will cry so, so hard. Because just like the night before you were born was the end of two, the night before your brother is born will be the end of three. And I will be sad and happy and my tears will be confused again and it will be nothing short of bittersweet.

But make no mistake, my sweet boy. You, Everett, were the one who made me a mother.

And nobody will ever, ever replace you.

I love you, Ev.