Four years ago, New Year’s Eve changed quite dramatically for us. Riding out contractions that had been coming in waves over the past four days, we desperately hoped that the end was approaching. I remember the pain and exhaustion vividly – past the point of rationality, I was an emotional mess.
When Hudson finally made his way into the world on New Year’s morning, we were faint with relief and fatigue. His arrival was complicated, dramatic and difficult, and his health suffered – necessitating a stay in the Special Care Nursery for over a week.
Every expectation I held onto in that first year of his life was ripped away – from thoughts that I knew how to ‘do’ this motherhood thing, to caring for a child with health issues, wrestling with a baby who completely resisted sleep, and finding myself at a loss when he didn’t seem to follow developmental stage recommendations. It was the hardest experience I had ever been confronted with….but I wouldn’t give it up for the world.
Thanks to Hudson, I have learned empathy, perspective, joy, thankfulness and realised how little control I actually wield over life. He is the greatest gift that I never thought I needed, and one that continues to keep me connected, humble and alive.
This year Hudson turned four. He is a bundle of energy, determination and joy with a solid fascination with fire engines, Rescue Bots, cars and technology. With two January birthdays we have had to scale back the party plans a little, with a joint celebration for him and Ivy planned for later this month. His one request was a police car cake, so I sorted through pages of American-style cars to concoct a more patriotic version.
This is what my New Year’s Eve now looks like – cake decorating!
After a relaxed BBQ celebration with both sets of grandparents yesterday, we trekked into the city to continue the fun – getting our customary coffee from Hudson’s namesake cafe to mark the occasion.
Believe it or not, the least blurry photo I could get. Hudson is not known for standing still.
Exploring the hidden arcades, city streets and alleyways, taking the train in, stopping for dumplings in Chinatown – we soaked in the sights, watched the horses and carriages and listened to the woman singing at the top of her lungs on Swanston Street.
I love that the start of every year begins with a birthday. Hudson’s contagious zest for life is such an important part of our family and I couldn’t imagine a better way to have begun 2017 than celebrating four years of Hudson Patrick Hughes.
I suspect that you may have magical powers. Whenever I look into your incredible light-blue eyes something jolts me and for some reason, I suddenly feel like smiling.
I love watching you play. You immerse yourself into worlds of emergencies, rescues and drama – responding with such passion and urgency to save the day. The way you leave a trail of play-doh all over the bench may drive me a little crazy at times, but watching the focus in which you drive your cars through it forces me to bite my tongue (most of the time).
You live life at full speed – careening from activity to activity – resisting sleep until it is almost inevitable. Your unrivalled love for your dad is endearing, even if it does mean he has now been sleeping in your room for eight months this year. You will need to learn how to sleep alone at some point!
Your love for your family is moving. I have watched you almost smother Ivy with love many times – the moments you get in trouble are mostly because you are throwing yourself into life with such gusto that you find it difficult to pull back. You are very tolerant of Eli and his enthusiastic attempts to pull you into shared games, often giving up your own ideas of playing to cater to his. Selfless, loving, generous and protective – all words that describe your fierce love for those around you. “I love everybody in the world!” You often tell me in a wildly enthusiastic tone.
Thank you for your bear hug cuddles, your unbridled joy, the passion you live by and your untainted love of Zumba music. Life with you is always interesting, unpredictable and so worth living.