Today is Andrew’s 10th birthday.

Andrew FevangI will not wax nostalgic about August 14, 2003 being the best day of my life, because it was not. It was the day of that huge blackout that the entire northeast experienced…I was alone in the hospital, no lights, no a/c, and worried about my 5 yr old daughter. But more than that, the doctor told me he wanted to test my newborn for Down syndrome. I was shocked. And I was alone. And then they left me there alone with Andrew. It was hours before anyone was allowed upstairs, and I was terrified. And exhausted. And hot. And alone.

No, August 14, 2003 was not one of my best days. The past ten years with Andrew, however, have been an AMAZING journey! So in honor of his 10th birthday, here is my list of the Top 10 things I just love about my Andrew:

10. Those eyes. I just love those beautiful, Brushfield spotted, blue eyes. I love how big they look behind his glasses, and I adore how they slant up when he smiles one of his whole-face smiles. And that crooked smile. The way his bottom lip comes up on one side of his mouth…I’ve never gotten it on film, but it melts my heart. Every time.
9. His determination. It might take him twice as long to learn something, but he’s going to do it…just try to stop him. A few weeks ago, when practicing shoe tying together, I was frustrated that he wasn’t focusing, so I told him to just forget it- we will try again when he is ready to learn. He knew I wasn’t happy with him. He walked out & went to his room. 5 mins later I heard him talking quietly on the stairs. I peeked around and there he was…with a sneaker in his lap, telling himself what to do, step by step, practicing. I hugged him and we tried again. And again. The next day, he got it! He was so proud!
8. Full body hugs. If you’ve ever been hugged by Andrew…reallllly hugged by Andrew, you know what I’m talking about. They’re amazing.
7. His compassion. Andrew can be in the middle of the best play date of his life, then spot a complete stranger with a cast or crutches, and will drop everything to make sure that stranger is ok. I can’t tell you how many times he’s asked my permission to ask people in the grocery store, park, McDonalds drive thru window, etc what happened and if they’re going to be ok. He will put his hand on your shoulder and gaze into your eyes and ask with the kindest tone. We should all be so kind.
6. He’s such a boy. Going into his sister’s room and farting in front of her is just hysterical. She screams, and he laughs. Perfection.
5. He’s a Momma’s boy. Thunderstorm? “Mommy, we need to snuggle on the couch! Get a blanket!” Bedtime? “C’mon, Mom…time for us to read.” Boo boo? “Mommy, you need to kiss this…quick!” He is just delicious.
4. Hopsital. Backlard. Smackle. God help the speech therapist who teaches him the correct way to pronounce hospital, backyard, and spackle. I love those mispronounced words, and I hope he NEVER learns how to say them correctly!
3. Tara’s biggest fan. Andrew ADORES his big sister. Most of the time. The other times, they’re fighting. But when she swims or cheers or sings, his heart swells with pride, and he can’t contain it. He will cheer for her (“Go Tara! That’s my sister!”) louder than any adult in the room. Complete strangers smile …every time. The moment she is done, all he wants to do is run to her and hug her. It’s beautiful.
2. The little things. He slows us down to enjoy playing in a tide pool at the beach, or look to see if the Ninja Turtles are in the sewer today. We discuss the possibility of Bigfoot living in the woods. Does he hibernate? Would he go up north in the summer months since he has all that fur? There might be dinosaurs in Virginia. Next time we drive there, we should look. And bring broccoli. Dinosaurs like broccoli. So much fun!
1. Andrew’s dance moves. That kid can take over a dance floor. Drop it like it’s hot, Andrew. Shake what your momma gave you.

Happy 10th birthday to my Andrew! Mommy loves you!