"I can't believe he's turning ten this month," I said to Jeff for the hundreth time.
Almost 20,000 pictures I've uploaded onto Flickr over the years still aren't enough to convince me that ten years have passed since our little monkey was born.
Jordan, let me tell you a story.
It all started so sweetly. You were our first, you see. You were so wanted. Everything started out fine.
But, you were lucky.
A mommy with a really big heart, decided to share her daughter's with you. Thank you, Breanna. Thank you, Nikki. On January 26, you were born again. This time, you had an angel's heart beating inside of you. Sometimes I think it's because of this, that you are so strong.
Turning one could not have been more special. We had a big party, which you will never remember. All of your friends came. We danced. There was ice cream cake. And balloons. I think all the parents there hugged their kids a little harder that night, thinking about you and what might have been.
Before long, you had a sister. She's been by your side ever since.
You were always having adventures.
Before I knew it, you were ready for school. Do you remember your first day? When I dropped you off, I felt like a piece of my own body just flew away.
Those cold days in New Jersey made us long for warmth. Our first big family vacation was to the Outer Banks, with our dear friends. You were so little in that big, big pool. The light shines with a special gold down there. It always hit you the right way.
"Grace, keep looking cute. It will distract them so I can escape from this pit of sand they've stuck me in."
You're always ready to explore. A warm day in February, doing some dog walking on the streets of Leonia. I walked behind you, a little scared you would run off. But you didn't. You walked just far enough ahead to be in the lead. I walked behind you, so proud.
Jordan, what do you feel like doing today?
I want to go the big field with the poofs!
And so we did.
You found fun everywhere. I looked at that big field every day and thought it needed mowing. You saw fields of little fluffs waiting to be set free.
Sometimes, you would be scared, but you've always been surrounded by people who love you and teach you.
You love the water, in any form. We used to take you into the city to go to Central Park. There are wonderful sprinklers there, amidst all that green.
Having you in our lives makes us all feel like kids again. This picture is from Victorian Gardens, in Central Park. You started those rides with the grown ups.
The last time you were here (2013) you ran around the park with your friends and rode all the rides by yourself. You daddy and I, along with our friend Miss N, watched you all have fun by yourself.
November 2008 - where there's a leaf pile, there will be jumping. You showed Mina how it was done.
"You're thankful for me?"
"Yes, I'm thankful for you."
All dressed for Arman's 1st birthday. You both clean up so nicely.
Backyard adventures in our house involved lots of climbing.
"Swimming" in Captiva, Florida. Despite not knowing how, you were still going to give it a try.
This is you making chocolate at a birthday party. Could there be a better idea for a party than this?
Heading to transplant reunion at Columbia Pres. You've always been such a good big brother.
Not every day in your life has been easy. You face challenges that most kids would never even know about. You get poked, you get shots, you have masks put on you to make you fall asleep. You have bandages and cathodes ripped off of you. You get blood tests, and EKGs and medications. You throw up after a biopsy. Sometimes you've cried. But even when you finish a procedure, you've learned to look at the technician or doctor, and say, "Thank you."
Because you are a trouper, a survivor - even on days like this. Here you are, all hooked up for an EKG and grinning away.
Off to find the flags at Rock Center when they failed to show up at the UN building.
Then you were five, and graduating from kindergarten. Your daddy and I looked at each other throughout the whole program, both of us forcing back tears from our eyes. I know it sounds silly. One day, when you have a little boy or girl of your own, you will understand.
This is you at our last 4th of July BBQ in New Jersey. This is the night we announced to all of our friends we were moving to Bermuda.
You and David are only months apart. You have been having play dates with each other before you even learned how to talk. His mommy has been one of my best friends through all those years when I wondered if I was doing the right thing. Being a mommy isn't easy. We worry about everything.
Super blurry picture, but you've always been happy in a gym. I remember taking this picture and trying not to freak out when I saw you leap off the balance beam.
Flying is so much fun!
When you started school in Bermuda, you never flinched.
The older you get, the more willing you were to tackle new challenges - like skiing.
Or running a half mile at the National Stadium before huge crowds! You didn't quit, even when you were at the end of the pack. You put one foot in front of the other and kept going. I will never forget it. I was in the stands, and heard people cheer you on because you were not going to give up. A woman standing next to me said out loud, "Look at that little guy go!"
And I practically yelled, "That's MY son! He's doing so great! We are so proud of him!!"
That's the difference between winners and losers in the long run, Jordan. You don't have to come in first. You just have to believe that you can keep going till you get it right.
Just keep going,
Moving to Bermuda has been an amazing experience for our family.
These two pictures might be my all time favorite. My little beach baby.
Doing handstands into the sea. These picture capture the joy you carry with you every day.
Whether you are racing down the hill to find the Easter eggs.
Or doing a hike at Spittal Pond to watch the birds.
Or skipping stones at Lake Tahoe.
Or posing for pictures on the beach,when you'd rather be doing handstands.
Or sailing an airplane during a fall break in the Poconos. You embrace life.
And new experiences - like testing out the exhibit at the science center with your cousin.
Or leading the pack for a hiking and birdwatch on New Year's Day.
What an amazing life you've shared with us these ten years.
You've given us a new perspective.
It's been such a joy watching you grow into a big boy, embracing the freedom.
Watching you learn to trust your friends.
Watching you smile.
Watching you succeed.
Of course, you'll always be our little goofy kid - leaping off the boat during a Bermuda raft-up.
Or stuffing your face with sweets whenever the opportunity arises.
You're a big kid now.
You're an athlete.
And a musician - performing at the class assembly.
And a scholar - Prize giving day at Saltus.
And a big brother - twice over! Welcoming Theo.
Love at first sight.
Jordan, you have made our lives such an adventure. At ten, you are still the same sweet, loving, goofy little kid you have always been. Your interests are varied, your kindness has no end. You can be frustrating - like when you tease your sister or pretend you haven't heard me tell you to brush your teeth, practice piano, do your homework, for the thousandth time.
You can also be the most loyal, loving big brother in the world - like when you refused to leave the school without Mina (she had been picked up earlier), or when you rush to see Theo in the morning as he wakes.
Your love of sweet things has remained constant your whole life. You happily test out all my baking creations, browse new recipes for us to try together, and suggest ways of combining desserts so you get a double dose of sugar all in one seating.
You can be a non-stop bundle of energy, but since discovering gymnastics, you've managed to channel all of it in a positive direction. You have become so disciplined. We cheer you on when you win, and love you just as much more when don't. Because, as Dr. Seuss says, "Sometimes, you won't." You are always a good sport, even you don't get a medal. That's just as important.
I couldn't be more proud of you than I already am.
Happy Ten, little man. Being your mommy is one of my greatest joys in life. I can't wait to celebrate your milestone birthday.