That is how long you have been mine.
Every February just before Valentine's Day I get to think back on the day my heart grew just a little bit more. 1,825 days of worry, falling in love, getting to know you.
Today you are 5.
You continue to amaze us with your determination. Your spunk. You make us wonder how we ever doubted that life would be anything but normal with you in it.
I might not have believed it - when we held your tiny mitten hand through the hard plastic shell in the NICU - that we would be this happy. This content. For back then, I feared what life had in store for us. Right or wrong I prayed that God would fix you, make you different. Partly for selfish reasons - to make our lives easier - and partly because it hurt me so badly to think of what having Apert syndrome would mean for you.
But you have guided us.
With each passing year I wonder who I was before you. Knowing you has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be accepting of others. I certainly wasn't as compassionate or aware as I am now. You have taught me those things. Advocating for you has sparked something inside of me that gives me purpose.
I never knew the answer to the question "what do you want to be when you grow up" when people asked. But then again, how could I have possibly known the answer would be "Aiden's mom"?
People have said that you are lucky to have parents like us. That always makes me laugh. We are the ones who get to witness you capture hearts with your smile, fearlessly take on the world despite your differences and overcome challenges that some said would be impossible for you to accomplish.
Never doubt for a minute, little boy, that it is your daddy and I that are the lucky ones.
Happy birthday Aiden.