You have been sick this week.  Having fallen victim to the strep that has overtaken our house.  I feel so bad for you.

I picked you up from Vacation Bible School on Thursday and you were burning up.  So hot that I wished I’d had a thermometer in my pocket and a doctor’s appointment already set.  Knowing I had medication at home, I loaded you and your sister’s up and got home as fast as I could.

I watched you in the rear view mirror all the way home.   I could tell you felt awful.  Your cheeks were flushed, your eyes were glassy, and you kept telling me that your head and stomach hurt.  Despite that I knew that you were showing the same signs of strep throat that your baby sister did just that morning at the doctor, I worried.

No mother wants to see her child sick.  Any child at all with any illness.  It broke my heart to get you out of your car seat and catch you as you, literally, collapsed crying in my arms.

I rushed you in and put you on the couch while I went to get your sister’s from their car seats.

When I came back in, you were already asleep on the couch.

While I sat next to you, waiting on hold with the pediatrician’s office, I thought, I have know you the longest.

You are my first born.  My first experience with a pregnancy, decorating a nursery, maternity clothes, and birth.  You are the first I fed, the first I changed, the first that I stayed up with all night just to watch you breathe.

You are the first that showed me that the capabilities of love expand far beyond the beat of a heart.

You have been the victim of my novice mistakes, the bearer of my preconceived notions and the recipient of my first successes as a parent.  You, Katie, are the reason I decided to have your sisters.  Because I wanted to give you siblings and me a chance to marvel at the miracles of motherhood, as I was witnessing with you.

As I sat, tucking your hair behind your ear, time after time, on your burning head, I remembered that you had none for so long.  That it took over  a year for your first tooth to come in, and that you walked at 9 months, eager to explore your world.  And that you scared me at 14 months by climbing out of your crib, up your dresser, and falling asleep on top.

I used to wonder what you would be like as you grew.  And you have surpassed all hopes and wishes I had for you.  You are bright, creative, beautiful, and strong willed.  Your determination to accomplish things will only benefit you in the future, despite my inability to know how to deal with it now.  You are simply… amazing.

As you woke and I picked you up to take you to the doctors office, I felt your feet brush against my knees.  I remembered when they curled on my belly.   And when my holding you was all I wanted to do.  Every day of my life.

We arrived and you laid on me, drifting in and out of sleep, while waiting for them to call your name.  A name I gave you almost 5 years ago that will define you for the rest of your life.

And I thought, you are my oldest.  My biggest child with the most height, the bigger shoe size, and the clothing that is no longer bought in the toddler section.

But no matter how big you get, how low your legs hang when I get to hold you, or how much taller you will grow year after year, you will always, in every way, be my baby.

An you will always have been with me the longest.