This week Edwin turned five. Edwin was my first foreign service baby, born while we were at our first post in Cairo. He's mostly grown up overseas, with his memories of homes and friends and fun times in a jumble of different houses, different countries, and different continents. Unsurprisingly, he loves airplanes.
He is good company, finding me when I'm cooking dinner alone and his siblings are all occupied making up some new way to wheel each other around the house in Eleanor's stroller. After climbing up on the counter, he will keep vigilant watch over the bubbling pot of soup and tell me all about airplanes or when he will be a father or the muppet movie we watched last night, all in the most gravelly voice he can muster.
I love his straightforward nature, maybe because it's the same nature his father has. Every morning after breakfast he clears his dishes and puts them in the dishwasher, goes upstairs, gets dressed, brushes his teeth, makes his bed, tidies his room, and then settles down to playing. He never stops to play or mess around or even chat - he's got to get the job done.
He prides himself on how tight he can hug me - wrapping his five year-old arms around my neck every night and squeezing as hard as he can. I always tell him that I'll never grow tired of his hugs and I'll always love his hugs, even when he is a big grown up man.
Edwin has taught me about the love a mother has for her son, that fierce desire to protect him from anyone who would even think about hurting him. In some ways it seems like it was only a few short months ago that he was so small, fitting so perfectly into my arms. I can still hold him, but as he keeps reminding me, it won't be for much longer. Happy birthday, Edwin!