Twenty-five years ago today, I became a mother for the first time. James Michael Collins was born at 5:35 pm on March 16, 1990. It took 36 long hours of labor to get him here, but it was worth every minute.
I have picture of me holding Jay for the first time the morning after he was born. I look terrible. My hair is stringy, my face is swollen and I have huge dark circles under my eyes, but I LOVE that picture. I’m so glad we captured that moment when I looked into my baby boy’s face for the first time. I fell in love in that moment, and it is a love affair that will continue for eternity!
Jay was a remarkable child. From day one, he had a captivating personality. He could intelligently hold a conversation with anyone, and it seemed as if he was always older and wiser than his years. He loved Legos, Matchbox cars and spending time with his cousin Travis. He was a smart student, winning Science Fairs and Spelling Bees. He played indoor soccer and basketball. He learned how to love the Braves and the Vols while sitting with his Pappaw Junior, and his most favorite week in the summer was always spent in Rutledge with Mammaw Granny and Pappaw Mike, riding around in the pick-up truck. One of my favorite stories, though, is when his little sister, Emily, was born. We had been home a day or so from the hospital, and I think Jay was growing tired of not being the center of attention. He looked at me, crossed his arms across his little 3 year-old chest, stomped his foot and declared, “Either she goes, or I’m moving to Mammaw’s.” Yes, his Mammaw Lois came and picked him up that very afternoon and took him to her house where he was the center of the world for a few hours. She can always make her grandkids feel as if they are the most special!
In what has felt like the blink of an eye, that precocious little boy has turned into an amazing man. He is a college graduate and living on his own in Atlanta, where he has been very successful in his first ‘real’ job. It shouldn’t be a huge surprise that he has been so successful so early. He has an amazing work ethic, has never been afraid of working hard or doing manual labor. He understands the value of a dollar better than any young adult I know, and he is focused on reaching his goals. He is deeply spiritual, and is always searching for the deeper meaning in life. He treats others with the utmost respect, and I have no doubt that one day he will become a wonderful husband and father. (Although, he tells me that is not in the “five year plan.”)
I am proud beyond measure of my baby boy. I cannot believe how quickly time has passed, but I also know in many ways that Jay is just getting started in conquering the challenges of his adult life. I have no doubt that he will continue to approach life with zeal, and he will be successful in all he attempts.
Happy Birthday, Jay-bird-silly-willy-pumpkin-head Collins. You are one of the joys of my life!