You are double digits today! Ten years ago today, my dream came true when I became a mommy. When the nurse handed me that sweet blue bundle with the gloworm eyes, I literally stopped breathing for a moment. I will never forget that as I held you for the first time, it was as if time stood still. It was just you and me. You looked so intently at me I felt as if I were being interviewed for the job of being your mother. The commotion of the medical staff and even our excited family became background noise as the two of us got to know each other. We were made to be together, you know...
And now, ten years later, here we are. We live just a few miles from that hospital where you gave me the most important job of my life. Every time we drive by there, I remember January 2, 2002, and how much richer I was after I left there than when I went in.
You, my boy, are an adventure. My life has changed in every possible way since you entered it on that wonderful day, and yet I feel as if we have always been together. I think that's the way God made moms and their sons to feel. Being your mom is like riding a tall, fast loop-to-loop roller coaster--the kind that makes you laugh out loud even though you're terrified of what comes next. You make me laugh. Oh Lordy--don't we laugh a lot? Just last night when I was trying to have a conversation with your brother about New Year's resolutions, you popped in and said, "I thought a resolution was a kind of war." And then you popped back out of the room, and left me and your dad snorting with laughter. You crack me up when you assign made-up statistics to everything--like "How many people in the world believe in God? Probably about 52%, right, Mom?" and other random, less-meaningful "facts." You make me laugh when you try to act like you're asleep, because I know that as soon as I tickle your armpits you are going to jump out of bed and try to get away.
Mothering is not for the faint of heart. No, sir. You showed me more than once this year that I need to step it up in the bravery department because you are NOT such a little boy anymore. This summer you went off to camp with Nana's church, quite happily, I might add. You and Jacob never looked back, even as Ms. Lisa and I were calling for just one more hug. How did we get to a place where you can go away for a week and not need me?!? And what about that jiu jitsu tournament? I'm glad you were so focused on your fight, because then you couldn't see me alternately biting my fingernails and jumping up and down like a crazed maniac. I could hardly stand to see my baby out there...but I sure did love the smile on my baby's face with that big medal around his neck!
In fact, if anyone around here is brave, it's you. Remember the first day of 4th grade? I honestly didn't know if I could leave you in that new school that day because my heart hurt so much. But you put on the bravest smile I've ever seen and reported back that your day was great! I know you worry about a lot of things--you're like me in that way, I'm afraid--but you always try your best in spite of your fear.
We have a ton of fun together, but you also manage to strike fear in my heart more than any other person (although your two brothers are right behind you). When you were just a sweet blue bundle, I felt a heavy weight of responsibility to care for you. I still feel that, just in a different way. You don't need me to feed you or dress you anymore, but at age 10, things are a'changin'. You seem to think that you are much more grown-up than you really are. (Tell me again why you think you need a cell phone?!?) Do your old mom this favor: Let me help you. Let's talk about stuff, OK? Let me protect you and fight for you and struggle through long division with you. You're not a teenager yet, so don't act like one. Ask the hard (or embarrassing) questions, and expect honest answers. Accept other ideas and even criticism when it is delivered with love--and you know it always is. It is my job to make sure that you have all the tools you need to be the best you that God created you to be, and He created you to be AMAZING.
On the night of January 2, 2002, when it was just you, Daddy, and me in that hospital room, my heart was so full of joy that I thought I could burst. Today I feel that same way. You are my joy boy. I love you with everything that I am. Happy Birthday, Buddy.