Seven years ago today, I was a young
mom with two babies at home. As I maneuvered my enormous belly through the front doors of the hospital in the pre-dawn darkness, I wondered for about the millionth time what God could possibly be thinking. How would I manage three babies? What did I know about raising little boys? How could I be the right person for this job?
At the end of that long day, there was you. There was love at first sight. The questions and doubts faded when I looked into your blue eyes. On that day, I could not have fathomed what this day--your seventh birthday--would be like!
I would not have guessed that you, at Age Seven, would ask for a strawberry donut for your birthday breakfast. I never would have thought that you would love to draw and color. I couldn't have known that you would be a video game-playin' fool. You are super-good at any game on any system. In fact, I've pretty much stopped trying to keep up with which bad guy must be conquered in whatever world, because you leave me in the dust.
You are a reader! You like to read, although you prefer to read aloud to me (or better yet, have me read to you!). You are learning to be fluent and you make great use of the punctuation marks (!! and ??) in your tone. It makes me laugh out loud. Our evenings reading together are some of the sweetest times!
Speaking of reading, you really like school. I could barely stand to deliver you to first grade a few months ago, but of course, you never blinked an eye. You just sat down and got to it. You have what I think are crazy-hard spelling words for first grade, but you learn them and excel. Your teacher adores you. You are branching out and making new friends this year--I am so proud of you!
You still have that funny little speech impediment that has plagued you since you learned to talk. When you recently had pneumonia, Nana took you to the doctor's office. The nurse gave you a breathing treatment, and then asked, "Do you feel better now?" You scrunched up your muppet-face and replied, "Not weawwy." As your mother, I will probably always find your misuse of sounds endearing, but I know that it will become a bigger problem as you get older. We are working with the powers that be at school to correct you. (There's a big difference, son, in "correction" and "change." I wouldn't want to change you for the world!)
At home, you are probably the most stable of the five of us. I find it simply delightful how you just go with the flow. No matter what is going on, you remain happy and easy-going. It doesn't matter to you if someone is grumpy or sick; you stay the same. Our family has been, figuratively speaking, swimming uphill for a good part of this year. On days when I simply didn't think I could stay in the water one minute longer, you gave me the strength and incentive I needed to keep on.
You worship your brothers. After months of being separated, you and Little Middle jumped on the chance to go back to sharing a room. You guys are the best of friends. There are many nights that I have to poke my head into your room and "remind" you that there is no talking--or laughing!--after lights out, but I'll tell you a secret: I don't really care. I love it that the two of you are in there together making brother-memories. You love Goliath, too, although his new pre-adolescent hormone thing can be hard to take sometimes. Still, you know that he would do anything to protect his baby brother. He can talk you into being on his "team" for anything, from a simple game of keep-away to dropping forbidden items out of the second story window onto the front lawn. You boys!
Although you aren't as die-hard as Little Middle, your favorite toys are Legos. Well, that and guns. How many Nerf bullets am I going to pick up in your lifetime?!? You aren't scared of much, and you are getting pretty good at catching creepy-crawly things. You are fascinated with bug-watching, trampoline-jumping, and bike-riding. Even with all these normal little-boy activities, though, you still have such a tender heart! As you were getting dressed for school one morning, you asked me what we were going to do that evening. I told you that we didn't have any special plans, and you said, "Good! Then can we snuggle up together and watch a movie in your big bed?" How I hope that you never get too big to snuggle with me!
As is always the case, God knew just what he was doing when He made you for me. See, Baby, you and I have something special. I love your brothers, no question about it. But you...oh, wonderful little you! I didn't think I could handle you. I didn't think I deserved you. I didn't think I could do right by you. And sometimes, I still revisit those old fears. But you have loved me from Day 1 in spite of myself with the purest, most beautiful love I could have imagined. We go together, you and me. Yes, you're growing up. But my mommy-instinct tells me that you will always need me and want me. You are my Baby, after all!
Happy Birthday, Baby boy.