To My Boy, On His 7th Birthday 

My sweet boy,

I know I say it every year. But, you are growing up. Things are changing for us and in us, and my boy, you are a big kid now. It’ll always be hard (maybe impossible even) for you to understand … the way the changes in you effect my heart. I know it’s natural for you to pull away. I know it’s normal for you to drop my hand when you think others are watching. I know big guys might turn away from their momma’s kisses every now and then. I know. I just didn’t think it would happen to us … not yet … not so soon. My poor momma heart can’t handle it. You are my N bug. My first baby. We were always connected in a special way. The thought of that bond being severed in any way is just more than I can take. 

You are the one who has and is teaching me so much about life and love. And I know I’m making this birthday letter all about me and my poor, raw feelings right now, but oh my love, you are my heart. My biggest life lesson right now is mostly about allowing my heart to stretch and let you go a little bit more and a little bit more. You’re SEVEN! You’re in 1st Grade now. You are learning what spreading your wings might look like. What it might feel like. I shouldn’t be so surprised.

My boy, you amaze me in most all the ways. You are smart. You are funny. You are kind and caring. You are witty. You repeat quotes in movies, while the movie is STILL playing … just like your daddy. You are creative. You are silly. You are quiet. You are observant. You are tender. You are loyal. You are logical. You are strong.


When I close my eyes and try to freeze you right here and now, at 7, I see you —-

Climbing. Trees. Walls. Light posts. Anything. Always climbing.

Riding your bike. Fast and confident and sure. Always riding that bike.

Playing. Playing Beyblades or trading Pokémon cards.  

Collecting. All the junky toys. All the time.

Building. Legos, creations, forts, etc.

Snuggling. Under “brown blankie” or your “monkey mat”.

Swimming. Around the pool with your snorkel on.

Doing cannonballs into the pool or crazy moves down the slide.

Soccer. It’s your sport.

Buzz cut. Your current ‘do.

Thinking. That mind of yours is always going. Always thinking. Always planning.

Reading. We still love to read together. Our books have evolved over the years. I’m holding on to that. 

Being. I love to just BE with you. 

So, while I miss (sometimes almost wildly and unreasonably) the way we used to snuggle under a blanket and watch Curious George together for hours on end … all tangled up together, I do cherish and adore our relationship now … just as much. I love our conversations and how we talk. I love the little man that you are. I love our “dates”. I love how your mind works. Always thinking, inventing, listening. I love you. All of you. Every stage of you. Every year of you. To the moon. For all time. 

Happiest “Golden” Birthday! #sevenontheseventh

Love, Your Momma

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To My Girl, On Her 4th Birthday

To my sweetest, A, on her 4th birthday —

Oh, Little Miss, it’s been quite a year. 3 was not easy. One day, maybe you’ll find out and you’ll understand. Maybe when you’re a momma, just like you want to be (“I want to be a Mommy when I grow up”), you will struggle through “3” with your own littles. And, I will be there, God willing, to help you through it… and to laugh a little bit along the way.

At 3, you tested me in every way imaginable. 3 was hard. For both of us. In a lot of ways and for a lot of different reasons. But, we learned and we grew and we cried and we yelled and we prayed and “we” read parenting books and we tried and tried again … and we made it to the other side. We did it! We did it together, my girl!

Now, we’re at 4 and oh, how I’ve prayed for a better year for us. We are close, you and I. We spend most of our time together, happily so. School (preschool) is not your favorite thing … it never has been. And, so you go … reluctantly … but you’d rather be home. You are my little homebody. You love our “outings”, but you’re always ready to go home. “Can we go home now, Momma?” You want home. You crave home. Familiar. Comfortable. Happy. Safe. Secure. Fun. Warm. I’m so glad that these are the things that HOME means to you. My heart beats stronger knowing that I’ve created a happy refuge for you. Oh, my girl. You love to just BE. You want freedom and peace and rest and quiet. You sit and play with your toys for long quiet hours and it’s in your play where I learn and listen and hear the most of who you are and how you see your own world. Though you often catch me watching and say, “Don’t look at me!” … I have to listen. It’s where I find the details of your day and your life … listening as you play and talk with your toys, your “girls”.

At 4, you are full of “I love you’s” and kisses and loooonnnng goodbyes. At 4, you are still fiery and bossy, but calmer and easier to settle. At 4, you are loving and sweet, but still demanding and easy to anger. You love BIG my girl. You already cry hard and loud when your heart is hurting. You feel BIG feelings. You are tender and harsh, all at the same time. You expect a lot, but you give great love in return. You are a wonderful mess most of the time! Your daddy and I have great fun imagining who you’ll be someday …

My “snapshot” of you right now, at 4 …

Twirling and dancing in the kitchen, in the backyard, on the sidewalk.

Singing loudly (to your brothers dismay) in the car … everywhere we go.

Making up your own tunes, your own words, your own grand stories.

Dresses and tutus and frilly skirts and princess gear.

Messy hair and messy hands.

Running with a soccer ball like a natural little athlete.

Cute and disheveled … all at the same time.

Ballerina class.

Bossy and demanding. Trying to “rule the world”.

Getting lectures about being kind and nice and showing others grace.

Listening to Zac Brown Band’s “Homegrown” and knowing all the words.

Saying, “you’re my baby girl, Momma” and “we’re best friends forever” and “never leave me, Momma, I want you to be my baby forever and ever…”

Laughing hard and loud when something is funny to you.

Asking for a snack. And, another snack. And, more milk.

Ranch and carrots.

Playdoe and markers.

Did I mention the messy hair already?! Ha ha ha!

Sweet bedtimes and “Will you sleep with me for a few minutes, Mommy?”

Asking for your daddy in the morning … you want him to sing his special morning song to you before you get out of the bed, each and every day.

Heartbreak over saying goodbye to your beloved paci.

Bunny and Blankie — your best friends forever.

Wearing your Cubbie vest to Awana and proudly learning your Bible verses.

All the pink. All the time.

Playing with your neighborhood friends … just like a big girl.

Kissing boo-boos and needing lots of band-aids for imaginary scrapes.

Holding hands and holding hearts.

Oh, my sweetness. If I could keep you little, I would. I’d keep you soft and squishy. I’d keep you all to myself. I’d keep you home, away from the world. I’d keep you as safe as I possibly could manage. I’d keep you. I’d keep you just the way you are … the good, the hard, the messy, the imperfect, the beautiful, the funny. I’d keep you, always. But, grow and go you must. It’s just the way, my love. But, I’ll be here … my heart is yours to keep … always, always. No number of birthdays will ever take that from us.

Happiest 4th Birthday, Baby Girl!

Love Always, Your Momma

To My Boy, on His 6th Birthday

To my dear, N —

It’s weird for me, even to write it…six. Six. Six seems too big, too grown up, like such a KID. I still picture you as my little. I still see myself as a momma of toddlers. But, you aren’t a toddler. You aren’t a baby. You are a kid. And, I’m a big softie. I’m sentimental and I’m emotional. You’ll always be ‘My Baby’, even if you aren’t one anymore. I will always grieve the passing of time. The passing of each stage. The passing of your littleness. My heart will always break as I have to let go of you a little more and a little more… Time will never change that. Letting you go will never get easier.
This was a big year for us. This year you started kindergarten. This year you took your first really big steps away from me and toward independence. It was hard. It was hard or both of us. We are close. You are my best. We don’t like to be away from each other. And, yet, it was time. You were ready. And, you do love kindergarten. And, I’m glad. And, I’m sad. And, I miss you.

At 6, you are… Funny. Witty. Sharp. Quick. You “get” things all of the sudden and we are now able to share a joke and laugh together in a new way. You are tender. You want to please and your feelings get hurt easily if you think you’ve done something wrong. You are caring and kind. You are forgiving and sweet. You are so logical and literal. It makes you crazy that your sister lives in an imaginary world where her own rules apply. You can’t wrap your mind around that. To you, things are or they aren’t, so when she’s deep in “pretend” you often feel that she’s lying or she’s wrong. Still, you love that little girl. She’s your sister and I love that the two of you are currently best friends. You are cautious. You are never the first to jump in and do something. You stand back, watch and observe. You are shy, yet not insecure. You are quiet, yet once you let your guard down, you are no longer quiet. You are just like me in that way. You are fun. You are a good friend.

You are learning about comfort zones and what it means to step out of them. You are putting on a brace face. You are starting to understand prayer in a bigger way and you are now grasping that you aren’t alone in this world and what relying on God looks like to you. You are smart and creative. You are a problem solver. You are gorgeous, outside and in. You love projects and crafts and drawing and thinking. You are curious. You love books. You love life. You are a beautiful soul. Your character is strong. You seem to grasp goodness and understand that you need to walk toward it. Stay good. Oh, sweet boy, stay true to who you are right now. You’re amazing. To me, you are soo, so much. And, I wish you the happiest sixth birthday.

Love Always, your mommy

For My N, on his 5th Birthday

I love to write my littles letters on their birthdays. It’s for them, but maybe it’s more for me. It’s so they’ll remember. It’s so that I won’t forget. Time is impossible to stop. It’s impossible to slow it down. So, maybe … maybe if I can just capture a little sliver of it in words … maybe we’ll be able to remember just how sweet it all is …

18

To my Favorite Boy,

My sweet boy. You are 5 now. Whenever I pause to reflect on you; to write to you – my heart gets caught in my throat and I always have to stop and have a good cry. It’s just … the way I love you has always amazed me. The way I feel about you can never adequately be expressed. It’s soo much.

It was a little cooler today and I noticed some of the leaves changing as A and I drove to pick you up at pre-school. Fall always makes me feel more sentimental.  I caught myself feeling overcome by mixture of happiness and sadness. I have loved your littleness. I have loved baby N and toddler N. Raising you isn’t always easy and we have days that feel desperate,  so raw and so hard. Yet, there is so much beauty in it. There is so much life in it and ridiculous amounts of joy. I have a wonderful time with you. You have made my life so meaningful. It’s strange to me that you are 5 now. Already. It doesn’t seem quite right. You should still be my little guy, but you are growing and changing every day. You are a kid now. It’s hard to let go and watch you grow. Yet, I’m so proud of you. And, though it’s hard for me at times and I yearn to wrap you in my arms and keep you little, watching you grow has been so rewarding and fun. It’s my favorite thing.

At 5, my boy, you are full of life. You are smart and imaginative. You are innovative and full of ideas. You are kind and tender-hearted. You think “stupid” is the worst “bad word” there is and you truly strive to use only “kind” words. You are easily frustrated, but mainly because you want to be able to do all-the-things. You are funny and goofy. You make us laugh. You sorta play soccer. Sorta. You love pre-school. You adore stuffed animals and have more than any child should. You struggle with greed … caused by your desire to have all the stuffed animals in the world. Ha! You are a comfy clothes wearer. Silly story teller. You are becoming a good little artist and not a bad little carpenter. You still want to be a construction worker when you grow up. You take good care of your sister and y’all are best friends, but you also like to tease her and sometimes you make her cry on purpose. You feel strongly about all the things. You. I’ve never loved anything more. My boy. My heart.

Love, Your Momma