Thursday, February 25, 2016
I Sneak Back In at Night.
At some point when you're reading this book, you will have the night like I am having tonight. If you have more than one child, you'll have more than one of these nights. And every year, all your life, you'll have them. They never become easier. They are never less bittersweet. You don't look forward to them, but you don't dread them, and no matter how many of them you have under your belt, you find yourself caught in the black hole of nostalgia every single time it rolls around.
It's the night before my son's birthday.
The truth is, I was sure I would never dread him turning older when he was a newborn. After having the easiest baby on earth for our first child, I wasn't prepared for number two in any way imaginable. The first year or so of his life was an endless game of "How Do I Get Him to Sleep More Than an Hour Per Stretch at Night" tag teamed with my second favorite game, "How Do I Get Him to Sleep More Than Twenty Minutes Per Nap." It also was a marathon of endless rounds of, "Why Is He Crying More Than Any Other Baby On Earth," and "Why Does No One Want to Keep My Baby." He's just flat out spicy. He's been spicy ever since he was anxious to get here and grounded me at 31 weeks pregnant. He was spicy since he literally came out of the womb with his eyes wide open and was incredibly awake for the many hours that followed. I remember endless nights of us taking turns shoveling food down our throats in shifts while we held the Newborn Firecracker in lieu of the heavy metal sound of his crying as our dinner music, only to fall into bed for a few minutes before he would wake up screaming, wondering what in the WORLD God must have in mind for this little tenacious life and why He saw fit to choose US to get him there. I would see people with boys aged three or four and be secretly jealous of how much further down the road they were than me.
Now here we are with our foot in the last year of the preschool years and I am wondering where it's all going and how it's happening so fast.
I've written about this before, but I sneak back in every night.
I stand over my sleeping children and kiss their peaceful faces and wonder if I'm getting any of this right. I pray a silent prayer of thanks for the gift of them. And the night before their birthdays, my heart says something like this.
Sleep well, son.
Tomorrow, you'll wake up a whole year older. And I swear that tonight, right in front of my eyes, you grew even bigger and stronger than when you first climbed into bed.
I hope I am getting the important things right for you. You're learning the obvious things-- like no hitting girls, keep your pee-pee in your pants, and don't spit at the restaurant table. You're growing up to know who Jesus is, how to pray for the Holy Spirit to show you where something is that you've lost, and that we need to talk to God about a headache before we take a single drop of medicine. You can count, sing your ABCs, and identify all your colors. But it's not these things that I hope I'm getting right.
I hope I am nailing the less obvious things. The shaping of your character without the breaking of your will. The ability to let you be wild without being reckless. The strengthening of your resolve without feeding your stubbornness. Building your self-worth without nourishing your pride. I hope I am teaching you to see more than what's in the room and to be cautious without being afraid. I hope I am teaching you to ask questions and seek answers. To admit failure and build bridges.
I hope I am teaching you by my life to love.
I know for sure that you know I love you. I'm quite aware it's the bedrock for what God is going to do in you. I take pride in my partnership with Him to lay a foundation of love and security in your life for Him to build mighty fortresses on. Sometimes, it takes my breath away that He chose me to be your advocate, your fan club president, your home. I make it my daily course of study to learn all I can about this masterpiece He handed to me. The streaks of darker brown in your left eye that aren't in your right eye. The one freckle on your nose that's a tad darker than the other ones. Your chipped left front tooth. Your underbite. How you fold your sweet little hands under your cheek while you sleep. How long your strawberry blonde eyelashes are. The way you look for my face in a sea of faces. The tiny things I see that make my heart hurt that no one else sees, like when you're telling a grown up something and they don't know you're talking to them so they walk off and you finish your story to yourself. The way you walk up to the biggest and scariest looking dog at the park without blinking an eye but freak out over the littlest ladybug landing on your finger. The way you look for a way to bless me every day-- a flower from the yard, your last piece of cheese, the first sip of your juice.
I see a giant in you. A man who will lead nations without hesitation and love his wife hard with humility. A defender who will slay giants for his family and hold his newborn baby with tenderness and kindness. I see hands that will fight against injustice but will also raise toward Heaven in worship of His King. I see a lion of a man inside you, my love. You're little but you're fierce. I see the fingerprints of God all over you.
I also see that time is slipping away from us.
You were three tonight, when I tucked you in.
You were wearing blue pajamas with cute little monsters on them. We spent the evening with friends and you hit your head and have a knot. I wrote this blog and you covered my computer with small, squishy plastic frogs and talked about jellybeans and you gave me a lollipop. Then, as you fell asleep, I laid next to you, listening to your voice getting sleepier and your breathing getting softer, your little body finally still after a day and night of constant motion. And in the dark, I got closer. I smelled your head and held my lips on your cheek and wondered how many more years I will be able to snuggle next to your tiny little body as you drift into sleep. How many more years will you want me to be near? I thought of how this time four years ago, I had no idea it would be the last night my womb would hold you. This time four years ago, I had no idea what your cry would sound like or how funny you would be or how enchanted I would be by everything about you.
This time four years ago, I had never loved exactly like this.
So in answer to my question of how many years will you let me snuggle you this way... the answer really doesn't matter. Because I'm your mom and I'll sneak back in like I always do. And whether you're 10 or 18 or 35, I will smell your head and hold my lips to your cheek.
And then, I'll fall to my knees by your bed and thank the Lord of Heaven and Earth that you're under my roof. I'll thank Him that I was the one who gave you life and put Band-Aids on your boo-boos and gave stank eye to the girls who broke your heart. I'll thank Him for entrusting the shaping of your heart into my earthly hands. I'll thank Him for every kiss, every laugh, every smell, every freckle, and every mess.
I am never going to be able to thank Him enough for filling my heart with you. But I am sure going to keep trying.
Happy Birthday, Little One. My heart is so full of love for you, I hurt tonight. It's a pain I wouldn't have missed for the world. And it's one I will carry all my days.