Never picturing myself as a mother, unsure if I’d ever want to embrace that role, being not too keen on children, I found myself anxiously ballooning with a child of my own. The unknowns, the fear of failure, the giving up of comfort, routine, cleanliness to the degree which I prefer, was the path I was staring down four years ago.
Those things I still wrestle with on occasion. I’d sure love to have my floors without dog hair or toast crumbs from end to end. I’d love the chance to pick up a book any time I felt like it. Or get enough sleep until the dark circles under my eyes dissipated. Who knew that making up an excuse to go to the bathroom to get a five minute break would enter my conscious? But even more so, who knew that concocted plan would utterly fail? The feeling of not being all twisted up inside when watching your kids get hurt or when your own feelings are hurt by the back-talk and explosive fits would be a nice feeling not to have. Sure, there are things that come along with motherhood that are harder and more heart-wrenching than I could have imagined. There’s still an inner wrestling of my own desires and agendas that I wish would disappear and not be such a battle within me.
But you came into the world. A tiny bundle of warmth and need that I had no idea what to do with.
You made me a mother. You are my son. My man-child of four years. Four years of discovering and learning. Four years of playing and making memories. Four years of messing up and forgiving. Four years of pruning and stretching, growing and leaping.
You love sports. You have an energy level that makes the world spin, but can amazingly sit contentedly on my lap through a whole play or movie. You have a thoughtful heart and a contagious laugh. You can hit a baseball better than I ever could, and thankfully, you have some good buddies you play football with regularly that expend some of that man-energy that leaves me ringing my hands sometimes. You have a zest for life and put your full self into what you do. A sight I see often is you patting the backs of other kids assuring and encouraging.
Kensington thinks you hung the moon. She cries when you leave, wanting to follow you wherever you go. And most of the time, you gladly welcome her saying, “Come on, Kens!” You’ve taught her how to roar her heart out, and she’s found the joy of well-rounded play-time incorporating dinosaurs, cars, and monster trucks to her repertoire of toys.
In many ways you remind me of me. Your vast expressions, your love for school and learning, how books are a regular first choice of pleasure. You still get excited about the ‘homework’ you bring from school to practice your letters. Kensie is even-keeled like Daddy; you and I bring the drama. I’ve found a fellow chocolate lover that matches my own fervor. Even at four years old, you are still my snuggle bug. Every night you beckon me upstairs to snuggle and rub your tummy. “I want you, Mommy,” are words that spill out of your mouth often, and I cup them in my hands each time like a fragile gift.
From the time you were a baby you have always astounded us with your appetite; you can pack away almost as much as Daddy, and you’ll eat nearly anything, salad and veggies included. You’re strikingly tall and solidly built. You love to help, and regularly comment about how when you eat it will make you “grow big and strong and tall like Daddy.” In the past year, you’ve gotten over your fear of going down (most) slides, but are still fairly cautious trying out new adventures. The one adventure you have no fear about is horses. You will get on any horse at any time, and even enjoy the thrill of a trot.
You’re also at a stage that has awakened an ache that leaves me soul-sore. It’s typical, they say, at age three, to have challenges. Ours has seemed to peek in the last few months. The running away and the screaming hurt my heart, and I wonder what is happening in yours. As Daddy and I wrestle and churn and pray and grapple with how to train you and shape your heart, we acknowledge that ultimately, it’s just one of a thousand ways we’re going to have to entrust you to your heavenly Father. You are His. You are His. You are His. And oh, how we pray for you to run into Him, to love Him with your whole heart, and to be captivated by His beauty, that everything else in your eyes would pale in comparison to Jesus.
Momma’s learning, baby boy. Momma’s praying to know best how to love you. Momma makes mistakes and Momma longs to be the Momma God wants me to be for you, to not waste away moments of car playing, reading, wrestling and snuggling with to-do lists and distractions and “but I’d rather’s”.
It still hasn’t lost its profoundness on me, you being the chosen firstborn. You were just the right one to ‘break me in’. These past four years have breezed by, just like the next fourteen will. I take hold of encouragement like this, thankful for each moment. Thankful for the God who will carry us through and for the ways we’ll learn and grow together, and for the grace of each new day.
You, my man-child, are a gift. A gift beyond measure, a gift to treasure, and a gift I want to entrust to the One who gave you to me in the first place.
Only four more sleeps and you’ll be four years old, little boy! Happy Birthday!
I love you deeply and always, Brennan, and am so thankful for how you pushed me over the edge into this wild, holy realm of motherhood.