I can’t believe it’s here.
The day we talked about from the first time we met you.
It’s your birthday. And you are thirteen!
Thirteen. And I can’t quite wrap my mind around that truth. You are a teenager. I feel like it wasn’t so long ago for me. But it was.
And I know I keep talking about it, but why does it go by so fast?
I sit here and watch your baby sisters take a bath and I try to remember you all covered in suds and squealing. And now you’ve grown and you wouldn’t dare let me catch you like that. It just comes upon us – this growing up thing.
You know what one of our favorites said,
Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different… (CS Lewis)
I had a little meltdown today and once upon a time you were the cause of those. And I have to say, years of practice does improve us. Not perfect, but I’ve learned to reign in those Mama meltdowns.
Not today. I dropped the reigns today. Then a moment I could not imagine thirteen years ago – you walked over to comfort me.
Mom, I don’t like it when you get upset.
You murmured as you wrapped your arms around me and nuzzled into my neck. And I thank God He gave you a heart like yours. Because, Son, you’ll never be too old to snuggle up to your Mom.
I do want to tell you something. Something I’ve been thinking about. And, man, so much has changed since I was thirteen. I remember my thirteenth birthday. I got a sweet pair of purple triangle earrings. They were the perfect match for my oversized sweatshirt. I remember my parents took me to see the Biltmore House with my aunt. I only saw her a few times in my life. She lived in Germany, and family is a whole other story.
I remember grinning into the camera with my braces-lined teeth and my not-so-great hair. Mom snapped the picture and tucked it into that baby book. It was a good day. I remember it well when I gaze at that innocent freckled face. This young girl who had no idea what the world would bring to her children. My photo is tucked away safely and today I’ll probably post your smiling face for many to see.
Our world is smaller today and these random postings let us see the people we miss. We watch little ones grow up on screens the size of our palms. And I can’t say I’m sorry. I missed seeing most of my family for most of my life. I’m grateful for the smiling posts of children’s birthdays.
But here’s the thing I want you to know. Numbers don’t matter. Now don’t get the idea this will get you out of doing math, but really, they don’t count for much.
These days we count the likes, the shares, the pins, the tweets, the retweets, the mentions, the comments, the subscribers, the friends, the unfriends, the followers, the unfollowers, and on and on. We count and keep counting.
There are a few numbers running through my mind right now.
We are 10 miles from the hospital where you were born, and 5 miles from your baby home. That’s pretty unusual for a military kid – to be so close to where you took your first breath of life.
This was the 1st place I ever nursed a baby and built a crib. It’s also the last place I nursed my 6th baby and will take the last crib down.
There are 7 people who will have your back forever and they live under your roof right now.
Your 2 parents think you hung the moon – even when we’ve considered sending you all there for just a minute or ten.
Your 1st tooth popped in 12 years ago in that first house, and you lost your last baby tooth just 3 days ago in your 5th house. The $10 from the tooth fairy may have been overkill, but, you see, those things linger in a mother’s heart forever.
365 nights a year I kiss your head while you sleep and the thought of not being able to do that someday breaks my 1 heart.
You are just 6 inches shorter than I am, though your hands and feet are as big as mine. You will grow right past me, but my 2 hands will never be too small to hold you or mess your hair. And every morning and night these 2 hands fold in prayer for every one of you.
I’ve asked God 1 million times to never take you too far from me; but, please, if He does – don’t keep my boy gone too long.
I wish you countless blessings in your life. I pray you follow the right path, and only the right ones follow you. But the 1 thing I wish most for you is to follow the only One who truly matters.
I could go on and give you the stats that bury deep in a Mama’s heart. The number of boo-boos I’ve kissed and the hours of sleep I’ve missed. The number of questions I’ve answered and answers I’ve questioned. The number of miles we’ve gone through this life until now and how many more we have yet to travel. But truly the numbers just don’t matter all that much.
You look into my eyes and ask me,
What does matter, Mom?
Son, I’m telling you words matter the very most. The words you say, and the ones you hold back. The ones you spew in anger, and the ones you offer in humble apology. The words you laugh, and the ones you cry. The words you wish you could take back, and the ones you wish you had just one more chance to say again.
You see, Son, in the beginning was the Word. In the beginning, and in the end, that is the only one thing that matters.
Use your words well, sweet boy. They give life. Believe it.
Finally, the ones I want to brand on your heart are these,
You are one of a kind.
I count myself blessed to be your Mom.
I love you… to infinity.
And, yes, you still have to do your math.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.