My oldest turns 21 tomorrow. And I wonder how that’s even possible.
I look in the mirror and see such change from the short-haired, high-heeled, 27 year old who had no idea what to do with the tiny, bow-lipped, perfectly formed, newborn son gently placed in my arms on that first cold January afternoon.
He’s taught me so much. To be a mom, really. To swaddle and bathe and feed and clothe and comfort and care for a brand new little human. He’s taught me the depth of love, and of desperation, as I held him hot and wheezing with pneumonia at seven weeks old, as I buckled him into his car seat and drove him to ER when he wouldn’t wake from his nap at eighteen months.
As I held him and walked him and rocked him and played with him and fed him and taught him to tie his shoes and hold a crayon and scoop sand and roll out dough and read.
And somewhere along the way, I learned to balance desperation and protection. Learned to let him run and climb and chase and tumble and roll and laugh and sled and skate. Learned that it’s OK for little ones to fall down and get dirty and play.
Learned to sew and watched him play in a whole array of masks and capes. Every single day.
He’s taught me to see, this almost man of mine, to discover the beauty tucked into ordinary moments and everyday objects. To turn them over in my hands and discover the patterns, watch the way the light reflects, notice the colors in an endless array of hues and shades. He’s taught me perspective. And to feel music – and to listen. Deep.
He’s taught me to weigh my words and choose my battles wisely – buckets of words spilled over, poured out, impatiently, angrily splashed across too many days. Words that sometimes wounded his heart.
And he’s taught me patience. Together we’ve learned forgiveness and perseverance and to never, ever give up. Even when we’ve wanted to. Even when it’s all we could see, the only words we could speak. Even when it hurt just to breathe, he didn’t let go.
And neither did I.
We held on. And spring came. Like it does every year.
And tomorrow, I will stand on the edge of this crisp new year, amazed at my firstborn son, grateful for each day he still sleeps under our roof, joins us at the table, shares his words, his music, his art – his heart – with us.
Thankful for every single beautiful, impossible, laughter-filled, overwhelming, joy-brimming, incredible, frustrating, adventurous, desperate, busy, ugly, wonder-filled one of his 7,765 days on this earth.
And awed that God chose me…me!…to be his mom.