When you find yourself expecting (which I had the delightful privilege of experiencing 3 times), especially when it's your first, there's a mixture of emotions and thoughts....
When I was 19 weeks pregnant
Will I be a good mother?
Will I raise him right?
How will I know what to do?
My life will never be the same.
I'm sooooooooo very happy!
On and on the thoughts come and go, the whole while a wonderful, new life is growing inside you, and you do the "Mommy Count Down", the nesting...each and every experience burned in your memory for keeps.
Then the day finally arrives, and the baby is born! Nothing prepares you for the pain of child birth, but what shocks you more is that the pleasure of his arrival knocks out the full memory of that pain. That first moment, that first touch, that first kiss, that first cry...It's all so life altering.
His first day home from the hospital, 2002
Before you know it, a year has passed! Where did the time go!?! He is 1...and you don't believe it's possible that he's turned a day old, or even a month old, let alone a whole year old!
You blink again, and he's 2! Toddler years! He's walking well now and he isn't as dependent on you as he used to be...You want to slow it down, but you're powerless to do so, and if you really thought about it, you wouldn't want to.
Another year, and he's 3. He's brushing his teeth and potty training is nearly done! You're cheering that he's out of diapers, but miss some of the dependency on you, but you smile at what a "little man" he's becoming.
Four years old. Pre-school! He's trying to write his name, he's naming his colors and shapes, he's longing to read and now the tears really come when you're alone. It's too soon for him to go off to school, but yet...it's time, too.
Five years old and now he's in "big kid school". Kindergarten is here in all its glittered, backpacked, take-lunch-to-school, learning-to-cut-and-paste, making-new-friends glory. You send him off with mixed emotions of pride, hope and sadness. You want him to succeed more than anything in the world, you hope he makes good, life-long buddies and yet you will miss him more than anything throughout the day.
Another year, another grade! You're baby boy is now 6 and in 1st grade! He's reading, writing, doing math. You can hardly believe how smart he is! You cheer him on and encourage him, though you still miss his smiling face during those seemingly endless school days.
Second grade and 7 years old! Look out world! Field trips, friends, class parties...The fun never stops...nor the learning. He's developed quite the personality over the years, and you find that he's got more "why"s and "how"s to ask than ever before! He amazes you, and you don't tell him enough because you don't want it to go to his head. :)
8 years old and in 3rd grade. He's talking about how he has a best friend or 2, how he wants to be this or that when he grows up (it changes every few months) and he shows himself to be more and more responsible every day. He no longer wants to play with "baby" toys, and is on to cooler things...Like Legos. He looks up to his daddy and still loves his mommy...and you're so very grateful!
Can it be? Your little man is now 9 and in the 4th grade! Who fast-forwarded time? How can it be possible? Surely it was only yesterday he was born...But no. It's been 9 years since that day. He's such a wonderful young man, plays so nicely with his siblings, helps out around the house. Yes, he's growing up way too fast, but you couldn't be more thrilled with the man he's becoming!
And then there's today. Today your son turns 10 years old. He's in 5th grade now and wants to be with his friends more, but will still give you hugs in front of his friends and tell you that he loves you. He also teases you about the facial hair he thinks he's getting (and you have to begrudgingly admit he may be right). You pray for him daily (like you always have), thankful that he's on the right path today and begging God to let him still be on it tomorrow. You want the world for him just as much today as you did the day you found out you were carrying him. Maybe not so much has changed after all...
Happy Birthday, Stephen! Your mommy loves you more than you'll ever know! You may not be my baby anymore, but you'll always be my little man!