Monday, March 28, 2016

Happy 9th Birthday, Jackson!

My son,

Last night, when I kissed you good night, you told me you didn't want today to come. You wanted to stay eight forever.

As much as I'd like you to stay small enough to fit in my lap when we rock in the recliner, my eyes gaze more on your future than on your past. I'm sure there will come a day when I'd give anything to return to these days, but right now - crawling on my belly in the bottom of the parenting trenches - I don't anticipate anything as much as I look forward to your growth and development.

Parenting feels a little like reading tea leaves: I try to find patterns and things that make sense and foretell of your future, only to realize the actual living of your life changes every prediction I had the audacity to suggest. Your future develops only as you're living it.

In layman's terms: as soon as I figure you out, you grow and change on me! Parenting, in a nutshell.

So, partly as a note to my future self (who will likely over-romanticize these days of your childhood) and as a note to your future self (who will likely have a skewed memory), here are the things I will and won't miss about your 8th year:

I will not miss the way you hide around corners and in dark rooms, waiting to jump out and scare your sister... or me... or the dog. (You take extensive glee in terrorizing your sister!)

Speaking of that, I will not miss the way you and Katie push each other's buttons. What is it with you two? You poke for the sheer pleasure of poking, like it's a science experiment you're trying to prove wrong.

Yet at the same time, I will miss the way you adore Katie. You reserve a special kind of love for her. I see it when you have good news and want to share it with her first. I see it when you stand in the garage after school, desperate for Katie's bus to arrive so you can welcome her home. I know you adore her when I hear your giggles coming from the basement fort she's helped you build. Oh please, Jackson! Let that adoration of your sister thrive as you mature!

I will not miss your attachment to your Nike Elite socks. Dude, you have GOT to stop digging them out of the laundry and let me wash them before you wear them... yet again.

But on the other hand, I will miss your magical, childish thinking and the way you believe fluorescent Nike socks really do make you run faster. I'll miss seeing the world through your eyes, believing in the impossible AND convinced you'll be a professional baseball, football, and basketball player all at the same time. (No matter how much I debate with you, you staunchly refuse to budge on this future career path. Man, I sound like a dream killer, don't I?!)

I will not miss your shaggy hair and the way you already flinch when I reach to brush your bangs from your eyes.

I also will not miss the way you have become my human alarm clock on the mornings I sleep late. The snuggles are nice, but I could do without the sighing and the repeated "Can we get up now?" questions. (I am not a morning person, which is a concept you have yet to acknowledge.) Speaking of snuggles, I will miss those and the time we get reading in the LoveSac or on the couch or before bedtime.

As I tucked you into bed last night and you resisted turning nine, I kissed you and reminded you there is a Lifetime of So Much Ahead of You. While yesterday was good and today is better, tomorrow will be greater than you could ever imagine: great in the good ways and the not-so-good, too. There is life to be lived, joy to be savored, and pain to survive. God will draw you closer to Him through every day you have yet to live, and the thought of that growth makes my heart pound.

Now today, on your 9th birthday, I say a prayer for the Lifetime of So Much Ahead of You: I ask God to bless you, bend you, carry you, console you, train you, temper you, adore you, and adopt you.

SO MUCH starts now! Happy birthday, Sugar Boy. Your daddy and I sure do love you!


Debbie Marshall said...

Love this!

Betty Allen said...

I am so happy for you taking the leap. God will walk with you thru all your fear. Glad you are listening to people that love you. :)


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