As he walked past me, I grabbed on to his gray Nike t-shirt and pulled him onto my lap. He is too big for me to cuddle, but I cuddle him anyway. His lanky legs hang almost to the floor. I lean down and kiss him on the forehead, noticing his ridiculously long eyelashes. He is my firstborn. My baby boy. And McDaddy’s namesake.
I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you that these past ten years have been the best years of my life. Back when I was 25, I thought I was in the prime of my life. I know now that I was so wrong about that. This motherhood thing? It is the most challenging job I will ever love. And you, my sweet boy, are the reason that Daddy and I became members of the Parents Club. We failed you in so many ways in those early years. We didn’t make you “cry it out” at night until well after you were able to speak and yell VERY PLAINLY “Daddy, buddy, daddy, buddy” and the two of us sat on the bed in utter disbelief wondering which one would beat the other to your crib side. You didn’t come with an instruction manual, so we’ve had to pick this thing up as we go. When we carried you in the house for the first time, your dad sat the bulky car seat (with you in it) down and we looked at each other and said, “Well, now what?”
We knew nothing about raising a child. Thank you for being patient with us.
The years have flown by.
And I am dreading the next ones.
These next few years will be tough for me. (Not for daddy, because he handles stress and change like a normal, sane person.) I, on the other hand, will be a basket case. I can hardly think about dropping you off for your first day of middle school without crying. It literally seems like just yesterday I was in an uproar about taking you to Kindergarten for your first day of school. Once you enter that
war-zone Middle school, I know the unchartered waters could, and probably will get rough. Soon, you will start to notice girls and undoubtedly one will break your heart. And then, so help me, I will want to pull every hair from her head for hurting my baby. There will be things that happen at school that you will forget to tell me. Or refuse to tell me. I just hope you know that you can come to me and daddy with anything. I am slowly learning that I cannot blow my ever lovin’ top each and every time you are wronged. But it’s not because I don’t want to. I am your protector. And your biggest fan. And I would lay down my life for you without hesitation.
Oh sweet boy, you are so intelligent, I often wonder if you are really mine. When we joke about home-schooling you, I have to laugh because you have knowledge about things I have never even heard of. And Lord knows the only thing I could teach you about math is how to calculate 50% off of a sale item because I am a whiz at that. I am thankful that you took more than your good looks from your dad.
You are a statistical monster and you don’t forget one single thing. EVER. At four years old, you could recite the whole “If you have diabetes, and you’re on medicare, you may qualify for a free meter from Liberty Mutual” commercial. Several people suggested that we record you doing that, and sadly, I never did because it didn’t seem like such a big deal at the time. Man, I could kick myself for not doing that. While I can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday, you could probably tell me what you had for lunch seven months ago. And we learned a long time ago not to discuss anything important in front of you because no matter what you are doing, you are also LISTENING (you did take something from me, after all!)
You are kind-hearted and you love to laugh. You are a good friend and a child of the King. One of my proudest moments as your momma was the night you told me you wanted to ask Jesus into your heart. Because Daddy was deployed, I wanted to wait until he called so that we could discuss it together. You prayed right over Skype and your dad and I are so thankful that you made the decision to follow Jesus. As you enter this new phase of life, keep Jesus close to your heart. Love like Jesus. Consult Him when you are unsure about things. He loves you even more than Daddy and I do, and you will never go wrong keeping your sights set on Him.
You love the game of baseball and your heart for the game is unmatched. One of my favorite things to do is watch you play ball. I love that you are such a kind-hearted teammate. And I also love that you don’t mind me being your “team mom.” It is certainly one of the things I love the most about this season of life.
You are protective over Alex and you love to teach him things. He looks up to you, and I hope you keep that in mind when making decisions. The two of you love to play together and it makes my heart smile when the stars align and you jokers are getting along and laughing together. You take your role as big brother very seriously and I am happy about that. I have a confession: I often stand at your bedroom door and listen in on the conversation between the two of you. You talk about all manner of boy stuff. Farts. Lego’s. Cars. Friends. Dreams. Mini Figures. Baseball. Superheroes. And school. I hope the two of you remain close even when you are grown.
You are growing up everyday, but I love that you still like to play. I am dreading the day when you no longer want to do these things. Soon, you will ask to attend sporting events without me. And school dances. And you will no longer play with that little bit of hair (the bit that rarely ever lays as it should because you won’t leave it be – it even shows in that picture above, and below!) as you read, or eat, or watch television. I dread the day that you trade a matchbox car for a real car. And you trade a Big Nate book for a chemistry book, or Lord have mercy on me, a college handbook. Oh my sweet baby boy (daddy says I must quit calling you that!) I can’t hardly imagine that time.
Stevie, I am so proud to be your mom. Teachers have always commented to us about what a great kid you are. I am so happy to hear that. There is a reason I tell you every single day when I drop you off at school to do the right thing even when no one is watching. Aside from loving Jesus and others, it is the most important thing you can do. I love you and I want you to know I will always be in your corner. You can count on me to be honest and supportive and loving. And you can also count on me to go nine kinds of crazy on any girl that doesn’t treat you right.
I am only kidding.
As I count down these final eight days before you start Middle School, I do so with a heavy heart and a great big dependence on Jesus. He will be with you when I can’t be. And that comforts me. I know these next eight years are going to fly by, and there will be a lot of changes. One thing that will never change, my boy, is my love for you.
Don’t ever forget that.