Wednesday, January 18, 2012

To Jax on your First Birthday

My sweet baby boy
I can't believe today is your birthday. I knew this year would go by fast, but I truly had no idea. I can still remember your birth so vividly, that it really seems like just yesterday. Flashes of moments from the past year have been going through my head all day and I just shake my head in wonder at how fast it's gone by. Everyone warns me to soak it up and enjoy it because it goes by all too fast and it really has. Not every moment is easy or fabulous or even enjoyable, but I am grateful for each one. A sweet friend once told me that the days are long, but the years are short and I'm finding that to be true.

This year has been the best of my life. Not the easiest. Not the most balanced or restful or organized. But by far the best. You made me a Mama. I had no idea what it would feel like or look like to be a mom, but now I can't imagine it any other way.

I know it's so cliche, but you've taught me so much- so many things I thought I already knew. I've learned some really amazing things, and some humbling things. Some lessons are ongoing and not yet completed-and they might never be this side of heaven. But I'm learning none the less.

I've learned what real worry and fear is. I spent the first few weeks of your life fluctuating between awe and fear, worrying about the "what ifs" regarding your health and safety and future. I learned just how little I trusted God to take care of you, and I'm learning just how much I can trust Him. I've learned what mercy and grace really look like, what the unconditional love of a parent feels like. And I've gotten just a taste of what the unconditional love of our God must be like. You've taught me that it's ok for the house to be messy and that dishes can wait, and that things don't always have to be or look or seem perfect. You've shown me just how amazing my parents are and made me realize the sacrifices and grace that they have shown me. I'm learning to let go of the control I never really had any way, and accept my limitations for what they are: chances for God to show me just how much He is able to meet my needs and heal my hurts and fix my shortcomings. I'm learning about what is really and truly important, and how very little actually fits into that category. I'm learning how to ask for help and how to say I'm sorry.

I've learned what it is to be truly thankful. For health and safety. Most nights as I sit and rock you I just thank God for you and how healthy you are and that we are able to provide for you. I'm all too aware of the fact that a lot of moms can't say that. I'm thankful for medicine when your sick and the ability to go to the store and buy you food to eat and clothes for you to wear. I'm thankful for friends and family who love you and care about you. I'm thankful for the freedom to take you to church and to read you the Bible and teach you about God. I've tried hard not to complain about waking up in the middle of the night with you or getting up early. I realize how many women would love to have a little one keeping them up all night and don't and just how blessed I am. I get to be the one you run to when you're hurting, the one you want holding you when your sick. What a precious gift that is.

You make me want to be a better Christian. I've become so aware of the fact that this is all temporary and that there is a lot more that hangs in the balance than whether you sleep through the night or have a clean shirt to wear. This world is fighting so hard to have you and convince you that you have to be rich or popular or great at sports or watch this show or any other number of things to be successful or popular or whatever it wants you to believe. But your daddy and I are fighting that much harder to show you that there is a God who loves you unconditionally and who wants to know you personally. A God Who wants you to have character and honor and integrity and truth. And we are praying with all of our hearts for the wisdom and grace to show you those things. Not just to teach you those things, but to live them out daily for you, to be the example of what God wants us to be. I have a sense of urgency now that I've never really had before, to learn and to grow and to be that woman God created me to be so that I can help you become the man that God wants you to be. I know I'm going to make mistakes. I already have and will continue to. But I'm praying that God will cover me with the grace that will be needed for us both to learn from them.

You've brought so much joy to our lives. You are incredibly smart and are quite mischievous. You love to laugh and smile. I look back at all the pictures I have of you from the past year, and so many of them are with your mouth wide open in a huge smile. That's you in a nutshell. Happy, laid back, full of joy. It does make me a little sad, a little nostalgic to know you're growing up so fast. I know it's all a part of life and being a mom and that it continues to get more interesting and fun. But part of me wants to capture you at all these stages so I can remember just what it was like at this time in your life. I kiss your little feet after bath time, knowing all too soon they will grow into the smelly feet of a grown man :). I was rocking tonight at bedtime, just holding you tight, and you lifted your sweet little head in the dark and opened your mouth so I could give you a kiss and my heart melted all over again. I am so thankful for you and proud of you. You are showing me what an amazing calling and responsibility that motherhood is. And I couldn't be more grateful.
You will always be my baby boy.
I love you,