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Today, I’m curled up under this blanket, and I keep glancing across the room, watching you, completely absorbed in a new book you unwrapped just moments ago. From the outside, it might just seem like an ordinary day. The day another kid turned ten. But my heart is soaring and I’m silently singing hallelujah because God has been so faithful. And our victories may not seem significant compared to others’, but they are ours and I will exult in God’s goodness to us.

Ten years ago today, Dutch’s birth forever changed my world. As every mother knows, your world is completely transformed in an instant. A wild, raging love pulses through your veins, a fierce, protective love, an intoxicating and all-consuming love. It’s usually mixed with exhaustion and tears, but it’s love.

Dutch, you captured my heart the moment you were born. But in those early days, I didn’t know how hard the road would be. How your uniqueness would challenge me deep down at my core, how I would reach the end of myself.

You would be the undoing of me. 

And I’m so glad.

I’ve said it before, in fact, I say it every year on your birthday: I’m so glad for how your uniqueness has challenged and changed me. And I’m still glad. But, this year feel different. This year feels like the quiet dawning of a slightly different era. Not that the future roads won’t be rough, but I’ve seen you grow so much this year my sweet boy. And again, our victories may not be much in the world’s eyes, but they are glorious in mine, so I will celebrate.

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This. This picture tells me that you played on your first ever sports team! You were brave, and joined a baseball team, even though you’d never played and this was all brand new and the first practice it poured freezing rain sideways, and you stood out in that outfield shaking and shivering and about froze to death.

But you stuck with it. And what impresses me isn’t your batting average–it’s that you cheer for your teammates, that you love it when other people succeed, and that you show courage every time you step up to bat, even though you struck out almost every single time–you never gave up! That you never had a bad attitude about playing, that even as the smallest kid on the team, you did your best and cheered everyone on. You may not be on the elite traveling team, but you are my MVP! I am SO PROUD of you, Son. 2016-05-18-11-54-17-hdr

And this picture shows me that you got your first pet this year. And that you have such a tender heart for animals. That you care for them well. 2016-05-31-13-24-30

And this photo reminds me of that day you caught the hummingbird in your hand. How we were having such a hard day preparing for State Testing, and that that hummingbird reminded me what really matters and I was so proud of you for bravely catching that scared bird in your hands, and how you let it go free! And then, on top of it all, you went and practically aced that State Test — silly me for being so stressed about it! 2016-10-04-11-53-11-1

And this reminds me of picnicking in the Redwoods, how you love nature, and how of all the attractions in California, you chose the Redwood Forest as the one place you wanted to go. I love that about you, Dutch. You appreciate God’s glorious creation, and I love that you choose trees and rocks over all other options. It also reminds me of the special relationship you have with Daddy. You two are two peas in a pod, that’s for sure!2016-11-07-13-03-53

And this. This reminds me of US. Because what I am most thankful for, of these 10 years, is that we love each other. That even when things are hard, your heart is soft toward me, and I love that our relationship is strong, that God has knit our hearts together. I’m thankful that you still hold my hand, let me cuddle you under the quilt at night, that we still snuggle up in the morning reading our Bibles.

And finally, today we had a significant victory. You know the details, and I won’t share it here with the world, but you know the victory, and my heart is soaring. I’m so grateful to God for the ways you have grown this year, Dutch.

Happy 10th birthday, Son. I’m so grateful for a decade of Dutch and how it’s changed my life forever, for good.

{Thanks for reading.}

Previous years’ reflections:

Nine.

Entering Eight

Thursday’s Child,

My Own Christmas Boy

You Are Four

You are Three 

Happy Birthday Dear Son

My Son Turns One