On my “Last Year This Week” section, I see the post entitled “My Son Turns One”. I remember that huge sense of relief I felt when Dutch turned one. It was like Jeff and I turned to each other and went, “Whew. We made it. He’s still alive.” That first year is so full of emotions and innumerable firsts. It’s like you arrive at the first year finish line exhausted and weary and so thankful the crazy little munchkin is somehow still alive despite your own stupidity and ignorance. Somehow they survive that inevitable falling off the bed (three times in Dutch’s case), peeing in their own face (ok at least Dutch did that), and eating something you later find out is strictly off limits until one year of age (strawberries in Dutch’s case).
Two feels a little different. It feels less like a relief and more like a preparation for a coming train. Instead of looking at eachother and saying, “Whew. We made it. He’s still alive.” We look at each other and say, “Oh no. He’s two. Will we survive?” The funny thing about two is that now Dutch is his own person. Of course I’m stil his mommy who determines what he eats and wears, but now Dutch is in the gradual process of becoming his own little person. Changing diapers and breastfeeding is really pretty easy when you think about it…disciplining, shaping character, and shepherding a child’s heart is another story. The stakes get higher and higher. I’ve never felt so inadequate in my life. I’ve never felt so desperate for God’s grace and wisdom to somehow lead us every day. My prayers over Dutch at night have transitioned from routine and well-formed to a desperate exhaling, a plea and cry for help from the One who is faithful to answer.
I’m also more aware than ever that I have no guarantees how long I have my precious son. This weekend has seemed to be full of tragedy from every angle. Tremendous loss has touched so many dear people in my life. And I’m also aware that I will blink and Dutch will be grown. I’m sure he will make obligatory calls to his mother, visiting at holidays and perhaps even kissing the top of my head from his own lofty height. But someday I’ll no longer hear the cry “Mama mama!” as he runs through the hall. I won’t get to smell his amazing little kitten breath when I wake him up and kiss his face a dozen times. My back won’t ache from picking him up 100 times a day. I will no longer have Richard Scarry memorized. I’m thankful for days like this, which help me remember that this incredibly short season is precious beyond words. I pray for the grace to cherish it.
So happy birthday, son. I treasure you beyond words. I could never imagine a son who would make me more proud. I am honored to be your Mommy. I love you little monkey.