Today is my son’s thirteenth birthday. When I held him in my arms for the first time, I couldn’t really see ahead to this day, not even in my imagination. Goodness, I couldn’t see ahead to solid foods. I was afraid to give him his first bath and I didn’t know how to burp him correctly.
I loved him fiercely and I cried my eyes out over him. All I really wanted him to do was to go to sleep, just for one night. I always thought babies slept a lot.
I drank coffee until my nerves were frazzled and listened to others say that I just wasn’t acting like myself. No sleep and wacked out hormones have a way of messing with me. I was still the same person deep inside, but the outside was disguised by straggly hair and extra weight. I wore the same denim skirt to church for one solid year. Nothing else fit.
Now, thirteen birthdays later, I’m back to me, the real me who sleeps through night and snoozes her alarm clock. My son? He still doesn’t sleep through the night, but I stopped worrying about it long ago. I quit reading books on how to get my baby to sleep and just waited for him to grow up. Eventually they all do you know.
Today, he is a teenager. I am the mother of a teenager.
That sobers me.
He grew up in his first six months of life. He wasn’t a normal toddler; he was more like an old man in Bob The Builder sandals. I talked to him like a little person and he out-witted me at every turn. He really is the only person in my life who can wear me down to the point of giving up. He is tenacious.
When he gets an idea, he follows through no matter what. I cannot wait to see where that determination gets him, because he will do great things. I know it.
My thirteen year-old loves in a way that cuddles and hugs and wants to be near. He hates not being in the middle of all of us. He just wants to sit by me. I am smart enough to cherish these moments, because they won’t last, they can’t. The days are fleeting. By the next presidential election, he will be a driver, almost a voter.
The time it takes to grow from sleeplessness to voting is short. I never really knew that until now.
Every morning I am greeted with a hug and his hugs don’t stop. If I had to squish him into a box and choose a love language for him, it would time and affection.
My thirteen year old is a creator. He has to be doing something, making something. His mind is always working. Sure he wants to build unrealistic things like robots that serve us drinks and follow him around, but I believe he could do it. I believe he could do anything he sets his little mind to do.
He is a worrier, always thinking and wondering “what if”. This is both good and bad. It’s smart to be cautious, but there’s a time to throw caution to the wind and do greater things than he ever thought possible. The world is much too big to need our worry.
It’s silly for me to think that thirteen won’t change things. It has to. It is a beginning and and an end, a step into a world unknown, sometimes so exciting every day seems to move mountains, and other days it is scary enough to want to curl back up into your two year-old self.
That’s the way it’s suppose to be; growing pains hurt.
If I could look my thirteen year-old boy in the eyes and tell him anything, it would be this.
Be thankful because your life is a gift given to you by the creator of this universe. You were loved long before you were named. Each day you live is a blessing, for you and for those around you. You make a difference by being in this world. There is a plan and a purpose for your life that is so big, one day you’ll look back on it in awe and thanksgiving. Be thankful for the good and the bad, because all those little things are what refine you, making you into the man God can work in and through. Every moment is a time for thanksgiving.
Be prayerful, because every day you wake up, choices abound. You won’t always make the right choice. That’s part of life, of living and growing. It will allow you to know sweet forgiveness and grace abounding. Be in a state of prayer that is not just for you, but remember those around you. They need your prayers as much as they need you. Prayer isn’t empty or ritualistic; prayer is your lifeline, communication with your creator and savior. Prayer really does change things.
Be free son. Jesus came to give you life and give it to you abundantly. Don’t be tangled up in other people’s thoughts or desires for you. Live each day free – free to follow God and chase your dreams – free to learn and make mistakes – free to love and to be loved. Guard your freedom, because without it, life is small and shallow.
I don’t feel quite ready to be the mom of a thirteen year-old, but I couldn’t be happier or more thankful than I am to be called mom.
Happy Birthday Fringeboy.