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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Happy Birthday, Caleb!

My mind can't hardly comprehend a decade.  Time goes by too quickly, and the days fade into each other.  Ten years is a long time, yet it seems like yesterday...

Ten years ago I was in the hospital, waiting to welcome Caleb Bates into this scary world.  Ten years have seen a lot...

the little boy who loved John Deere.  Loved riding on lawnmowers and anything that had wheels. Could tell you any type of car we passed on the interstate, and frequently got the make and model right.  That little boy whose smile lit up the room.  Obsessed with TG Shuck and WKYT, and Dora the Explorer and Diego.  The kid who loved rubber boots and would wear them with everything. 

A Mama's heart overflows with memories and there are just too many to share, and it hurts to think of that small hand that used to be swallowed up in my own. 

Kids start out so defenseless, and we have to protect them from everything, and then before you know it they grow and grow and can start protecting you.  And to every Mama, their kid is special, and we are all special because we are God's... but aren't some just a little bit more?

I walk through Walmart with him, and he's passing out hugs and smiles and talking to people that I don't know.  He's been like that from a young age.  He is his father's son, and at times that is a good thing.  My eyes got misty last night when I looked over to see him help a teammate get up off the ground.  His heart full of love most of the time... and in his eyes I see a glimpse of the man that he will grow to be. 

Ten years is just long enough for me to realize that I will never have this Mother thing figured out.  I'm so selfish and spiteful and just plain mean at times, and I hope that he doesn't see that always.  I hope he remembers instead the Mama that laughed and tickled and just stared at him in amazement, because he is mine and he is him, completely unique. 

We dream big dreams for our kids, and we close our eyes and take a deep breath and pray that somehow, someway, those dreams will be realized, and that their hearts will be protected from hurt and they will love and thrive and prosper.  And then we realize that sometimes our dreams aren't their dreams, and that's ok, and as we open up the palm that clinches their tiny fingers, open it wide to release them and let them chase after their own dreams, the breath slowly is exhaled as we watch them toddle across the living room floor, only to land with a soft thunk on the carpet.  And ten years later, we watch them take first steps in another direction, and then 20 years later... and so on.  But always, as we watch in wide-eyed wonder as they take those first steps, we realize that we never were in control.  And that's ok, too... because He is. 

To my Caleb, on your 10th birthday... Never let anyone tell you that you can't do something that you want to.  You are so smart, and funny, and loveable.  Don't be too stubborn, though, to admit when you are wrong.  Don't be afraid to try something new, and don't be so hung up on perfection like your Mama.  Love deep.  Smile and laugh and just enjoy being you.  Be the best that you can be, always, and know that even when your best isn't good enough, even when life kicks you down and you feel like you can't get up, there's a great big God waiting to dust you off.  And a Mama that loves you to the moon and back, more than mint chocolate chip ice cream.  Be you, because there is noone better. 

Thanking God for this blessing of motherhood, and that His grace is sufficient for when I don't get it right...

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