How did we get here so fast? Maybe the fact that I’m writing you a whole week past your birthday is good evidence that things are moving faster than I can keep up. As always, I long for more time with you, I ache to dedicate more time to you, I wish I could free up my hands better to do more for you. And the truth is, I’m probably always going to feel that way as your mom, no matter how well things are going, or how beautiful a spot of 24 hours might be with you. There will forever be more in my heart than I can show you in the flesh. That’s just how this parenting gig goes. I pray that someday you’ll have babies of your own, and then you’ll know just exactly what I mean.
Henry, love, you turned six last week. SIX. The night before your birthday, I thought back to that night in the hospital with your dad as we waited for you, knowing so very little of what was to come and feeling all of the anticipation I could ever feel just before seeing your perfect face and bringing you close to soak you in. I won’t forget that night, not ever. Nor how you came forth with gusto at 3 a.m. on the dot, the time of your birth telling, even then, of your precision and personality. You were a marvel to me and to all of us who love you, and you still are.
If I could tell you any one thing today that would cement in your heart forever, it would be that you are loved at all times, no matter what. You know that God loves you, and you know that Christ died for you. You can repeat back to me that I love you “a crazy ton!” and you’re good at having all of the right things to say. But there are days when I wonder if you know that you know that you know that we love you deeply, widely, with all of us, and that you can always rest there and find peace.
Your heart is a lot like mine, sweet boy. Willing to pour out and love hard and forgive over and over again, always searching for the best in someone, finding the silver lining when things get tough. That’s all beautiful to me, but because I can recognize it, I also know how tricky it can be to keep that pace and take that angle every single time. Your capacity to love will sometimes mean you accept things you shouldn’t, you feel guilty when you don’t need to, and you take on the aches and pains of others as your own, without realizing the cumulative cost. I see this in you, and it’s sometimes hard when I notice that you’re already learning about disappointment and hurt on a deeper level than I want your six year old heart to understand.
As your mama, I want to protect you from things, and sometimes to a fault. I’ve gotten better at just letting you go–to run and jump and explore and fall and fail and get back up again. I have to do that. But I’m afraid we rush things in this life, so there’s this nagging voice in the back of my head that tells me you need to grow tougher, faster, when really, you don’t. You need to be a little boy, and to learn the world through little kid eyes. You do not need to grow up any faster. While you’re small, be small. Time is going more quickly than any of us likes, anyway.
You are smarter than I ever was at your age, and the way you think about things always stops me in my tracks to think differently about them, too. It’s one of my very favorite thing about you. Your mind is always going, and you have so many creative ideas! Sometimes my impatience as a grown up stifles this part of who you are, but that’s my weakness, not yours. Your attention to detail and the care you put into everything that matters to you will serve you well at every stage of your life. Don’t change that part of you for anyone, OK? God made you so wise and so sharp for a reason. The world needs you to be who He created you to be.
I could go on and on for days to you, Henry David. You were the first baby I ever loved as a mama, and you’re always going to be. I know you know that you get to stay my little boy forever–in your thoughtful way, you verbally remind me of that on days when you’re so clearly growing up and you can tell it’s bittersweet for me…your sensitivity to the feelings of others is a gift.
Of course, there are things in this stage of life for you that aren’t perfect, and I’m not writing you to pretend that we always get things right, or that there’s never any bumps in the road. We have plenty, you and I. Being so much alike, we clash. Wanting to care for each other well, we’re painfully aware of when we get it wrong. I forget you’re six sometimes, and I expect too much. You forget I only have two hands and two ears sometimes, and you get frustrated when things can’t be focused on you. That’s totally fair. I would feel the same way if I was six and had as much to contribute as you do! We’ll keep working on that balance.
What do I love most about you these days, sweet boy? Oh my goodness, I adore your heart for your siblings. You love them so well, and you care about how they feel. This morning, you read your bible on the floor next to Crosby while he played, and as I peeked around the corner to check on your both, there was such gratitude in my heart. He loves you so much already, and he is at peace with you, which is a treasure. Eloise loves to adventure with you, and she’ll do anything you suggest so long as you’re caring for her in your way as you go. You are a natural born leader, which means there’s lots of love in our house when you’re loving, and lots of crazy in our house when you unleash your wild side. You’re my right hand during the week when dad is at work, and that’s a pretty tall order for a six year old. You weather it well.
I love that you’re reading so well, and diving into stories over and over again of your own volition. I love your appetite for learning. I also love to watch you run–so much energy bursting out of you from every side. I love that you notice things. I love how you pray. I am thankful every single day that I’m your mama–even on the hardest ones. God knew what he was doing (of course!) when He let us borrow you for this life.
I hope to keep you forever and ever, but I also pray that I will steward our time together well, so that someday, you’re ready to take on this great, big world. You are only six, and I can already see the plans swirling around you for the future. It is bright with you in it, precious boy. It is so, so bright!
i do love you a crazy ton, and then i love you some more!