What 10 Years Can Do: A Reflection
Every one of my children's births was amazing for completely different reasons. Ask me about them when I see you next because (like most other mothers on the planet) I love to talk about it. But there is something about that first one, no matter how perfect or broken the whole affair was, that moments from it are frozen into your heart so deeply that they almost don't feel real.
Crunchy leaves outside beneath the huge pecan tree in our yard. Learning to remember all the baby things for a simple trip to the store. Agony of learning to breastfeed and the surreal joy of getting him to laugh. Our living room was quite long, but kind of narrow with only one window in it. In the early days after Jude was born, we rearranged furniture a bit so that his bed could be put in there during the day and he could soak up the sun to fight off a little jaundice. There was a moment when I looked at him across the room sleeping away, the sun shining down on his sweet face, and I wanted to know who he was going to be so desperately. What was he going to be like?
Little did I know, much of who he was I could already see. In that same living room, I had looked into his eyes for the first time and I saw this old soul who looked straight into my heart. He was taking me in almost as much as I was him. My oldest son has always been an observer with a deep heart. That little tree frog who loved to cuddle onto my shoulder as an infant still tries to sit in my lap and hug me more than all the others. Being born in November in Oklahoma, you would expect a lot of bundling up throughout the winter, but he hated socks and hats caused him to get too hot. He is still much more comfortable in shorts regardless of the weather.
What I didn't know was how naturally athletic he would be. He loves playing ball of just about any kind and picks things up so quick, which makes his dad a tad envious! I didn't know how easy and hard it would be to have a boy. I also didn't know how I was going to royally mess things up while still getting some important things really right. I didn't expect 10 to be here yet. I guess that happens when you have a 3rd child that looks just like the oldest one and you get busy. So here I am, with a 3 year old miniature version of my first one except he acts nothing like him, and a 10 year old that is learning to become a man, piece by piece. And suddenly I realize I could start really taking notes in church now. I haven't been able to maintain that for over 10 years!
More than anything, I never imagined how much he would be like me and how much that would challenge me to grow. I'm not the same person I was the moment he was finally born and I was in shock that he was a boy. That naïve and idealistic girl has gotten more wake up calls than I'd like to admit, but I've also been given much more than I deserve. I've always been really sensitive to the state of mind other people are carrying around and (for better and worse) he is the same. If he could, he would just live on a farm and take care of animals all day, or go hiking or go fishing or just be outside. He loves with his WHOLE heart and feels despair deep. It's a beautiful thing, but, as I know all too well, it can spin out of control really fast. And If I am to expect him to manage himself, then I need to do the same. That is something I'm still working on, but we're all growing together. And for that I'm very thankful.
When other people's children have turned 10, it really wasn't that big of a deal to me because socially I think we fixate on 13, 16 and 18. But let me tell you, 10 is a DECADE! To the mom, it's a big deal and it has brought me to this place where I'm evaluating my entire motherhood journey because of the milestone and where everyone is at right now. Who I thought I would be or even wanted to be is, well. complicated at best. My baby is still really cute and a lot of fun. My daughter is still snuggly but becoming a a really good helper when she stays on task. And my oldest is a doing really ok - not perfect, not done growing - but doing okay. Considering what I mess I feel half the time, I think it's really important to say that out loud! When Jude was born, the spotlights of my mind shifted drastically and seem to have been twirling around ever since. This year, for all of its hassles and heartaches, has brought some really powerful blessings. I turned 40, my son turns 10, I like my husband more than I did last year, and I'm learning to cope with myself in ways I've never thought possible. I miss that sweet cuddle bug and wish I could give that brand new mom a hug and some better advice than what she was telling herself. But I'm in awe of some of the things we have navigated and bounced back from. Even though it's complicated, my momma heart is so full. Happy 10th Birthday!