Tomorrow, you turn three. You, my precious boy who squeals when the tickle monster appears, which looks astoundingly similar to my right hand. You love to wear your pajamas just like momma and want to be changed as soon as we get home into comfy clothes. You love to ride in daddy’s truck and to watch the garbage truck come by from our window. You talk about everyone possessively. “Where my Kaia go?,” you ask when you can’t find her to play with. “This is my Judah’s hat,” you say when brothers hat is left on the table. And this is right. Because we are all yours, just as you are ours.
Ever since the day you were born I haven’t been able to stop smiling when your eyes catch mine. You are so loved. I will never stop hugging and kissing you, even when you tower above me and your cheeks are stubbly and rough. I will never stop loving you even if you break my heart or disappoint me. I am always for you, even if we disagree.
I prayed for you when you were budding inside me. When your parts and my parts intermingled in my swollen belly. You are our miracle. The one God knew we needed to complete our family. And you do complete us, even when you pour paint on my new white bedspread. Even when you are the only picky eater in this family and every meal is a negotiation in bites. Even when you learned to take off your diaper at nap time and invariably went on the carpet. We have gotten so much use from our carpet shampooer since we’ve had you and even though that red paint never fully came out, we will always enjoy your curious nature (as long as you’re supervised.)
I thought I knew what a strong will was when I had your older brother, but I was wrong. Your will is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. But I pray you always have it, and that God will shape your frame so when you are challenged in this life, God can use your determination for His glory. I pray you know him and give your life fully to Him. I know that I cannot force this but it is my biggest prayer that all of you kids would follow hard after Him.
Your taste in entertainment is somewhat lacking, and even though I think Steve from Blues Clues might need to be medicated and Caillou’s parents ought to do something about all that whining, I enjoy snuggling in our big brown chair with you nestled in the crook of my arm. It’s so hard to get you to stay still these days but I love to hold your little body and bury my nose into your hair, even if it means occasionally suffering through all three clues in the handy-dandy notebook.
You’re getting older each day. I mourned when you stopped calling your sister Gaga because you learned how to pronounce Kaia properly. I mourned when you stopped breastfeeding and when you got your first haircut. I will mourn more as your babyhood fades and you become a bigger boy, and then a man. With each celebration, a tiny part of me mourns. Not because I am not proud to watch you grow and reach each milestone but because with each year you are growing away from me. You will someday leave and have a family of your own and each candle on your cake reminds me that it goes by so fast. That I won’t always be your biggest love. That your tiny fingers will grow and someday reach for someone else. And I will rejoice for you, but I will also grieve as you move into a life where I am not constantly present.
You won’t understand any of this now, but someday, you will read this and know my heart. I pray that by that point, you will have felt my love, and this will only confirm what you already know.
Because even though you’re three now, in my heart you will always be my baby.
Happy Birthday, Nehemiah. Momma loves you.