Do you remember when you had your first baby, and you were ready to leave the hospital? Many have this moment of "Now what? How do I take care of this little thing? What if I don't do it right? Are we going to survive this?"
I didn't really go through that with my newborns. I am not saying I had all the answers. By no means did I do it all right. I just felt confident. I felt like I was finally doing what I had been created to do.
It was hard. There were many exhausting days and sleepless nights. I can't even tell you the number of times I thought, "well, they are probably going to need counseling after the way I handled that situation!" I could sit for hours and tell you how I would parent the same and differently than I have.
Cody is our first child. That 7lb. 11oz. baby boy, now looks like this, a man-child of sorts, I tell ya!
He is taller than me by 4 inches and wears men's size 12 shoes!
When I look at that boy, I have that feeling that many have with newborns. "How do I take care of this thing?" He is so big and so independent and yet still not grown. He believes he is ready to tackle the world on his own, but I know there are still things left for him to learn. Still things that I can teach him. How do we maneuver this phase called the teenage years and come out on the other side healthy, whole and still in relationship with each other? These are the questions I wrestle with in the middle of the night.
Cody has the brilliant blessing(said with sarcasm) of being the firstborn of this family. He is the guinea pig. We are practicing on him and making changes based on those experiences. We do parent all of our kids a bit differently because of their personalities, but he gets the brunt of our experimentation.
I shudder when I think of what I have put him through at times, but then deep inside my heart, I know that God knew all of that when He gave us him and gave him us. He made this kid the firstborn. He made us his parents. I just have to trust Him each step of the way.
We started his big day (August 31, I know I am way behind on this one!) with a breakfast of pancakes and coffee. I promised I would not share those pictures because everyone was fresh out of bed. Just visualize it for yourself.
Then, all the kids gave him the gifts they picked out and paid for with their own money:
Laila got him Whales and Snow cone Syrup(for his snow cone machine)
Sam got him a Yo Yo ball
Isaiah got him peppermints
Lauren gave him cheese salt for popcorn
Abby gave him an Arizona Sweet Tea with a $5 bill around the neck of it!
They played basketball,
video games, and laser tag!
Our evening ended with pizza
and ice cream(mint chocolate chip is his favorite)
I know I am your mom and moms aren't very cool at your age, but I love you fiercely and nothing can change that. NOTHING! This next year holds big milestones for you, starting high school, learning to drive, becoming more of a man than a kid. You are going to begin making decisions that will chart the course for the rest of your life. I am finding that my lack of control in this stage scares me a bit. Can you help me learn how to be a good mom to you? I know your brothers and sisters will thank you for breaking me in. Know that everything I do is out of my love for you and my desire to see you become the man God has created you to be.
You are a strong, determined young man. You are a leader. You are articulate. You see those who are struggling and you reach out to help. You could pursue so many things and do really well at all of them. I am praying that you will find that one thing that brings you life, that thing that God has put in your heart to do. I pray you will hone in on it and run hard after it.
We don't see eye-to-eye anymore because you are taller than me! When I look up at you, I think, "God, you called me to be his mom. Show me how to do that now!" I can't make many promises in this life, but I can promise to do my very best as your mom.
May this year be the best one yet!!