Wednesday, November 16, 2016
The Nine Year Old
I read a blog post floating around Facebook awhile back called something like "A Letter to my Son at Half Time". The premise of the post was that nine is the age where it is half over. This parenting gig, the years of your influence, time under your roof. And the mom in the post wrote a moving letter that I honestly couldn't read after the first paragraph. I don't really even know what she said. HALF OVER PEOPLE.
I panic a little bit. But then as I am trying not to cry and cling obsessively to my boys and never let them grow up I remember I moved in with my parents for two years of grad school after college and I still call them right after Adam with news of any kind of importance. You know like Noah having his first headache or Miller reading all his sight words or a sale at the grocery store. The big stuff. And truth be told if I could climb up in their bed right now and snuggle in between them, I would. So deep breaths. IT WILL BE OKAY.
But this is a hard birthday. And so will each one after it. Because it is true, Noah is getting older and growing bigger and smarter and taller and wiser. And our time is growing ever more important and precious. He asks BIG questions. And he formulates big ideas about who he is and who God is and who people are around him. He makes actual letter grades in school now and he dreams about his future. And I can't remember the last time he needed to hold my hand.
Three memories from this year that sum up my precious nine year old...
One is his baptism this fall. I walked him upstairs to the room where he was meeting his Children's Minister and I was so nervous for him, He doesn't swim. He is literally terrified of going under water. But he simply turned to me and said "Bye Mom!". Basically assuring me I've got this. And he only showed his commitment to his choice and not his fear. I wish I could obey like that.
Two was a parent teacher conference with his third grade teacher. After showing me all of his amazing test scores all that confirmed to me he is way smarter than his momma, she simply said "He is kind to everyone." And that is the biggest blessing and compliment and thing I am most proud of. We ask a lot of him at home in our neighborhood and really we don't give him enough grace when it comes to making relationships with our neighborhood kids. To hear that kindness is easily and readily associated with Noah in relation to ALL of his classmates... well I was humbled. I hope people can say the same of me.
Three was a simple jump at a birthday party. Noah has always been a bit timid. He will hang back, hesitate from trying something until he is sure he can or could master it. But a few months back at a ninja warrior obstacle course themed birthday party he jumped off a five foot platform into a pit of foam squares. Didn't hesitate a second. I had tears in my eyes. I want him to be brave. Life is hard and he will need to be brave. And perhaps my worry and/or coddling has held him back from some adventures. I am so glad he is growing into some courage.
So here is to you my Noah Boy on your ninth birthday...
I love you so much. I love your quirks and your humor and your little scar by your mouth. I love the way you fall asleep reading and scheming and the stores/museums you make in your closet. I love the brown spot in your blue eyes. I love the way your excitement spills over into your flapping hands. I love the one million questions you ask. I love your faith in Jesus. I love that math is your favorite. I love the way you are growing in strength and in bravery. I love that you are kind. I love that deep down you want your little brother to share your room. I love your creative mind. I love that the whole world is yours for the taking. That you could pick anything to be or do and find success. I simply love you. All of you. For always. No matter what.
Thank you Lord for the gift and the responsibility of being Noah's parent. Thank you for the special spirit you gave him. Help Adam and I to be the light along the path you have set him on. Lord we are so imperfect and we make many mistakes. Help us not to be a hindrance to him and his love for you. I pray protection over him and for daily help to better understand him and love him in the way he needs to be loved in order to understand better your love for us all. Amen.