Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Dear Joshua, on your eighth birthday

Dear Joshua,

It's hard to believe that you are eight years old, although I know for a fact that you live every day to the fullest.  My dear firstborn, the first few months of your life threw me for a loop.  I was in a constant state of anxiety and fear.  Fear that you weren't eating enough, fear that you would never sleep in your own bed, fear that you would never stop crying, and fear that I would never get a full night of sleep again.  While I like people in general, and while I like to be around people, I had also grown quite independent by the time you arrived.  I wasn't sure what to do with you, this creature who needed me for everything.  I wondered if you would always need me for everything, and I breathed a sigh of relief at every sign of independence that you showed.  It's a good thing Vati is such a nurturer and so selfless with his time.  Had it not been for him you and I never would have survived.

And then I began to enjoy you.  I'd go to sleep at night thinking of the games we could play the next day, the puzzles we could work, and the books we could read.  It's hard to believe that just last summer you went to camp on your own.

But let me tell you about now.  I was just commenting to a friend yesterday about how much I appreciate your gentleness toward other people.  Yes, you're energetic, but your spirit is gentle and I think that draws people to you.  You don't have a single judgmental bone in your body.  When you're around kids who are different from you or who struggle, you love them anyway and value their friendship.  In fact, you do your best to be a friend to everyone.  I love how you and your little friends in your class rub each other's backs and put your heads on each other's shoulders.  There's not a bit of self-consciousness in any one of you, and your affection for one another is lovely.

I know you know this, but you're ridiculously brilliant. You're so bright that Vati and I wonder what we're going to do for you and with you.  I worry that you might become proud of your smarts and view yourself as better than others.  But maybe it's just grown-ups that do that. And while I love that you're smart, what I want you to be most of all is good and kind.

My prayer is that you will find what you love to do, what stretches your mind to the fullest, what really makes you come alive, and use that for God's kingdom.  God has called you to something wonderful.  What that is is between you and God, unless God clues any of the rest of us in on it. But that call is there, and as you grow a year older, I like to think I can see it taking shape.  I'm anxious to see it, but I pray that I won't get in the way of it or try to take it over, but only ever point you toward the God who began a good work in you and will see it to completion.  Dear God, don't ever let me get in the way.

Stay funny and kind.  Lose a little of the attitude with Vati, Clare, and me.  Keep doing your pull-ups and work on the back handspring.  Never lose your love for playing outside.  Throw the football and baseball whenever you can. And grow those front teeth back in.

Love,

Mama