Today you are nine.
I have known you for nine years, longer if you count the time during which you rolled and kicked within my belly. I have watched you grow, daily, for one year shy of a decade. I have held your hand as you learned to walk, as you learned to read, as you cried, as you laughed.
I have loved being your mother these past nine years.
I’m not always great at it, I know. I don’t always know what to do, well, because you’re the oldest child I have the honor of parenting. Sometimes I’m flying by the seat of my pants. I mean, mostly. I know you don’t know this yet, but parenting can be hard—is hard. I want to do the best by you, and so does your Daddy. We love you so much.
You keep growing and changing, and we’re working hard to keep up with you.
This year, you’ve done so much. I’ve watched you tackle big things in a way that only can be described as yours. You love and live so fully, and yes, sometimes it’s overwhelming but it’s who you are. I talked with you last night after our nightly prayers. Daddy and I have noticed some changes, and I wanted to see if you were okay. Your honesty with me, the way you admitted that it hurt your tummy to talk about it, the relieved look on your face when I assured you that you weren’t in trouble, we just wanted to know the best way to help you—all of it reassured me that you are an amazing, strong little boy. When I told you that you can be you even when your friends tell you that the way you speak or act or dress isn’t “cool” enough, I wanted to cry at how happy and relieved and reassured you looked.
Buddy, your “you” is always, always good enough. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
I know you’ve had some hard times this year—with friends, with school, with death and the loss of your great-grandmothers. I know you’ve taken some of these things hard; you don’t just wear your heart on your sleeve—you are your heart. I love that about you. I can’t promise this coming year will be easier, that kids will be nicer, that school will be easier, or that we won’t endure any other losses. But I can promise you that we, your Daddy and I, will be there for you… and that you, just the way you are, are more than good enough. You are amazing. Believe it.
I wish you the world this year, my firstborn son. I am more than thrilled that I am granted a chance at another year to learn more about you, to love you in only the way that I can.
Happy Birthday, BigBrother.
Mommy (and Daddy)