On all the ways he’s changed me [a letter to my son on Mother’s Day]

It’s me and you today Bug.

I know you won’t remember. You won’t remember eating breakfast on the kitchen floor, light streaming in. You had a stare down with me over your breakfast. You are certainly a stubborn little thing.

It’s rather chilly for a morning in May–even for these mountains we brought you home to. You won’t remember the kiss I gave you this morning as I picked you up from your crib. You kicked and fussed as I took you out of your blanket–as if I was going to leave you there forever. As if I ever could.

You won’t remember the way you threw up your hands after you finished your bottle. “All done!” I exclaimed.

You smiled. And it melted me. It melted the heart of this tired mama who has a feeling she will be tired for a good long while.

You won’t remember today. But I will.

Last Mother’s Day I was walking down by the ocean. I like to believe you’ll like the ocean when you see it with your own eyes. You squirmed and kicked inside of me as we dodged the jellyfish on the shore and smiled at the people who passed us.

“You are a blessed woman,” an older lady said to me as she pointed at my growing belly. She had silver in her hair. It got me thinking about what it means to be blessed.

Blessed/Blest
adjective
Made Holy;Consecrated

And she was right. You are ever making me holier before The Lord. 

Asa Benjamin, before I had you, I wondered if I was strong. It was a deep and buried question that I asked myself often. When you were growing inside of me, I felt The Lord tell me to pray that you would be filled with strength. That is the meaning of your middle name Benjamin–strength. And I think as God heard those prayers and knit you together, He must have knit a little bit more in to me too.

You, my son, have given me my long searched answer. I am stronger than I ever knew I could be. And on the many days I am weak, I am strong through a strength gifted to me. It is no easy task, raising a baby–and one of your temperament–away from family and loved ones. We have built our own little village in these mountains, you and I. A band of heroes who you owe a great many thanks to for keeping me sane all these months.

You will never know the amount of hands that have held you or the prayers that have been spoken over your tired Mama on the days when I wondered if I would survive another sleepless night. Today is for all of those women as well.

You have changed me in more ways than simply having a better understanding of myself. In fact, you have made me think of myself less.

You know, I have begun to think that we all spend far too much time trying to find ourselves. If we all would just look outward a bit we’d have so little time left to think about what we lack that I think we would all be a great deal happier. I know I am.

I told your grandmother the other day that if someone is in need of growing up, they should be gifted with a child.

I fear before you came along I was quite selfish and I’m not sure I even knew it. I felt the world–and even God–owed me something grand. Son, to live is grand. To breathe and know that a savior died for us is grand. Of nothing else do we deserve.

I do not deserve any great title or recognition. I do not deserve a paycheck or my marriage or new clothes or a new home. I do not deserve health nor happiness. And I do not deserve that father of yours who treats me like the dearest woman on the earth.

I do not even deserve more of you little ones, though I do hope God shines down on us again one day.

I pray that you can learn this lesson sooner than your mother did. I promise you will find more joy in that contentment than in any other thing you might seek. If you walk through life with open hands and expectancy instead of expectations, you will find yourself continually thankful and continually surprised. 

You are stirring in your crib. You have never been one to rest for very long. Outside the window the cedar tree is dancing–swaying a bit. I hear the bird we like to watch chirping just outside. It is cold but spring is coming.

And with spring–all things new. We will be moving soon. You won’t remember these beautiful days in our little home just off the Blueridge Parkway. You won’t remember the amount of miles we have walked trying to keep you content. Or the night your father and I put you in the car and drove you all around the mountain roads because nothing else seemed to calm you down. The stars were bright that night. I remember because I looked up rather desperately towards heaven and pleaded for your crying to end.

All new mothers should be told that eventually the crying really does end. 

You won’t remember the days where we sat in the sun underneath the Japanese maple at the bottom of the drive–waiting for your father to drive in from his shift at the hospital. Your eyes always lit up when you saw him and every single day it happened felt like the very first time. Every time I walked inside with happy tears in my eyes.

You won’t remember being my baby. But I will. I will remember it all. 

And that is the best Mother’s Day gift you could ever give me. 

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