5.4.21 Beyond Bearing It

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Sometimes, when I can’t fall asleep, I sift through pictures in my mind of before. I lie in bed, heart pounding, throat throbbing, repressed tears threatening to absolutely overwhelm me if I let them – because of this gift, and how quickly it’s passing me by.

Of him.

Of her.

Of becoming a mother and remembering every detail that my too-fast life with them will let me recall. Memories come back to me in fragmented bits … little pieces of stained glass that join together in an endless collage of colors and lenses I miss looking through.

I am so blessed.

But love – love this big … quite simply, it hurts.

It hurts because even when you try to savor every second, they still pass. It hurts because the world isn’t perfect and they are … so you need it to be, but can’t change it. It hurts because even when they’re too big to crawl up onto your lap, a part of them wants to, so you hold on instead for a too long hug – and it never feels like enough.

When she was nine months old, I was about to put her in bed, and she placed her tiny hands on either side of my face. She held me there, and stared at me so intently … her bright eyes telling me all the things she couldn’t say, but found a way to share nonetheless.

When he was off to his first day of Kindergarten – unafraid and excited for whatever came next, I asked him for one more hug. “For me buddy, not for you,” I’d said. He smiled big and hugged me tight. “It’s okay mommy,” he whispered in my ear, “I’ll miss you too.” Taking care of my heart at five, and checking in with me ever since.

She is my starlight. He is my keeper.

And though I am the farthest thing from what they deserve, I am on-my-knees grateful that God gave them to me … even for a time as fleeting as this. Because although I know I love imperfectly, I also know I love them fully – to the very edge of myself, almost beyond bearing it.

7/23/20 Believe Me Yet?

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“And she loved the little boy very, very much … even more than she loved herself.”

– Shel Silverstein

My precious, precious boy … today you are turning 13. I would ask where the time went, but I already know – every moment slipped past me as I was busy watching you. So here it is little one (for you will always be little to me) … a history walk of you.

In the beginning, Daddy and I didn’t know if we could have kids. You were SO prayed for, and I began to doubt whether or not you would be a reality, or a beautiful wish. But then … oh then … you were an answered prayer, and a life within me. You became a dream made real, and I thought I loved you more than I could ever love anyone, but I was wrong.

Because then you were here, and you turned one, and your wonder-filled eyes missed nothing. You were the best listener, and we would have the most grand conversations about important things like chivalry, shooting stars, the magic of adventures, and being kind. You never interrupted and always gave me your full attention, and I thought I loved you more than I could ever love anyone, but again, I was wrong.

You turned two, and then it was my turn to listen because you had so much to say. You talked with me and showed me new treasures, pulling me along with tiny fingers and a strong will, and I thought I loved you more than I could ever love anyone, but I was still wrong.

Because three was about the greatest age I’d ever come across. Your laughter rose out of you like a kaleidoscope of colored bubbles … light and whimsical. You loved books, blocks, blankets, and baths. You loved dancing and music and nothing tired you out. Every night you stood at the top of the stairs and said, “Mommy … just one more thing …” and I thought I loved you more than I could ever love anyone, yet again, I was wrong.

You turned four and it seemed nothing was fast enough for you. You didn’t walk anymore, you ran, you skipped, you flew. We dove deep into our imaginations that year and discovered the world of pirates and princes and the privilege of pretend. Every day was enchanting and I thought I loved you more than I could ever love anyone, but I was wrong.

Five was the year you became a little gentleman. You learned to open doors for others and loved to wear your newsy cap wherever you went. You were a master of please, thank you, and charm. I was so proud of the dapper demeanor you grew into, and I thought I loved you more than I could ever love anyone, but I was so wrong.

When you turned six, you decided to be a professional soccer player, as you’d had three whole years under your belt. I remember watching you completely unafraid to run against kids twice your size, and also unafraid to snuggle with your Great Grandma, Mae Mae, Daddy, sister, and me. And I was in awe of your strength and sensitivity – and I thought I loved you more than I could ever love anyone, but little boy, I was wrong.

At seven, you discovered the true magic of the tooth fairy … and her bank. You had a penchant for giggling like it was a contagious condition you couldn’t help but share. You discovered your favorite teacher and your best friend who happened to have a family from Pakistan. You prayed for the country of Pakistan every night before bed; your daddy and I were amazed at your little global heart, and I thought I loved you more than I could ever love anyone, but again, I was wrong.

When you turned eight, you were fascinated with ancient Greece, and realized that your artist hands had something to say. You would draw the most complex tiny creatures, robots, battles, ice-worlds, castles, bridges, and forests. Sometimes I would just stare at your drawings and imagine you in the worlds you created, fighting or befriending the dragons, depending on the day, and I thought I loved you more than I could ever love anyone, but I was still wrong.

At nine-years-old, you became my music man … playing drums, piano, and singing in the school talent show. Your daddy and I were so grateful for your brave heart and open mind. It seemed you were unafraid of anything, and for a mommy who sometimes feared everything, that was the year you became my little hero, and I thought I loved you more than I could ever love anyone, but I was wrong.

When you were ten, you loved the idea of travel. Daddy flew all over the world for his job, and your favorite thing was to collect the treasures he brought you from places like Dubai, Germany, France, Morocco, England, Mexico, and Australia. With eyes-wide-open, you held each piece like a prophetic talisman of where you might want to go … but that same year, you took your job of, “protecting mommy and your sister while daddy was away,” very, very seriously. You always did and I thought I loved you more than I could ever love anyone, but boy – I was wrong.

At eleven, a very hard thing happened. We turned your whole world upside-down and moved you across the country. The school you’d gone to since you were six, the friends you’d known for ten years, the soccer team, the town … all of it was now behind you. But you NEVER fussed. You NEVER complained. You braved the adventure of what was coming next without losing the connections, friendships, and memories. I am still amazed at the easy way that you made something impossible seem. I thought I loved you more than I could ever love anyone, but – you guessed it, I was wrong.

Turning twelve in a new state, school, and house made your wanderlust for the world grow. You quite literally fell in love with Asia. You made friends with the Chinese exchange student who didn’t speak English, deciding to spend your mornings before school conversing with him. You asked us to find a Japanese tutor so you could take lessons. You joined Model UN at school, and recognized the value of God’s greater world. And you know what? I thought I loved you more than I could ever love anyone, but I’m going to go ahead and predict the future here and say I’ll have been wrong.

You are thirteen now my sweet son. You have lived over four thousand days … can you believe that? I cry with gratitude to know that I have lived them alongside you. Sharing my love of Neverland, I know that sometimes growing up is wicked scary … but you’re not alone in it. Daddy, your sister, and I are growing up right with you and figuring it all out on the way. We all get lost sometimes, but somehow when I’m with you little boy, I just feel found. And do you know what? I’m going to go ahead and say it, because why not? I don’t think I could ever love you more.

Believe me yet?