Saturday, February 11, 2017


When he was a new baby, I would cry every night at his bedtime. I am being literal here. Every night. I was so terribly sad to put him to bed because it meant another day with him was gone. Even then I didn't understand how time could move so quickly.
Last night he stayed up late to watch Avengers with his dad and me. When it ended, I felt tears welling up. He sat up, stretched, and I said the truest words I had. "I am so glad that you're my son." An understatement, yes, but true.
Elliot loves to hear the stories of when my babies were born. He usually thinks to ask when we are in the car, so every now and again I get the request. The other week the three big kids and I were going to see "Hidden Figures," and he asked to hear the birth stories. I obliged. After I told Isaac's, tears streaming down my face as I vividly recalled the moment I became a mama and as I realized that wee babe was about to be a teenager, Audrey, between sniffles, stated, "I don't want Isaac to be a teenager. I don't want him to go to college because it'll always be different once he's not home all the time."
Today my first baby becomes a teenager. It is a wave I cannot break. Ready or not, here it comes. I'm not scared to have a teen. I expect ups and downs, growth and regression, deep conversation and seemingly impassable silence. I expect times I will want to pull my hair out and times I will want to hold him close forever and times I will want to kick him out and times I just won't have any clue what's going on or what to do about it. That's pretty much my experience with life and parenthood summed up in one sentence.

I'm not scared to have a teen. I just realize that once I have one, soon I'll have two, then three, and then the first one will leave the house, and things will never be the same again. I have loved each stage with our children, but so far all of those stages have included them in my home.

I look at my firstborn son and I see this handsome, bright, kind, stubborn, silly, ornery young man, but I also see the babe they put on my chest that changed everything for me. Everything.

So I celebrate. Gosh, I celebrate. I have had the grand honor of knowing and loving this boy for 13 years + those in my belly months. We will have his requested breakfast of Wild Rice Porridge, open gifts, and work on Valentines and Latin. Then we'll pick up his friend and spend the day at a waterpark. This evening we'll meet my mom and Keith for Indian food. Then we'll put our brand new 13 year old to bed. Nothing will have changed. Not really. He'll still wear the same clothes and share a room with his brother. He'll still hate when Asher knocks down things he builds and still love to play "Get down, cupcake" with him on the couch. He'll still shoot hoops with Audrey and ignore me when I ask him to wash his hands for dinner when he's reading a book. He'll still love onions, books, sports stats, and weird food combinations. He'll still be our Isaac. But he'll have turned the corner. He'll be a teenager.

So I cry, too. Gosh, I cry. I greedily want more. I want time to slow or even rewind so I can start over 13 years ago and love these four kids from the very beginning all over again. I want to balance him on my feet while we play airplane. I want him rubbing his ear or my ear to soothe himself. I want to pick him up and slow dance with him in the kitchen. I want him to feel Audrey kicking in my tummy, pull my shirt up, and shout, "what in there?" I want to read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom another 8,036 times with him. I want to sing his lullabies in just the right order and put the CD on and sit in his rocking chair in the dark while he falls asleep. I want that stage where he could not walk anywhere, but instead danced and twirled and skipped everywhere. I want him meeting his siblings for the first time. I want to pull my hair out trying to get my cautious little man to ride his bike without training wheels. I want to watch him at his first dance recital and his first baseball game. I want to see the pride in his eyes when he does something new or masters something difficult. I want to see him with his friends as they discuss Harry Potter and play board games. I want it all. I want it all.

But the beautiful thing is that I've had it all. What a life we've lived with our firstborn. It has been love. So much love. It has been ridiculously challenging and full of learning and failing. I have felt like I was ruining everything. I have felt like my heart would burst out of my body with love. I've had that because of this boy, this young man, our firstborn son, our bug, the boy with the million dollar smile, our teenager, our Isaac. I couldn't ask for more.

Isaac, I look forward to the chance to watch you grow. I look forward to seeing you step into this world and share yourself in the unique way that only you can. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are a gift I will treasure always. The chance to watch you become your own young man is an honor I never understood until you taught it to me. You have taught me so much. I still have so much to learn. Thanks for being patient with me, my 13 year old guinea pig. 

Happy 13th Birthday, Isaac. I love you million times two.

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