In just a few short days, my Little Man will be turning ten.
The big 1-0.
Nearly a decade ago, my best friend, visiting me from across the country for just for this occasion, drove me to the hospital, ready to feed me ice chips, help me push, hold my hand through surgery, or whatever else I needed as I began this journey of motherhood. A journey I chose to take up on my own, as a ‘single mother by choice.’ A journey full of familiar avenues and unexpected detours, of steeply graded hills and expanses of flat open highways. A journey on a road, perhaps, less traveled by, but undeniably worth every moment thus far.
A decade. A span of time with its own name! Surely this cannot be. We cannot have been together on this earth this long already.
It is the end of an era, special and significant. He will never ever be single digits again. In fact, he will likely spend the entirety of his remaining life in double digits.
‘My next really special number birthday will be if I turn triple digits, Mom!”
I look upon this child that I birthed nearly a decade ago, with more than a little help from medical science and a lot of praying.
I look at his dirty blonde hair and freckle bespeckled nose and dimple dented cheeks to each side of his boyish grin. I look into his big dark blue eyes (that are much too close to being level to my own) and I see the light in him. The kindness and thoughtfulness. The passion and playfulness. My heart swells with pride at all he is and the thought of all he could be. Potential energy, waiting to burst forth in ways I can only imagine.
And at the same time, my heart also aches. For all those things that he will learn about the world, things I wish I could shield him from, but ultimately I simply cannot nor should not. I hope they will not turn him cold and hard and unforgiving. I hope that he will understand the myriad flaws of our world and the people therein and fight where he can to help right the ship.
I hope he remembers that our hearts are big, with a capacity for love and compassion that only GROWS when it is shared. That when we reach out a hand—a hand to hold, a hand to steady, a hand to lift each other up—not everyone will take it. But that doesn’t mean we stop trying. Because sometimes the mere act of having reached out to that someone ignites a hope within them. It is so easy to become cynical and bitter. But I hope he never stops reaching out, both to help others and to ask for help of his own.
I wish him a joyous life in double digits, filled with juuuust enough failure and heart ache and struggle to truly appreciate all of his blessings. And to remind him to stand up for those who are not as fortunate as I hope he will be.
So, it is with greatly mixed emotions that I will watch him blow out the candles on his birthday brownie this year. So much to be grateful for in my happy, healthy Little Man. So much to be anxious about (p-u-b-e-r-t-y! egad!!). So much worry and wonder. So much love.
Happy birthday, Little Man. Here’s to many, many more decades to come.