Your father was traveling through Cuba when I discovered I was pregnant with you. For days, I let this strange, new idea roll through my mind and out onto my tongue: mother. I am a mother. And for those few days, it was our secret. Mother and child. Soon your tiny peanut shape formed limbs and lungs and hair and toes, and my belly swelled and browned in the summer sun. Dad used to say you would arrive with a tan. But mostly, we just wanted you to arrive.
And then you did.
The night you were born, I changed. That word, once abstractly dangling from my tongue, was now birthed and swaddled with you in my arms. Mother. And you were my son. At that point, I suppose I considered my role as some sort of culmination of leading you into your humanity and relationship with the Lord, but I had never considered you would do the same for me.
Years later, when you were seven and we were tracing European bodies of water for Geography, I glanced over your shoulder as you transformed these lines marking the boundaries of the waters into images of sleeping dragons and space ships and dinosaurs. This of course was a glimpse of the way you perceive the world around you. Instead of focusing on the parameters, the limiting lines, as most of the rest of us do, you appreciate the negative space, the creation that exists between them. “Look! Don’t you see?” I’ve heard echoed more times this decade than in my life combined, as though it’s the only lesson I’ve ever needed to hear. Ten years later, new worlds continue to unfold before me. Thank you, son, for helping me to see. I love you, sweet boy. And today, I celebrate you.
We celebrated your new decade over a three-day period this month: a college football game with Burke, Dad, and PoPo, a special day with Nina, and several donuts and ice cream sundaes in between. Dad and I surprised you with a bow and arrow and archery lessons, something you’ve wanted for over a year now. PoPo and JoJo bought you your first knife for carving, and Nina and Papa bought you your first Bible–two excellent tools for you to learn to use this next decade.