Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Birthday

Yesterday was my son's 3rd birthday.  And it was a good one.  From the Buzz and Woody cake to the Cars rug that looks like Radiator Springs to his special dinner (including mashed potatoes and French fries mind you), he had a great day.  Despite the fact that he is utterly convinced that he just turned six, he really enjoyed turning three.

Last night as he and I lay on my bed "watching" TV, we were talking about his day.  I was asking him what his favorite part was, and then I began to describe to him (as I do with all of my kids on each of their birthdays) what his first day outside of me was like.  I told him about the torrential floods and tornadoes in Pensacola that sent me into labor, and how I drove to the hospital in rain so heavy I could barely see the roads.  I told him about climbing the stairs to the top floor of the hospital and then down to the bottom trying to make him drop enough that they'd keep me.  I told him about stopping in the middle of a contraction, looking at my nurse, and asking her if she went to church with me.  I told him about his little screeching screams as he took his first breaths.

And then it hit me.  To me, his birthday isn't about his gifts or cake or special dinner.  It's about me
taking the time to remember when his life and mine were separated.  The time when my body was no longer his shelter and when he began to develop his own life outside of me.  His own personality, his own likes and dislikes .. his own temper tantrums.  He's not just my baby anymore; he's his own person. 

I've been given this special, special gift from God to be the one that knew my children first.  From their first flutterings to their personalities to the pangs (and pains) of giving birth.  And I've been give the special gift of being their mom.  Sometimes in the rush of each day as we try to homeschool, and make it to piano or art, or to one of a hundred trips a weekto the store, I seem to forget to stop and remember how special they are.I forget to notice how quickly they are growing and changing.  I look at them and gasp realizing that I have a daughter as tall as me,  I have a son who looks more and more like a man each day, I have a daughter who is suffering greatly from middle child syndrome, I have a son who is struggling to not just be a "little kid", and I have a baby girl who, gulp, isn't much of a baby anymore.  I need to take the time to stop and appreciate each of their changes and growths.  They are all growing older and don't need me as much as each day goes on, and then I will no longer be the center of attnetion anymore.I might then get to go to the bathroom alone, but I imagine I'll be just a bit lonely too.

And then it occurs to me that my relationship with God centers much around this same pattern.  I get busy doing my list of to-do's and don't stop to praise Him as I should.  I don't stop to talk to Him -- unless I'm needing something.  I allow my Bible study to fall to the end of my to-do list instead of keeping it first.  And I can figuratively picture Him waiting patiently for me to stop, center, and re-focus my attention on Him.  He is after all, my heavenly father.  And just as I remember longingly the first days that I held my children, and I cling to the memory of their soft heads sleeping on my shoulder, and their first smiles, and their first teetering steps, and their first ride on a bike, and their first overnight trips, and the list goes on and on,  He clings to my memories. He remembers my first steps, my first smiles, all of my tears, trials, and tribulations.  He remembers when I asked Him to come into my life, when I've been on my face in tears pleading for His intervention,  when I've lifted my voice in praise of His name.  And thank goodness, he's patient and loving, and He clings to me. 

I'm glad Sean's birthday was all that it was.  The memories of his 3rd birthday are just as special as his first.  I might not ever cook mashed potatoes and fries together in one meal again.  I may not get him to take his Buzz Lightyear pajamas off for several days.  I may not be able to convince him before the cake is gone that the red icing is NOT blood as Emma has told him it is.  But I will have the change to remember it all again  and to remember how precious he is to me.