To observe, enjoy and create in everyday life

Happy Birthday & Happy Birth Day

Our oldest son celebrated his 16th birthday this week, and with that celebration came a flood of memories of him as a baby, a preschooler and a young child. After a dinner out, we had a fun time pouring over his baby album. I don't think he had flipped through it in years, and for that matter, neither had I.

His birthday always feels different than his younger brother's does. I think it is because with celebrating the oldest's birthday, I am also celebrating the day I became a mother. Years ago when Jackson was turning five or six, a friend of mine wished him a "Happy Birthday" and then promptly turned around and wished me a "Happy Birth Day." At first I didn't understand, but she quickly pointed out to me that it was my birth day as well. That this day was a celebration day for us both. For Jackson it is a day for turning another year older, and for me it is a day to celebrate entering motherhood.

From that birthday forward, I have been grateful for her well wishes to the both of us. It is easy to get wrapped up in the party planning for a child's birthday. But it's important to also find some time to remember the day my boys came into this world, and how each of their births has changed me as a person. I look at the pictures of myself on the day of Jackson's birth, and I look tired and happy and young...but also a bit unsure of myself.

And now, sixteen years later, I realize that I have gained confidence in my parenting. I have grown from a clumsy and uncertain person into a mother who has had to learn how to be more brave than would normally be comfortable for myself. I have learned how to step out and trust that the parenting decisions being made through the boys' childhood are the right ones for each of our boys. I have learned how to pray and hold our boys with an open hand. They do not get to stay with us forever. In just a few short years, another phase of my mothering years will be closed and I will move onto a new phase. And so, while I celebrate Jackson's growth from infant to confident teenager, I also celebrate my growth from new momma into a more seasoned and still learning
mother.

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