Well, this was supposed to be a post about Emerson's birthday party, but then my fingers started typing uncontrollably and I got all emotional. Go figure ;) I'll post about his birthday party soon!
My sweet little Emerson turned FOUR on August 16th. FOUR! Can you believe it? That means that I got pregnant with him almost 5 years ago. When I say that, that really makes me have to catch my breath for a second.
I always knew I wanted kids one day, but that one day snuck up on me when I was least expecting it.
Almost 5 years ago when I was sitting in that bathroom, staring at that positive pregnancy test and crying my eyes out, there was no way for me to understand the entirety of the blessing and reward that a child is.
When I was sitting there terrified and anxious about becoming a mother earlier than I had planned, there was no way for me to know that one day, I wouldn't be able to imagine my life WITHOUT my Emerson in it.
When I was sitting there selfishly thinking about all the things I would have to press pause for in my life, I didn't realize that one day, my desire to watch my kids grow up would far surpass my desire to travel the world and see new things. That one day, I would find myself more content hanging out with my husband and two toddlers than having late nights with friends. And that one day, crazy would become the new norm. And that I would actually grow to love the crazy. And long for the crazy.
When I was sitting in that bathroom, there was no way for me to know how much God would grow me in the next 5 years, refine my heart, and show me how to train up a child. I have found a strength that I didn't know I had, a confidence that I thought my life lacked and a HEART to love in a capacity that I didn't even know was possible.
I have learned to lean on the Holy Spirit like never before, to be content in my imperfections, and to rely on grace rather than beat myself up for my mistakes.
I love this quote that I have heard regarding motherhood: "The days are long, but the years are short." This couldn't be more true. After all the ups and downs, the LOOONG days (and nights), the times where I didn't think I could do it any longer, the moments of doubt in my abilities to parent, and, of course, the moments of sheer parental bliss, my little baby boy was slowly growing and becoming more independent. At some point, he learned how to eat with a fork. At some point he learned how to use the potty. At some point he started buckling his own car seat. At some point he learned how to say, "Excuse me," and engage in conversation with other people. And at some point he stopped needing me to meet all (just some) of his physical needs. He has blossomed into a sweet young boy, and my heart is overjoyed and saddened all at the same time.
I yearn to rock my baby boy at times, but at the same time am so thankful that he can go to sleep on his own now.
I miss those early days of breastfeeding, when I would spend hours nurturing my Emerson, but at the same time am so thankful that he can feed himself now. (And that I no longer have to wear a nursing bra!)
I yearn to have his cuddles and snuggles, but am so thankful that he has grown more independent and spends time exploring the world around him.
It didn't happen overnight. But little by little, he started doing more things on his own.
At four years old, he now brushes his own teeth, fixes his own drink, prays before he eats, gets dressed by himself, cleans up after himself, goes into the potty stall by himself (!!!!!!!!) and has recently just started reading. READING I said. Aren't they supposed to wait a little bit longer to do that? Not our Emerson. He is a sponge that is passionate about learning and it has been the neatest thing to watch him learn new things. I just hope that he doesn't get too old for me to read him bedtime stories. God please let that linger a while longer!
This is such a precious stage, because he still needs me, yet I'm learning that his needs for me have changed. He doesn't rely on me as much for the physical needs, but he sure does need me emotionally. He needs me to help him navigate this world. He needs me to help him with his anger and frustrations. He needs me to pray over him, celebrate him and encourage him.
As I was writing this post, Emerson came in the room, held my hand, and said, "Mommy, I don't ever want to leave you." Case in point about this sweet boy needing his mommy! Talk about make me emotional! Right now, that statement bears truth. He wants to be in his mommy's presence. He wants to be right by my side. But one day, in the blink of an eye, he WILL leave me. One day, in the blink of an eye, all the crazy will be gone, the house will be quiet, and the laundry piles will shrink. One day I'll only have to load the dishwasher a couple of times a week. One day I won't have food to pick up off the floor. And although I know that one day is far off, I feel like it could sneak up on me at any moment. Just like that one day that I learned I was going to be a mother.
After all, isn't that what motherhood is all about? Preparing for that one day that you let your kids go? You see, your heart beats wildly as you meet your baby for the first time, a true love-at-first-sight moment; yet what you do not realize is that every second after that baby is born is one second closer to independence and a little further away from Momma. But that is the bittersweetness that is motherhood. You would fail if your child never learned to go out on his own. Although we want to keep them close, we have to let them go, little by little, day by day, year by year until one day, they are grown adults.
Thankfully, Emerson is only 4. But if the next 14 years go by as quickly as these last 4 years, this momma is going to be real sad. As for now, I am going to linger a little more with my son. I'm going to read him a million books before bed time. I'm going to kiss his boo boos as long as he asks. I'm going to do his laundry and cook him meals. I'm going to "hold him like a baby" after bath time every time he asks me in a giggly voice. I'm going to color with him and play trains with him because one day. One day he won't need me for any of those things anymore. But for now, I am thankful that that one day is not today.
Emerson Trice Head, I am so proud of the little boy you have become. I am so proud of the way you speak with such kindness. I am so proud of how you love so well. I am so in awe of your intelligence and your ability to learn new things (and remember those things!!). I love watching you play with your trains. I love how you always put your PJ's on backwards. I love listening to you tell funny stories. The way you sing and dance is a certain way to cheer up anyone's day. Thank you for letting me be your Mommy. Thank you for your giant capacity to forgive. For rubbing my cheek on days that I'm not so nice. And for always encouraging your mommy. You are a joy to your father and I. You are such a good big brother to your sister. And you are such a good friend to your bestest buddies. We can't wait to see what amazing things God has in store for your life buddy. Don't ever lose your love for trains. You're my favorite 4 year old. Love, Mommy