Sweet Liam, My precocious, curious, active boy. My heart of hearts. My first. In two weeks you will be a Kindergartner. You have come so far since the day you were born and made me a mother. Yet, this milestone marks a new beginning. It is a line in the sand. A beginning of the letting go. Of the growing up and “mom, please don’t hold my hand” or call me your “Lumpy” anymore. The start of, “Mom, I am going to be a ‘mans’ one day–and I will be stronger and bigger than you–right mom?” It is my first day too.
Part of me is disappearing, my son, along with the baby and toddler you once were. There are still moments at night when you are scared or tired, when you drift in and out of sleepiness for snuggles. For warm embraces with your “mama.” And, in those fleeting moments, as you spill out of my lap, I see glimmers of her. Of the new mom I once was. In awe. Amazed. Grateful for your every breath. In love beyond anything describable. These moments remind me of old times. Of precious snippets of a part of my life I will always be grateful for–when the only distraction was you, my love.
Today, my heart overflows — you are blessed to be a big brother twice over. You share your spotlight now (though begrudgingly at times). In fact, yesterday you told me “Mom, three children is too many. I think just one would be good.” But, I think you would miss your sweet siblings who are your constant companions and playmates. One day, I pray that they will be your best friends.
I am grateful for the child you are becoming. You are learning what it means to love God and be compassionate toward others. You are learning about choices and discernment. You are smart as a whip and challenging to a fault. Yet, you also teach me more than any other human being I have ever known. Through you, I see myself–and my many shortcomings. Because of you, I try to be a better human being, to lead by example — and ask forgiveness when I fail you.
I am excited for the year ahead, my big boy. We are homeschooling, and I am grateful that I won’t have to watch you fade out of sight that first day on a yellow school bus. But it marks a change in our relationship. As my role of mama and teacher merge, I pray that I serve you well. I ask for patience, that I may not exasperate you. For energy, that I may keep up with you. For flexibility, that I may adjust as needed when plans do not go as expected. For wisdom, that I may know how best to meet your emotional and academic needs. For faith, that His plan for you is always better than my plan for you.
You will change more than ever in the coming months, as you turn from five to six. My heart is not ready for you to grow so quickly. But, as you become a boy, I will do my best to change with you. To not hold on too tightly, but to encourage and support you by letting go a bit. And I promise, my love, as you grow too big to carry in my arms, that I will always walk beside you. I will listen when others won’t. And embrace you (if you let me) when you are hurt. I will fight for you. And pray for you. And never give up on you. I will love you unconditionally. And, I will be proud–of your both your achievements and your failures, because they mean you tried. If I forget any of these things, I hope you remind me gently, my beloved.
I am grateful to be your mother, your teacher and your friend. As your earliest years come to a close, I welcome this bittersweet beginning as the magic of boyhood unfolds before you and adventure awaits. The best is yet to come, my sweet. Walk on.
Co-editor Stephanie Beaty is a blessed mama of three children and military spouse. After a 10-year career as a professional writer/PR pro she began Lifeography, a modern child + family portrait studio where she focuses on capturing relationships and connections. Although her growing family currently resides in Virginia Beach, Va., home is wherever the Navy sends them. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.