First Day of School

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Lovebug,

We took you to school today. We got you dressed, fed you breakfast, took your picture and whisked you off to a new adventure beyond the reaches of our arms and it seems impossible to believe. In all fairness, you have “been” to school multiple times over the last few months in preparation for this very day. You have walked the halls, played on the playground, and even spent time alone with the teachers in your classroom on several occasions. But today was the day. THE day that you started a journey that will introduce you to a whole new world. You have been in your classroom for an hour now and I am here at home with tears in my eyes, experiencing the full range of first day emotions.

 

If you asked me a year ago how I would feel on your first day of school, I would have likely said that I was devastated. So sad to be missing out on ANY part of your day, regardless of how little, I couldn’t stomach the thought of giving someone else time that I am so covetous of with you. A year ago, I was already dreading this step, knowing that you would be heading out to a place that mama couldn’t go, for the first time ever in your life. I knew that I would have to demonstrate my faith in more ways than ever and the thought of it turned my stomach. But as I sit here today with these “first day” tears in my eyes, I can honestly say that devastation is the last emotion I feel. The tears of today come from a too quiet house that just isn’t the same without my curly-haired sidekick sidled up next to me, but the feeling I have that overrides every other is one of pure excitement.

 

I know you are ready for this.

 

I have watched you grow in confidence over the last few months and become increasingly independent with every step, every task, and every challenge. I have seen the pride overtake your face whenever you do something that you were scared to do or didn’t think you could. I have watched your desire to learn morph into a ravenous hunger that consumes your waking hours. I have noticed that while your nerves said, “I don’t want to go to school” your curiosity for all its secrets made the tears stop the moment you crossed the threshold.

 

So today when I waved goodbye to you, the smile I had plastered on my face, wasn’t just for your benefit. It was the outward expression of an inward peace I have about all that you are undertaking. When I told you that I want to know if Grumpy the fish was really grumpy, if the playground slide was super fast, what the room smelled like, and if you had a student named Marsupial in your class, I meant it. Because I do. I want to know every detail of your days and can hardly wait to hear of your adventures. I know you are going to revel in your new world and I feel privileged to be the listening ears for all that is to come. In the same breath however, I also know that memories and moments are about to unfold that I will never get to hear about because this is YOUR adventure. You are stepping out on your own and that means you get to see, hear, and do things that are yours alone. So while my mama heart cringes a little bit at the initiation of this new chapter, my teacher heart says YES. Go do it, sweet boy. Soak it up. Run fast, try hard, find new friends, create, explore, and make mistakes. Be brave, laugh uncontrollably, feel deeply, and give yourself grace. Grow, flourish, be challenged, and don’t be afraid to fail. Be ALL in, engaged, and truly present in every moment because you have a mama and dada who adore you, believe in you, and know that in every sense you are going to ROCK this.

 

More than anything else, know that you are purely loved…by me, by Dada, and by the God who put you together so perfectly. Know that the successes, failures, challenges, and victories held within the year ahead will never add to or diminish the love we have for you. Be YOU, precious boy, and we will cherish our view as we watch the world be gloriously changed as a result.

 

AML,

Mama

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The Lessons of Heartache.

Lovebug,

You taught me something this week. Actually, to be fair, you and God worked together to teach me something and I’m pretty sure the lesson was harder on me than it was on you.

You and mama are thick as thieves. We spend the majority of every day together and much to my delight, have formed a bond that is rock solid. We know each other…well. You are comfortable to show me every side of who you truly are because you trust that I will love you in all of it…and you’re right.

Well, inevitably there are times when I have to run out and you are left in the hands of someone we love and trust, who adores you. This week I had a haircut and E was set to watch you, when you announced several days prior that you weren’t interested. Your anxiety about me leaving appeared on Monday, when you brought it up, before I had even mentioned the haircut on Friday. Your introspection never ceases to amaze me and you had already been assuming that since it had been awhile since you had been left in the hands of a babysitter, it was probably coming to that time again. When I explained the plan, you erupted into tears. “No thank you Mama leave, no thank you E play with you.” Heart. Broken.

I did what I assumed I should do…reassured you that it would be fun, that you would be fine, and that it wasn’t going to happen for four more days. For the rest of the day, you double checked that it wasn’t today and you continued to make your opinions known on what was to come. This happened again on Tuesday, then on Wednesday, and on Thursday. You were so sad that my heart wanted to cancel that appointment and just stay with you and love on you all day on Friday. Luckily, my head (and your daddy) said, “No.” Sparing you this sadness would only perpetuate your separation anxiety and would not solve the problem. Still, it hurt. There is this part of the mama bear in me that wants to protect you from all hurts, keep you from being sad at all costs, and make every day of your life filled with nothing but joy. And yet, I know if I do that, I will ruin you. I will rob you of every opportunity for you to see God’s faithfulness in our struggles and deceive you into believing that life is perfect. So we pressed on.

I prayed in the days leading up, arriving at a “Please God” crescendo on Thursday night. I wanted you to feel better about it in the morning and not have any anxiety about what was happening. As is often the case, God had other plans. My prayers were answered, but not in the way I requested.

Friday morning brought anxiety and more pleading for me not to go. In your uncertainty, I saw so much of myself. Longing to be in control, fearing the unknown, desperately grasping for security. I realized then that if you turn out anything like me, this will not be the last time you fear and want to avoid an uncomfortable and uncontrollable situation. So I listened to the God voice in my heart that told me to teach you what I have learned when I feel the same way…pray. Go to Him. Take all of your irrational fear, your mess, your anxiety and lay it at God’s feet asking Him to help you through each moment and guide you through each step.

I sat you on the edge of the bed and said, “Oh buddy…I hate that you are so sad and scared about this. Do you know what Mama does when she is scared and sad about something? I talk to God. I tell Him exactly how I am feeling and ask Him to make me feel brave and strong. I ask Him to give me everything I need to make it through what I am dreading. And you know what? God listens and God helps us.” We prayed together with your little two year old legs dangling and tears filling your eyes and we ventured out to greet E. Your tears continued and you clung to me, but I showed you that I trusted God enough to answer our prayer by giving you a big hug, telling you I loved you BIG MUCH, and walking out the door. Ouch.

I prayed for you as I left. In the grand scheme of life, this is such a small, small problem, but I knew it didn’t feel small for you. I know those feelings so well and really wanted to just make them go away for you, but I knew I couldn’t. This was just the beginning of God’s work with you—just has He has shown me, He will use every fear, every anxiety, every bit of trepidation to show that He is faithful in our trials, that He can be trusted, and that even when you feel alone, you are NOT. Not EVER.

My haircut took longer than it was supposed to, but when I walked back into the house I heard the soundtrack of a happy boy. Your feet slapped the floor as you raced around the corner and proudly proclaimed, “Mama!! I was brave and I was STRONG!” showing me your muscles. Triumph. Some might say that the victory was that you were able to be happy with the babysitter while I was away. Sure. But for me, the victory was so much greater. It was one tiny example, set in your brain and rooted in your heart that when we are scared, we go to God. That doesn’t mean that He takes the scary away, but that He is faithful to give us everything we need to walk through it and that we never have to take a step without Him by our side.

As I soaked in the BIG hug you gave me, I asked God to forgive me for almost robbing you of such a HUGE lesson. I asked Him to keep me from getting in the way as He molds you and shapes you into the man He has called you to be, because one thing I know for sure…He has BIG plans for you, little one.

I love you, buddy. BIG much.

Mama

What does the angel say?

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Lovebug,

Today we had a great conversation and I just had to save it here so you could read about it later. We were having dinner together and you kept wanting to play with mama’s angel. I have a sweet little Willow Tree angel who sits on our table and you just love her. You always want to hold her and play with her, and I have to remind you frequently that you have to be gentle with her—you typically oblige.

Tonight you were sharing your dinner with the angel and letting her sip from your cup. At one point, you were making her “talk” and she was making a “Ribbit!” sound. I chuckled and said, “Buddy, that’s not what an angel says! An angel says…” Pause. I really had to think here. What DOES an angel say? Given the circumstance, there are a wide variety of possibilities…how could I narrow it down to one sound byte? I had to think about what an angel could always say, in any situation, and then it occurred to me. “Buddy, an angel says ‘God loves you!’” You smiled and said, “Angel says…God love ooo!” From there, our conversation went on.

“Yes, buddy! An angel says ‘God loves you,’ because He does! And you know what? No matter how you are feeling or what is going on in your world, God always loves you.” I explained that God loves you, even when you are having a really crummy day and it seems like He is miles away. I told you that He loves you even when things happen in your life that you don’t understand. That He loves you every day, whether you want Him to or not. I explained that even though sometimes your feelings will try to convince you otherwise, His love for you is unchanging and perfect.

This conversation was a great reminder for your mama, too. Your daddy and I have been surrounded by really sad stories lately. Stories of hurting friends, grieving families, and seemingly “hopeless” situations. We have been praying so hard for precious people in our lives, and we aren’t getting the answers we were hoping for. It’s times like these that we have to choose to believe and trust God and His love, even when He feels far away. We have to trust that His plan is BIG and perfect and ends in an eternity with no more tears, pain, or sadness, no matter how tough things get in the short term.

Life can be so hard, sweet boy. There will be times when you are hurting and you will feel like God doesn’t care. When you don’t feel God close to you, choose to believe Him and trust Him at His word:

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,
Nor will the flame burn you.
“For I am the Lord your God” Isaiah 43:2-3

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are [a]crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

He loves you, sweet boy…BIG MUCH. Don’t you ever forget it.

AML,

Mama

On the eve of two…

Lovebug,

You turn two tomorrow. I have been saying that to myself all day so that I can wrap my mind around it and prepare myself for the reality that you will cease to be my little one year old babe in just a few short hours. Throughout my life I have been challenged by the ends of chapters/seasons. When change is imminent, I feel myself desperately trying to savor every last moment and cherish what I feel is slipping away. So today we did all of our “usual” activities—all of the things that you love to do. Reading books, playing trucks, and of course, going to visit the ducks and fish at the pond. You had a long, playful bath and once you were in your jammies, we curled up in the chair for bedtime. I gave you extra rocking and snuggling and told you how much I loved you. As I laid you in your crib and crept out of your room, I waited for a pang to enter my stomach as I acknowledged that I had my last day with you as a one year old.

 

Much to my surprise, it wasn’t there.

 

I felt happy…grateful…and totally at peace.

 

As I thought about why this was the case, it fell on me with unbelievable clarity. I wasn’t trying to hang on to this year because I knew without question that I had savored it and enjoyed it completely.

 

Unlike with other seasons, where I felt like I didn’t appreciate them enough or knew that I took them for granted, I could walk away from this year knowing that I had left nothing on the table. By the grace of God, I remained present with you during every day—not wishing a single moment to go faster or to be altered in any way. I loved you with every cell in my body. I gave you all of my energy. I withheld nothing.

 

Even on days that were less than perfect, I never wanted to be anywhere else. I was covered up in gratitude every single day that I could be right here with you and your daddy—I wanted for nothing.

 

I enjoyed the sights, the sounds, the touches. I relished in your new achievements and marveled at your growth. I laughed with you. Held you when you cried. Made messes and cleaned them up. Some moments were glamorous and others were cringe-worthy, but I remain thankful for them all.

 

So while it is in the nature of mamas to always wish for more time, I don’t regret any of the days of this year. I didn’t squander a single one. I haven’t been perfect—I have certainly made mistakes, but taking you for granted wasn’t one of them. What an incredible gift from God. My heart is full knowing that I have loved and savored every day I have been blessed to have with you. My prayer as we walk into 2 tomorrow morning is that this time next year I can say the same thing.

 

I love you BIG MUCH.

mama

Mama’s child

Oh Lovebug, in the scheme of letters and posts directed to you, this one is a little silly but I can’t help but write about it!!  My child, you LOVE to organize!!!!  As I write those words, I am literally grinning from ear to ear thinking of the countless moments that have led me to make such an assertion.  For months now, you have loved putting items back in their proper places.  The teacher in me beamed at the development of categorization in your brain, but now it has grown into so much more.  You close doors that are left open.  You rearrange items in our cabinets.  You pick up clothes you find around the house and carry them into the laundry room.  It’s enough to make me swoon!!

Last night, I was getting everything ready for bath/bedtime when I came across this scene on your toy shelf.  You had very meticulously arranged Dexter and one of your “guys” beneath the covered deck on Noah’s Ark.  I was so touched by the sweetness of it, I had to snap a picture.

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When I met you in the bathroom and told you that it was time to hop in the tub, you rushed past me.  I realized you had a random car in your hands and knew exactly what you were doing.  You wanted to be sure to put it away before bath time.  I followed you into your room and watched as you returned the car to its proper place.  Before racing back to the bath, you made sure to nestle Dexter back into the driver’s seat of his digger and put your “guy” away as well!!  I was covered up in joy over this little moment.  Your attention to detail and follow through is just exquisite!!

Another mom at My Gym yesterday laughed when her boy threw blocks across the room and you hurried over, scooped them up, and returned them to the block pile.  She said her oldest son was the same way and that he continues to love organizing things today at age 9.  That made me wonder…will you?

I am going to share one final example and then I will end this, as I am sure that you are rolling your eyes at what I find so impossibly endearing.  Last week we spent time in St Simons and had guests staying at the beach house.  One of the gentlemen used the restroom and after returning to the group, you walked into the bathroom and promptly put down the seat he had left up!!  My boy!!!

I know it probably seems so silly that I am this amazed by all of this, but this is one of those times where I can actually see me in you.  You are SO wonderfully, beautifully, perfectly like your Daddy in so many ways.  Your hunger for adventure, your boldness, your ability to make us laugh, your impish grin, you truly are your father’s child and I couldn’t be happier.  I love your Daddy with every cell in my body, so naturally I am over the moon that you are so much like him.  It warms my heart, though, to find a glimmer that you and I share.  I’m not sure if this is a phase or a part of your permanent wiring, but for the moment, I am delighting in it.

You are such a treasure.  Every day that I am blessed to spend with you, I thank God over and over.  I feel forever privileged to have all of this time with you–I love you more than you will ever know!!!!

AML,

Mama

Ephesians 1:18

Lovebug,

I know I have already told you this, but the verse I have selected to pray over your life is Ephesians 1:18-19a.  It is a verse that God absolutely placed in my lap with such perfect timing.  When I read it, I knew that it was for you…that I wanted it to be yours.  I want this verse to be reality for you.  I want it so embedded in the marrow of your bones that you live it every day almost effortlessly.

This is the version in my Bible:

“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”

Here is The Message translation, which I also really like:

“I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!”

I pray it out loud to you every night when you are having your bath.  In the middle of our other regular prayers, I say the following:

“And Mama prays Ephesians 1:18 for you every night praying that the eyes of your heart would be enlightened, that you would know the hope to which God has called you, your glorious inheritance in the saints, and the incomparable power He has promised to those who believe…because if you have those 3 things…if you have hope in God, you know who you are as a child of God, and you have God’s power, there is nothing in the world that can take you down!”

It’s typically background noise for you as you splash and play in the water, but it’s no matter.  I’m praying those words so that you will hear them, but I am praying those words more importantly so God will hear them.  I cannot tell you how desperate I am for you to know the freedom, peace, and utter joy I have found through faith in God and a relationship with Christ.  It has, without question, radically transformed my life…and I don’t ever want you to know life without it.

Several times recently you have stopped playing and looked into my eyes with great intensity as I recited the words that you hear every single night.  You looked like you were really trying to soak in what I was saying and it brought such delight to my heart!!  While I know you were more likely noticing my hair looking affright or taking in the sing-song rhythm in my voice, it got me thinking.  Oh how I hope and pray that you will have an interest in and a passion for God’s Word.  It is such an incredible gift.  One that can bring comfort to your grief, wisdom to your uncertainty, and hope to your despair.  It will guide you, it will encourage you, it will transform you.

Oh my precious boy, I love you so.  There aren’t enough hours in the day for me to show you just how much.  I’m grateful for every moment I have the privilege of spending with you.  Every. Single. One.

All my love,

Mama

 

His mercies are new every morning.

How thankful I am for days.

It’s an odd thought, but it hit me today with such power and relevance that I couldn’t help but express it here.  W and I had a bit of a rocky day together.  His sleep schedule was thrown off last night, which trickled into today, which wrought havoc from sun up to sunset.

We limped through this day and fought for moments of joy.   I was exhausted, he was exhausted, and frustrations loomed around every corner.  My sleepy baby is prone to falls and he had many.  Trying to keep a hand on him at all times was futile, since he is now a “walker” and “doesn’t need my help.”  When a much-needed nap turned into an hour long rebellion, my patience wore thin.  It had been a day and I was over it.  I wanted to show him the grace and love of Christ, but what he got when I lifted him from his crib was a grumpy mama.  I prayed out loud, for his sake and for mine, that God would redeem a day that had clearly derailed.

We made it.  Minute by minute, hour by hour, we trudged through our challenges and made the most of our moments.   Near the end of the day, we took a walk to the pond and chatted together while he chased the ducks.  Just before we started the journey for home, he plopped down in the grass and excitedly squealed “DOH!!” which is his word for flowers.  I laughed.

He was sitting in a patch of weeds.

I was just before redirecting him to a beautiful azalea bush just a few steps away when I saw it.  Sure enough, out of the hideous tangle of overgrown and unwanted plants, a darling little flower emerged, its petals reaching for the sun.  We sat there, my boy and I, for several minutes enjoying the flowers amid the weeds and I was reminded that while beauty is always present, sometimes we have to work a bit harder to find it.

Grateful that God had redeemed the day, I enjoyed the second half much more than the first.  Our evening wasn’t without incident–there was still a toe to be stubbed, a bath meltdown to be had, and a tumble to be taken while feeding the puppers–but I found comfort in the awareness that this too shall pass.  How incredible…an idea that is a bitter pill to swallow in moments of joy, had the capability to make my frustrating moments palatable.

Once my little lion was sleeping soundly, I plopped on the couch and exhaled.  I thought about how it wasn’t my best day, nor was it William’s, and asked God to forgive me for all of the ways I blew it.  With those thoughts buzzing in my brain, I was reminded of this scripture:

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23

I was so thankful that we would be able to turn the page from this day…go to sleep and wake up with a whole new opportunity to love and live the abundant life God offers.  Certain I had used up all of my allotted “mercies” for the day, I was thankful to get a whole new batch in the morning.  ;0)

Thank You God for days…for the ones that make us smile and the ones that make us cringe.  Thank you for loving us through our messes and giving us a chance every 24 hours to start again.  Thank You for days…and for the grace You pour out according to our many needs on every. single. one of them.

 

 

Swimming.

Lovebug,

We started swimming lessons this week.  You were so excited to put on your bathing suit–you were giggling and bouncing all around and it was just impossibly adorable.  We loaded you up in the car and drove you to meet your destiny, while you were clueless as to what was ahead.  Everything went well until you were placed in the instructor’s arms and in the water.  How could we explain to you why we were remaining dry while you were led into a scary place with a near-stranger?  We stayed right by the edge the entire time and cheered you on.  You didn’t care.  You screamed and cried and pleaded for rescue in every way you knew how.  Ten minutes passed and it was over…you survived.  I wrapped you in a fluffy towel and told you how proud I was of you and I could feel your relief as you melted into my arms.  It was all behind you…until the next day when we did it again.  And then again.  And then again…

Today was day four and you are still very unhappy about what happens to you at swim.  In my adult brain, I can only imagine how scary it must be for you.  You feel completely out of control and the water in your eyes, ears, and mouth must be terrifying.  I want to be able to explain to you what is happening and why I put you through this every day in a way that you will understand, but I know that’s not possible.  This is a battle you have to fight through without the benefit of understanding, emerging victorious only after you have conquered this challenge.

Watching you today reminded me of a famous quote by Nelson Mandela,

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
Growing up as a boy in America, you will no doubt feel pressure at some point to be “tough” in the face of fear.  I want you to know that the bravest people I know have feelings of doubt, of fear, of anxiety.  You aren’t brave because you don’t feel fear…that wouldn’t make you brave at all.  If you didn’t feel fear in the first place, bravery would never be necessary.  Bravery comes when you are gripped by fear and yet you are able to face it, pressing forward through the challenge.  You can always choose bravery, because you are a child of God and that thanks to Him, you NEVER walk (or swim) through anything alone.
Love you ALWAYS,
Mama

A Whole Year

Oh my sweet Lovebug…it’s official…you are one!!  We had such a wonderful weekend celebrating all that you are to us.  Your party was incredible–so many friends and family members came over to snuggle you and you were a champ!  You loved being in the middle of all of the action and you were so patient when people scooped you up and covered you in kisses.  When it was time for the cake, you were like a king holding court!  You sat in a high chair beneath our peach tree and performed for the ready audience.  You were so tickled by the cake–you started slowly, but gradually warmed up to the idea and then there was no stopping you!  I honestly believe you would have remained in that chair all day long if we had let you!

On your birthday eve, we took you on your first sail aboard Author! Author!  The Captain provided a perfect adventure on the Intercoastal.  The sun was shining, the air was cool, and you loved every minute of it.  An adventurous spirit is already evident in you.  You love being among people and you don’t shy away from new experiences.  Your ability to function on very little sleep comes in handy on days like these–you just kept going and going and going!  In fact, on this day, you refused to take an afternoon nap!  Even with all of the excitement, you were not tired enough to sleep!  You went to bed at your regular bedtime like it was any old day.  That is definitely your father in you, my love.  Your mama would have been asleep before the car left the driveway.  😉

Your actual birthday was reserved for just the three of us.  This day is SO significant for our family for so many reasons–it was perfect to just have you all to ourselves.  Daddy came to your My Gym class in the morning and you LOVED having him there.  You kept beaming at him from across the room and would motor his way at any opportunity.  Speaking of which, your walking skills are nearing expert level!  You have learned how to fall and you can get around very well on your own.  Only one problem…you still can’t get up off the ground!  Your daddy and I chuckle about this constantly.  Your strong will refuses to learn to crawl and you seem to be perfectly content rolling around on the ground.  You’ll figure it out eventually, I suppose!!  Later on in the afternoon, we took you to the zoo, which you love.  You always laugh at the warthogs, which is so precious!  It was a beautiful day and we just soaked in every delicious drop of our time with you.

Birthday dinner featured some of your favorites–your crock pot chicken meal, sweet potatoes, and of course…more birthday cake!!  You quickly remembered your affection for cake and were much less tentative this time around.  You swiftly picked up the entire second tier and crammed it into your mouth!  We let you have as much as you wanted, but when a piece fell to the ground and Daddy took it away, you growled at him!!  It was absolutely hysterical.

Oh how we loved celebrating you.  There has not been a single day in this entire year that I have not praised God for the incredible gift of you in our lives.  To say that we are thankful is quite honestly the greatest understatement in the world.  We are different people than we were a year ago…better people.  You have changed our lives and our hearts in such a profound way and I am forever grateful.  Every day I get to spend with you is an absolute gift and I treasure every memory made with you in my heart.  Thank you for blessing us so abundantly–we are beyond excited to see what the next year has in store!!!  I love you to pieces and bits, my one year old boy!!!

Always,

Mama

Valentines Day

Oh my sweet boy, your mama is a hopeless romantic.  Lucky for me, I married your daddy…who not only understands and appreciates that, but also shares the same trait.  We celebrate Valentines Day every year not out of obligation, but because it is an opportunity to pause, change our routines, and be extremely intentional about expressing the love we have for one another.

I love your daddy so. very. much.

I’m telling you this now not to make you roll your eyes, but so that you will know that true love is real.  There is a growing idea in our culture that true love is something fictional…something that only exists in movies and fairy tales.  There is a population of people who want you to believe that marriage is an outdated idea and that relationships that appear to have true love are somehow secretly flawed or fake.  They are trying to tell you that true love doesn’t exist.  Well, my sweet boy, it does.  It’s real and raw and God has blessed us with it.  Thanks to Him, your daddy and I have a marriage that makes me open my eyes every morning with a smile and close them at night awash in gratitude.  Your dad makes me feel beautiful, challenges me to be the best version of myself, keeps me guessing, and loves me so well.  He encourages me when I feel overwhelmed, he shows me he loves me in the most creative ways, and he makes me laugh constantly (no surprise there!).  He is strong, he is passionate, he is smart.  He has a hunger for adventure that surprises me, a mind that amazes me, and a heart that inspires me.

I am head over heels in love with your daddy and have been for over 10 years.  He’s not perfect.  I’m not perfect.  We are living creatures who mess up, hurt each other, and say the wrong things sometimes, but we forgive…we repair…we love.  Each and every day, I thank God for bringing your daddy into my life and every day I choose to love him with every ounce of my being.

I pray for you every night and frequently those prayers turn to the person who will one day capture your heart.  Such a funny thought for my sweet 11 month old!  As far away as it seems, I pray that you would never settle for less than the incredible life God has intended for you and this includes your love life.  It may take longer to find and it might look a little different than you expect, but it will far exceed anything you could have crafted for yourself.  I pray for your spouse and pray that you will have a relationship founded on faith.  I pray that you will feel loved, supported, respected, encouraged, and empowered by your marriage.  In praying for your future spouse, I also pray that you will be an honorable husband.  That you will take your vows seriously.  That you will love without reservation or hesitation.  That you will forgive, demonstrate grace, and choose daily to show your love in many different forms.

With the help of your daddy, you presented me with chocolates and a card asking me to be your first Valentine.  I almost melted into a puddle right on the floor.  With tears in my eyes, I snuggled you up and accepted your request, praying that when the time comes for you to ask someone new to be your Valentine, you would never settle for less than the true, beautiful, authentic love I have found with your daddy.

I love you, lovebug.

Mama