This is it. This is one of the big ones. You turned ten, and my heart just can’t believe it. It’s been a decade since my eyes first caught sight of you; a decade of all sorts of emotions. We’ve laughed. We’ve cried. We’ve raged. We’ve said sorry. We’ve loved.
In eight years, the world will say that you are no longer my baby. You will be an adult, responsible for yourself, and I can barely stand the thought of it. Even when I look at you now, I see that curly, blonde haired cutie with chocolate eyes looking back at me.
I remember your first steps and the first time you stacked blocks. You would hold your hands up to me and say, “Hold you. Hold you.” and I just caved in every time. I also remember when you would dress up like a Ninja, put on a Transformer mask, and jump on your Big Wheel. You were going to save the world. I believed you could. I have the drawings and love letters from you. I will always cherish them.
I remember our laughter when you would belt out one of your sweet songs you made up with your bright orange ukulele. You had a silly way of turning life into a melody. And, you were quite good at it…
Son, it has been a decade since tears stained my pillow as I cried out to God. It has been a decade since I mourned receiving someone else’s baby shower announcement, and since I stared longingly at a mother and baby with hopeful wishes that one day, my turn would come. It has also been a decade since my heart left my body and walked around in the form of a little one; in you.
It has been a beautiful ten years. I want you to know that life is not going to be easy. It was never designed to be, but here are ten things I want you to carry with you through the days that God will bless us all with your presence.
- Your worth is never measured by the size of your house, the car you drive, your academic success, or how many trophies are on display. You know how we say, “It isn’t the size of the home that matters, it’s the amount of love in it that does”? Well, that saying is not just about houses. It is also about life. Don’t ever forget that.
- Never forget that while you have challenges, other people do as well. Remember this when you are with others who seem to be difficult. Think about it when you come across a stranger that is different from you. Stay kind. That is one thing you will never regret.
- If you fail at something, try again. The biggest lessons you will learn in life often come from failure. Don’t give up on your goals, relationships, or talents. Keep exploring and remember that failure absolutely rises up your character.
- Take care of your body. I’m not talking eat your vegetables, drink water, and all that kind of stuff (although, that is important). I mean rest when you need to. Don’t burn yourself out. Stay away from drugs and other things that will deteriorate you. You only have this one life on Earth. Give your health every chance it has to move you along and to capture all that you can in the vast world.
- Don’t measure moments in how much beauty you think they have. Instead, remember that beauty also involves those raw, honest, knees-to-the-ground kind of moments. This may not make sense to you now, but one day it will. The most beautiful experiences in life often come from seemingly painful experiences.
- Learn to walk away when you need to. In other words, don’t get caught up in someone else’s mistakes. Good friends will not lead you down destructive paths. You will know you have a good friend when that person accepts you for exactly who you are at any given moment. In return, be that same kind of friend to someone else.
- Laugh. Laugh until you pee your pants. Laugh until you just can’t take it anymore. Find others who make you laugh. Laughter feeds the soul and it nourishes relationships. Find joy in odd things; things that you find funny. Keep making up those quirky jokes you tell. Don’t be afraid to let the world hear your laughter. It is perfect.
- When you can give, do so. Receiving is nice, but giving is so much better. The Bible tells us this. Giving keeps us grounded and in return, we get the blessing of knowing that we are helping others. Giving does not always mean material gifts. These things are nice, but giving yourself, holding the hand of someone who seems like an untouchable, sharing a smile, and encouraging someone are all incredibly powerful ways to give.
- Stand up for yourself and others. Even when it doesn’t seem like the cool thing to do or what the crowd expects, do it and don’t be afraid. Don’t ever walk away from a situation thinking, “I could have done more to help.” If you can help, do it and don’t make any apologies about it.
- Never forget that there is nothing you can ever do that will make us love you any less. We will not always agree with your choices. We may even get quite upset and distraught over something that you’ve done, but son, we will always love you. The love we have for you is forever stuck right into our hearts. It is engrained into the very fiber of our beings. You will learn this once you become a parent.
A decade of life has come and gone; a decade of firsts, thrills, do-overs, and lots of learning. It has moved quickly and if I could, I would go back and do it all over again. All of it.
Faith has brought us through it and faith will carry us on. God weaved our family out of brokenness, but there is nothing broken about us. We are exactly who we are supposed to be. YOU are exactly who you are supposed to be, and you are precious. You are incredible. Thank you, son, for this past decade of love.
What a treasure it has been.