So last week my boy turned six and I can’t remember much of the in-betweens. That would be the mysterious void between our first meeting at the birthing suite to last Wednesday’s few hundred snapshots of his boyish face. He was puffing out six candles to our joyous shouts of “Hip hip hooray!” Our unanimous clapping and cheering felt like a tribute (not to me) for surviving the last six years, but to him for making it through, unscathed. Not even during the far too many times I wished I’d done a better job but I was either too incompetent, too exhausted or too inexperienced for looking after a boy.
However, my heart, like every mother’s heart, beats with the pulses of a mum’s heart and in terms of love, at least I know I’ve never ever shortchanged him. I realise with great heartache that my job of being a mother, if it’s done right, means the time shall come when he’ll need me less and less until the day comes when he’ll technically no longer need me.
So here’s an open letter to him for that very day in the future. It’s one I’m sharing with all parents of boys…kind of in celebration of what boyhood really is, along with the joys of parenting a little mister.
In addition, allow me to share the picture of his boy’s birthday cake which I designed, baked and decorated to celebrate not only his arrival for six years but perhaps the too-soon arrival of our scorching Queensland summer.
Dear Christian, today you turn six; for me, a particularly special milestone. Today I celebrate everything about you I hold close to my heart: from your first word to that momentous first step. Like most mums of their first ever boy, I might’ve worried a little too much that you’ll somehow live a secret life of crime. I used to pray that God would grant me the grace & serenity to replace my misplaced anxieties of raising a boy. (“Oh dear Lord please don’t let him be the brat to stab holes in my couch, or flush an apple down the toilet”.)
Six years ago on this day when you arrived, the midwives and nurses gushed over such a beautiful baby boy and congratulated me on how exquisite you were. (Today you continue to cast this spell over every female, young or old, within two metres of you.) I held you, tear-streaked with gratitude, spellbound and in all my awe I even forgot my erstwhile panic about a boy baby. Everyday with you has since been a delightful discovery where adventure would await.
In you I’ve found a piece of myself that I can’t live without. 👦🏻Your boyish exploits and antics fill my days with uproarious laughter and I’ve never known more intrigue about boys. Like why you derive such satisfaction from hours of throwing sticks and stones or jumping into puddles. Your obsessive collection of Hot Wheels and inanimate objects.
Your boyish games of brutal destruction where dinosaurs wage wars against your sister’s impotent dolls. Yet your boisterous streak is so at odds with your gentle spirit & tender affection. Your sweet nature tells me that you’re going to remain a boy, longer than the others. You’re my Peter Pan indeed. I love you so much and pray I’ll have the wisdom teach you, arm you and shield you from all that’s not of God in the world and how to survive when you leave our nest.
Forgive me for the times I got it wrong. I don’t always know everything, that will be God’s job. Seek Him with your heart and you’ll find Him. Happy Birthday, son. You make motherhood just the most intoxicating mystery, fulfilling joy & privilege.