My joy for today is my first baby turning five.
In some ways, it is hard for me to type those words. My baby turning five means that five years have already passed that we have had the joy of hosting him in our home, being entrusted with his daily growth and development. Henri Nouwen wrote, “Our children are but our must precious guests, only with us for a short time.” He uses the word guest to help us understand that people in our lives, no matter how close, are only guests in our soul; they are not our possessions. Our job is to love them unconditionally, without expecting anything in return. Thinking of parenting in that way reminds me with force how precious the time with each of our children is in our home. They are not our possessions, they are cherished gifts to love and guide in the time with which we are entrusted.
Noah turns five tomorrow and we had a big birthday party for him over the weekend. It was the first birthday party with friends that we have ever had and it was exhausting, but fun. I had so much help from all of my family members; my mom, dad and Granny made and brought lots of food, the balloons, and cake, and my sister helped sweep the porches, put up decorations, clean outdoor furniture, and care for Molly and Tucker. It was definitely a group effort and I am so grateful for their help. It was also touching to see so many of Noah’s friends, there to share his special day and celebrate his life thus far. It was really a blessing to look out in the backyard and feel loved by so many.
Five years ago, my life changed in ways I could never have imagined even the day before it happened. Noah, and his siblings, have taught me so many things about life and about myself. I learned that life is certainly not all about me. Having children makes it almost impossible to be selfish and to be a good parent simultaneously. What is best for your children is what it is best for you. If that means being on vacation in a beautiful, exotic, brand new destination, and having to return to a small hotel room so babies can nap, that is what is happening. Reading the same book four or five times in a row is common. Sleeping through the night is a privilege, not an inalienable right. The day Noah was born is his birthday, but it is also the anniversary of Chad and me becoming parents. What a joyous day!
Noah is such a joy to mother. He is sweet and loving, concerned about others and an amazing, loving older brother. He is astoundingly athletic and agile, full of energy and zest for life. He wears his emotions on his sleeve and is inquisitive and curious about the world around him. Every single day, he touches my heart with something kind that he does or says. He often turns to me and says out of nowhere, “Mommy, you know what? I love you so much.”
I love you more than words could ever express Noah. I am proud of you and am overwhelmingly grateful to be your guide through childhood.
You are my joy for today, and many, many days to come.