It is the eve of your sixth birthday. This birthday is especially poignant to me because your third little brother joined our family not 12 days ago. Your new brother resembles your newborn self in many ways, even wearing some of the same clothes you did. It almost feels like I am reliving those infant weeks with you – only this time I know a little more about mothering a baby. And that is something which defines our relationship.
I have been a mother to 6 newborns, but never to a 6-year old. When it comes to you, Son, I am a first-time mom in everything. You are the first one I gave birth to; the first one I potty-trained; the first one I taught to read; the first one to reveal my strengths and weaknesses as a mother. When I look into your face, I see such innocence and such resilience. I know that much of my mothering has been trial and error and it will probably continue to be that way since we continue to explore uncharted waters together. But I also know that God is shaping you into the young man He wants you to be.
Your fifth year was a transformative one; not only did you grow physically and cognitively, you also matured immensely in character. It seemed like suddenly you went from a reactive little boy to an independent thinker. You are in much more control of your emotions; you thoughtfully plan what you want to play each day; you show concern for others; you desire to challenge yourself in new ways and with new skills; you are pondering Jesus and His role in your life. You and I can have long conversations now, can share a good laugh together, and enjoy retelling our favorite memories. Some of my favorite times with you are when we are having our reading, writing and math lessons. I like seeing how you process new information and apply it in practical ways. And then seeing you hop on your first pedal bike and take off without training wheels! What an amazing victory for such a cautious boy. I was filled with pride for you.
Gregory-Hans, when I saw you for the first time six years ago I loved you simply because you were my baby. As the years have swiftly swept by and grown you in their passing, I recognize that I respect you for the individual you are and are becoming. Continue absorbing life with such fervor; hold on to your yearning for courage; seek peace and pursue it; depart from evil and do good; recognize that God placed you on the earth for such a time as this.