I originally wrote this when my oldest was turning 6 years old. It still rings true today so I updated it.
Today my oldest turned 11 years old. Whenever my oldest has a birthday this whole “motherhood” thing feels very bittersweet. The years flash before my eyes. I get extra sappy and just want everyone to sit around singing Kum-ba-ya. Ok — kidding…a little.
I remember when I first became a mom. Each pregnancy and birth has been amazing in numerous ways, but there was something spectacular about the first. There are so many “firsts” that are associated with the first baby. I realized how much responsibility I had, but also how I knew nothing about being a mom. I remember the first few weeks, how in shock I was. Postpartum depression was creeping down my neck and I struggled with how I would love this little human, my husband, myself and everyone else around me in the same way. It was all so new, so different and so challenging. Yet simultaneously the most incredible bonding and maturing that I have ever experienced. Each new baby has added to the depth of motherhood that I find myself in, but my first child set that trajectory.
Soon after becoming a mom, we faced our first deployment. Hubby was in combat and we would snuggle the night away, waiting for a call that Dad made it back safely from patrol. It was just him and I, making mom friends and seeing what this new life as a mom had to offer. We photographed every milestone, questioned every move, and continued to learn so much about each other.
Eleven years later, I still look at my first so fondly. He is paving the way for his 6 brothers and 2 sisters. He carries the “first born” title with such humility and leadership skills equivalent to some adults I know. I wouldn’t be able to juggle 8 tiny kids without my oldest and his God given personality. He is beyond gifted in caring and serving all of us. Many times I tell him to enjoy the event, but he would rather have one of his siblings enjoy it with him. He is the first to plan our days, make breakfast or lunch for everyone, change the laundry, change a diaper, grab the baby out of her bed, carry groceries and come up with an idea. He never wakes me from my afternoon naps, rubs my back when I am feeling achy and provides a constant supply of affection. When he is slow to speak, it isn’t because he has nothing to say. He is thinking a mile a minute, but just isn’t ready to share it with anyone. At the end of the day, he wants my undivided attention and appreciates being understood. A night won’t go by that he doesn’t ask for an extra kiss goodnight.
To this sweet boy who made me a mom — you are better than I ever could have asked for. As you get older, you make me want to get better. Your weaknesses challenge me to get stronger while your strengths complement my every weakness. Thank you for being you. May you have a Happy Birthday this year and praying for many more to come!