I had no idea it was possible for one person to change so dramatically, so significantly over the course of four short years. But here we are…my dark-haired baby boy transformed from a tiny infant to a snuggly toddler to an outgoing preschooler. And alongside him, I’ve changed too–far more than I did from the beginning to the end of high school, or of college, or any other monumental four-year period of my life. This one turned the world as I knew it upside down. It has heightened my joys, increased and then shattered my confidence again and again, filled me with awe, exposed my sinfulness, and brought me to my knees. This one little boy changed everything, and through him, God has been refining me continually since this day–the first day of fall–four years ago.
I look at pictures of my life before Charlie and wonder where he was. I try to recall what it felt like before he was here and find that all of those memories are just a little bit hazy. From the moment he was born, it was as though a camera lens clicked into focus. He was always meant to be ours. We were always meant to be his. I doubt myself daily, but at the same time, I know in the deepest parts of my heart that we are exactly who the other needs. That may be the thing motherhood has taught me the most.
This year has been our most challenging since Charlie was born, there is no doubt in my mind about that. It held a seemingly endless season of potty training, a tiring pregnancy that had me setting him in front of the TV far more often than I wanted to, a move to a new house, his first ER trip, a new baby, a pandemic. I sometimes look back and feel such guilt for how many transitions our little–still so little–three-year-old underwent…and how often I didn’t handle the moments within them with the grace and patience that I wish I had. But it’s true. God’s mercies are new every morning. All the hard has made all the good (SO much good) even sweeter.
We’ve watched our boy thrive in school, make his own friends, score goals in soccer, conquer fears, grow in independence, learn to ride his balance bike, completely embrace his role as a big brother. He is tremendously kind, affectionate, and sweet. He is extroverted and friendly, the first to greet neighbors we pass on the sidewalk or to ask another kid to play. No matter where he is or what he’s doing, he makes people smile. Especially us. So often, Dave and I catch one another’s eyes and know we are thinking the exact same thing: we cannot believe he’s ours. We are so lucky.
Celebrating our four-year-old with dinosaurs, balloons, chocolate cake, and Buzz Lightyear today and we could not be more grateful. Happy birthday, sweet Charlie!!