On Saturday our generous, kind-hearted, soft-spoken, soft-cheeked and empathetic boy turned 11.
The night before every birthday is the hardest on this Mama. I always sneak into the bedroom of whoever’s birthday it is and cry…and cry…and cry.
It never fails.
I posted the other day that having babies is beautiful, yet beautifully painful. Nobody prepares us for them growing up. It’s the most bittersweet experience ever. Lately I’ve had to switch my mindset from constantly missing my kids as babies and toddlers (luckily I still have one of these) and young elementary students to loving watching them come into their own.
Two Saturdays ago I was watching Henry play soccer and I really noticed that he’s grown and it was almost like I was seeing it for the first time. It’s his first year – playing soccer. He hit the ground running and has grown over these past 8 months, both on the field and as a boy. He’s getting taller, stronger…faster.
On Friday, as I watched Henry as he opened birthday gifts from his friends, and as as he profusely thanked every single one of them and interacted after every gift, I thought about how he’ll make a fantastic husband and father someday. He’s so thoughtful. His beautiful mind is taking it all in. He’s absorbing everything and he’s so observant.
While taking tests at school, he’s grown frustrated knowing that others are testing higher than him, even though he’s above grade level himself, he’ll talk about wanting to be “smarter” and then he’ll come home, frustrated at times, and log into learning apps.
Oh my sweet and precious and gentle, boy, you’re so smart…and you’re funny, and witty, and silly, and still snuggly…thank goodness.
He’s more than he knows and I know this is just the beginning of big kid frustrations.
Other big kid things are also happening…
While some of Henry’s peers in fifth grade have boyfriends and girlfriends Henry has informed us of not wanting a girlfriend. “Not yet, Mom,” he tells me.
Our boy wakes up on the weekdays before any of us and you can usually find that he’s eaten a bowl of Cheerios. He’ll then be sitting on the couch watching Duck Tales or Harry Potter or Nailed It.
He loves his Grandpa George and he was so excited to have him attend his Birthday party on Friday evening so that they could play laser tag together.
Henry still loves LEGOs, Harry Potter, Star Wars and funny sarcastic shows and movies. He still enjoys Pokemon and magic. I’ll occasionally walk into his room while he’s practicing magic tricks. Henry still draws traps and mazes and puzzles and “machines.” I have folders full of “machine” drawings from throughout the years. He loves any kind of game that he can create – usually out of tiny pieces of paper. I find tiny pieces of paper with itty bitty drawings daily.
Our boy enjoys soccer, basketball, water skiing, wakeboarding, snow skiing and running. He’s had one soccer goal and he’s had several assists. He’s growing more confident.
He’s learning to push his limits and he’s ganging some grit along the way.
This boy stole my heart the moment he was born and I constantly say he changed me as a person. I instantly grew up the moment he was placed in my arms and I knew that this little bundle of a human needed me…he was counting on me…on us.
It’s funny, as he plays and runs and talks I can still see that little baby face. I can still remember his first ultrasound picture and I swear he looks just like that black and white photo to this day – the way his chest puffs out – it’s just…him. I don’t know, there’s just something about it. The way he runs is reminiscent of his toddler days, and in a way, his trot is the same, too.
The itty bitty boy he once was is just as beautiful as the young man he’s becoming and watching him grow is the biggest honor.
We love you more than all the stars in the galaxy, my love.
As always, take this year nice and slow.
You’re my heart walking outside my body. Take it slow…take it slow and take your time growing, but as you grow, grow with integrity, love and utter happiness.
Mom and Dad