"Nonsense. Young boys should never be sent to bed. They always wake up a day older, and then before you know it, they're grown." -J.M. Barrie
Surely it was yesterday that we brought you home from the hospital. Father's Day 2012 to be exact. In your little lion knit hat, a lion embroidered onesie, your dad and I drove away from the hospital and we knew it then--we were setting out on the biggest adventure of our life. But wait, sweet boy, the reality is that actually, now you are turning five. And as much as I hold tightly to the memory of you as a newborn, the truth is, you haven't been one for quite a while. That summer was a magical one. The three of us tucked inside our well air conditioned home, the dogs gently licking you from time to time, the cats curious but content; it was the summer of lazy days, long naps, and cuddling on the couch whenever we wanted to. We didn't have a care in the world, and I can't remember a more simple season than that one.
It all changed of course once your sister was born. You were a mere fifteen months old, just a baby yourself in my eyes. I remember when you ran in to the hospital room with your Gg, you were so excited. You wore a 'Big Brother' shirt and I snapped some very blurry shots of you loving on your new sis. You of course won't remember a day without her, and while I think I barely will either--I do cherish the times it was just you and me. I love her, of course! But the first fourteen months of your life was just all about YOU. Watching you learn to sit, crawl, walk, run, your first time in a pool, you meeting 100-year old Gram, your first foods, sickness, teeth. Gosh, now it is a blur but at the same time, it feels like a movie reel replaying in my head and heart constantly. Nothing was wrong at all once we were gifted with our Reese, but suddenly you had became bigger, and when we brought her home, I realized how having my second baby made my first, you, seem so grown.
In Shauna Niequist's devotional, Savor, which I received on Mother's Day of this year, the first devotional for me to read was May 13th's and she said this about her son:
"I see flashes of Henry's future face all the time in him...and because he's on the tight rope walk of little boy and big boy. Yesterday at his kindergarten screening I saw both of them--the little boy and the big--in alternating moments. He was shy and proud; he was uncertain and full of swagger. He was little and he was big, right in the same day, in the same moments."
Hello, tears. Pierson Clive, I see in you daily, the little and the big. You are brave and strong, yet you want your mama close by often. When you trip and fall and the tears stream down your face, I scoop you up and embrace you in my arms. Your long legs spill over mine and I fear the day that you will be too big to sit in my lap. (Some days I wonder why God couldn't have created me to be taller JUST so you'd seem little a tad longer?) I've had to press pause while writing this over the past several weeks, yes, weeks. I can't seem to find the time to sit and consistently type longer than a few minutes or so, and honestly as I write, I just can't stop crying. I'm currently wondering if other moms my age ever experience this, what I'm feeling. I am so proud of you, yet at the same time, it feels as if my heart is literally breaking as I know you are hitting a gigantic milestone, and getting so very big.
Currently we are on vacation in Gulfport, Mississippi. We drove ten hours to stay at the beach for a week, and it has been the most amazing thing watching you swim in the ocean, diving head first in to the shallow waves, being an awesome big brother to your little sis. While walking back to our hotel, we all witnessed a car blow out two tires and come to a skidding stop on the shoulder across the street. It was pretty traumatic for both you and Reese, and while your dad walked over to help the frazzled driver, you asked me to pray aloud and ask Jesus to help the man be okay. You guys wouldn't stop talking about it, even though I tried to reassure you that everything was okay. "I just need to go to a quiet place when we get back to the hotel, Mom. I just need to talk to Jesus alone and ask Him for help." Sure enough, the three of us walked into our room and you put your shoes away, quietly shut the bathroom door, and I listened with my ear against the door to hear your sweet voice speaking to Jesus. You prayed so sincerely, confident that Jesus would help this man. Your dad and I could not be more proud of the boy you are; one who runs to your Creator when you are frightened, one who believes that He can fix all things.
Your little and your big, I can see both. Your childlike innocence and faith, I have watched it grow exponentially and am in awe of you.
I have to remind myself that you are turning five, not fifteen, and absolutely not twenty-five. We have a long journey to walk together, many more memories and moments while you are yes, still little. You aren't a baby anymore and you're not a toddler; I think now you're officially a KID. Somehow five years have come and gone. The little lion baby that we brought home from the hospital has turned into a child who loves to draw, color, write, and read. Your small hands love to create and your heart loves to love. You tell me all the time that you love everyone, and that you can feel your heart getting bigger because it just loves "so many people." You remind me a lot of childhood me, Pierson; if you can't tell, I feel things so very deeply and it's very evident that you do too.
I pray that with your feelings, I can help you sort through them with strength and stability. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed with love for you kids that I think surely I'll pool up and melt right into the ground, but I'm not sure that's exactly rational. I hope that you continue to chase and rest in Jesus and that when I let you down and disappoint you, you'll be able to feel His arms. Pierson, thank you for being my boy. My first born. The child who first made me a mama. The one who always wants me, who wraps his arms around me, who tells me that he loves it when I wear dresses. Thank you for being mine.
Here's to five [and many more!] years, Buddy. These five went by so quickly, and if you remember them at all, I pray you'll remember how loved you are. You're my big little guy, P Man. And I love you to the moon and back.