So last night at about 10 pm-ish, I realized that four years ago, I was going into labor with Drew. Four years goes by so fast. Yes, Drew was born today at around 5:17 p.m. after 19 hours of a pretty predictable, text-book labor, minus a few little things…(but that’s another story.) Lately I’ve been thinking back to the times he was an infant, and looking at him now and realizing how far he’s come. I’m kind of bummed out that he’s changed so much so quickly, but at the same time, I’m encouraged, because there were times in my life where I really doubted if I had what a took to be a parent. Here we are, four years later, and he seems to be a fairly well adjusted kid, he’s pretty smart, he’s compassionate (and cute, because, you know, that’s important) and he’s all in one piece. As I look back lately, I’m not thinking as much about Drew’s milestones and achievements, but how much I’ve learned as a parent, and of course, how much I’ve yet to learn. It’s only just recently that I’ve begun to feel a little more confident in my abilities to be a decent parent, maybe even a good one. I definitely have my days, and moments I wish I could take back or do over, but without those, I wouldn’t be learning anything. I try to remind myself that all parents make mistakes, sometimes big ones, but (most of the time) they can be fixed, they can be learned from. It’s okay, and even a good thing, to ask your own child for forgiveness when you’ve blown it. I’ve learned that it’s more important that you lavish (good) attention on your child than be a strict disciplinarian (because, usually, if they are getting the time and right type of attention they need from you, they’re less likely to misbehave.) I’ve learned that when I yell, I’ve lost control, and my kids know it. It accomplishes nothing, except for belittling the children I love, and swallowing my own mind with guilt and self-loathing. I’ve learned that Drew and Beau and this one growing inside are so much more than my responsibilities (because, yes, there have been times when I realized that is how I was thinking of them,) they are people I really love, so much I would die for them. Thinking about that when they are really testing me, puts things into perspective.
My prayer for Drew in his upcoming year is that any damage I may have done as a faulty parent would be repaired, that our relationship with one another will grow stronger. That I will be a more understanding and compassionate mother, one who encourages his interests even when they drive me crazy. One who spends time with him, even when I would rather be doing something else. One who nurtures his intellect, who fosters learning and creativity. And that anything I may have missed, I will either become aware of, or will be covered by another important adult in his life.
So Happy Birthday, Drew. You are so special, and I love you so very much, and I hope that I show that enough that you never have to doubt it.