Where do I even begin?
Well, today is easy because I have been grateful for this kid every single day since the day he was born 11 years ago, so I guess you could say that I have been feeling gratitude roughly 4,017 days (I think this includes leap years)!
Wow, so I guess I’ll begin at the beginning …
I don’t believe I can adequately put into words how my heart simultaneously broke and was yet overflowing with love the day that my oldest son was born. I know I have shared that story here before but, I think a small recap might be in order.
My son is adopted and his birth mother is my sister.
The emotions I felt that day at finally being given the chance to be a mother and yet watching my sister’s heart sever in two are virtually indescribable. The gut-wrenching feeling of watching my sister literally give me a piece of herself was something that I will never forget. Nor can I express my love and appreciation for her in a way that will do justice to the depth of those emotions.
There came a point at which I was faced with the decision of whether or not to stay and comfort her or step into the role of motherhood that awaited me. The choice was clear, and although it destroyed me inside to do it, I went with my newborn son and left her sobbing on the hospital bed.
Since that time, not a single, solitary day has passed that I do not honor her sacrifice in my heart and hug that boy close.
Today is his 11th birthday. I can hardly believe how greedy time has been as it has robbed me of my baby. In that baby’s place now stands this handsome boy. You cannot blink, our you miss it all. I knew this going into it and was determined to never miss a moment. And I haven’t, I have cherished every one … even the difficult ones.
For instance, the day he was diagnosed with Asperger’s (you can read about that here), I thought my heart would literally rend itself in two thinking of the challenges that he would face in his life. However, we have both learned to embrace his differences as a part of who he is and find the way in which those challenges give him strength. We often say he has Asperger’s, blue eyes, and blond hair, so what!
He is a testament to what it means to overcome your worries. He is a pillar of strength as each new test comes his way, tears may be shed but, still he holds his head aloft and forges onward undaunted. He knows who he is and he doesn’t let his weaknesses define him. On the contrary he teaches me on a daily basis what it means to be accepting of oneself, to love oneself unconditionally, and in the loving of oneself he has mastered what it means to love others.
We have a large bathroom mirror, much larger than the three of us need to get ready, so I purchased some colorful dry erase markers with which to make notes. My notes are usually platitudes about finding that inner strength and love of self.
The other day he had written, “Don’t forget to fill others’ cups today and everyday.”
And do you know how he manages this? He is secure in who he is, quirks and all. From that well of love he reaches out to others and loves them unconditionally, flaws and all.
I know this first-hand, because for some reason God thought I was worthy to be his mother and I thank him for that opportunity every day. My son fills my cup to overflowing.
Happy Birthday, my son, my love … my life … my heart!