Well, it's between the hours of 4 and 6 am, so I am wide awake as usual. Baby girl has the hiccups. And I have heartburn. And since I can't sleep anyway, I thought I'd write. So I'm tucked into the rocking chair in the nursery with a blanket, reflecting on my Drew bug. And as always, I can't even begin to think about all that he is without the tears and fierce mama love and emotion beginning to rise to the surface.
My forever firstborn baby. Those moments of him coming into the world, stealing my heart, and changing the course of who I would be for the rest of my life are sealed into my memory for always. I'll never forget being so, so tired, Shaun sleeping in the fold out sofa next to me in the hospital room, Drew sleeping in my arms. And I knew I should be asleep too, but I just couldn't stop my eyes from tracing and re-tracing the curves of his cheeks, his silky dark hair, his sweet little almond eyes. And realizing I would lay down my life for this tiny soul I barely knew yet. Oh my goodness, Drew Elisha, you had me from the very beginning.
So who are you now, baby? You are six. You are six, and I don't know where the time has gone, but I haved loved every second of getting to know who exists within that precious little soul of yours. You started school this fall. And it was so hard to let you go. But you are more than surviving it, you are thriving. And I am so proud of you. Those first days of kindergarten when you would come home and I'd ask who you played with at recess and you'd tell me you went down the slide a few times and then sat in the shade underneath of it because it was too hot outside I wanted so desperately to come to school and help you make friends, to pull you out of your shy observation mode and let everyone see the beaming light of personality within you. But I had to let you do it on your own. And you have, sweet boy. You have and I am so proud of you. Now you come home and tell me about the games you make up and your friends play with you on the playground. Being dinosaurs and chasing the girls (how in the world is THAT happening already?!?!)... you have transitioned from observation mode into the little leader that is within you.
When I brought your cupcakes to school for your birthday and you didn't know I was there yet I got to just watch you. Raising your hand to answer questions, highlighting the words on your page as you went over them, then bumping into your friends' shoulders as you passed them to wash your hands, whispering I don't know what to them and making them laugh... The treasure that you are to me is immeasurable. The joy and bittersweetness as I watch you grow and spread your wings is deeper than anything I've ever experienced before, and more than I ever thought possible.
That beautiful, radiant smile. Never ever lose it. It is contagious and perfect and transparent and so full of life. That is truth, and you need to believe it.
The mama bear in me wants to protect you and that precious smile from the world. But I know the Lord will teach you to be strong in the face of those who try to steal your smile and shame you into holding in that joy. Jesus make my baby strong. Let that beautiful light shine from him no matter what is said to him by others. Help him believe the truth about who he is.
Drew lost his first two teeth... Bottom center, one in August just before school, one in October. He didn't want us to pull them, they just fell out on their own. He was so proud!
This boy is so perceptive. I was working the other day and he came into my office and told me he was thirsty. I cupped his face in my hands and said goofily something about how I was thirsty too, and that his cup was upstairs on the counter if he needed to go get some water. A few minutes later he was slowly walking back into my office, carrying not just his cup, but a cup of water for me too. And that sweet little close lipped smile was on his face as he set my cup on my desk. I totally melted inside at his thoughtfulness.
I was cleaning the kitchen one night and I forget what even happened, but he was aggravating Isaiah in some way and instead of just telling him to stop from a distance I came and set next to him and pulled him close to me and told him that I was hurting, that cleaning the kitchen and being on my feet right then was hard for me with a baby in my belly, and that I needed him to be a kind big brother while I finished up. The next thing I knew he was getting a wash cloth out of the drawer and running water on it to wipe down the table for me. When he finished that he asked what else he could do to help. He not only heard me, but he reversed roles on me and did his best to try to care for me. It is a regular occurrence for him to thoughtfully bring me a blanket if he thinks I'm cold, or try to help me up if I'm on the floor playing with them. He helps best when he's not told, when the idea comes to him all by himself. Those moments blow me away. I cannot believe his sweet and thoughtful heart.
And of course sweet boy, as much as I adore that angel side of you, you are also a six year old boy. And you come home from school full of pent up energy from trying to be good all day and practically tackle Isaiah the moment you walk through the door, and I have to occasionally drag you off of him, and then you say the word poop about 5,000 times throughout the remainder of the day, since you've been holding that in all day too. And to a six year old boy there is apparently nothing funnier than the word poop. I secretly kind of love it, but of course tell you that you probably should just refrain from saying it at the dinner table, because that's what moms do... they try to teach you manners even when they think your lack of them are slightly (or incredibly) hilarious.
That serious face. Ahh!! You try so hard sometimes to hide your deep emotions behind a serious face. You often turn away or bite your tongue when you are particularly happy about something. And you cover your face when you are hurting too. Just know, my baby, that you never ever need to hide your emotion and your feelings from your heavenly father. It is ok to be seen. You are loved so completely. There is nothing you could ever do to lose the love that is in my heart for you.
I love to watch you build legos. You carefully open your instruction book and follow each step, sorting through pieces, picking up the right ones in your sweet little fingers, attaching it just so, until you've made the back hoe or battleship or airplane you set out to make, and then you proudly drive/sail/fly it from room to room showing everyone what you'd built. You have such a gift as an artist too. I can't believe the things you draw, your creativity at this age. When you learn to draw something new you will draw it over and over and over again. Two of your favorite things to draw right now are turkeys and sharks. The other day you drew candy canes just to show me you could. You come home with coloring pages from school that you drew all over the back of... penguins and peacocks and crabs and all kinds of things... I love your artwork more than you will ever know. When you are particularly excited about a project you did at school but didn't get to bring home yet you will make it over again at home just to show me what it looked like. You made two little construction paper turkeys from cut out feathers and googly eyes, using a glue stick to carefully attach everything together, and you made them as Christmas gifts for your brothers. The idea was all yours. You love to reproduce your works of art so that everyone in our family has a copy of what you made and love.
You are learning to read, and you are doing so well with math. You stay in green or blue for your behavior every day at school and you always make me guess what color you got at the end of the day. It is so fun to come through the car pool line at school and see your little smiling face coming out of the building and toward our van. I hope you are always excited to see me that way. It was so, so hard for me to work today while you were off school and home with me. I wanted to spend the day with you painting those Christmas ornaments we've been talking about. But I'm done working now baby until after your baby sister gets here. And I can't think of anything I want more than quality time with you and your brothers over this next month and a half before our family dynamic changes again and I am needed around the clock so completely by a newborn again.
I think your relationship with your baby sister is going to be so incredibly tender and special. I am so excited to watch you with her. Isaiah is practically your twin best friend that you can't remember life without and you treat as your equal. Jaden is littler enough than you that you nurture him and teach him more and try to still carry from him place to place (even when he is resisting). And the age difference will be enough between you and baby girl this time that the nurturing side will come out even more in you. I can tell by the way you try to hide your smile when we talk just how excited you are for her to be here. :)
Oh sweet boy, there is so much more I could say. When you read these words someday, I pray you are filled to overflowing with the knowledge that you are loved and treasured, that you always have been, that you always will be. That you are a gift this world desperately needs. That you are fearfully and wonderfully made. That who you are is more than enough. That the gift of leadership and creativity within you is for a purpose. Jesus make my boy strong when I can't always be there with him. Lead him gently and protect his heart. Help him freely pour out his beautiful personality and that contagious smile.
Drew, even when you stop calling me mommy and switch to mom someday, even as you grow up and become more and more independent, even as change is sure to come, one thing will never change. To me, you will always be that precious, sleeping baby in my arms, with the soft little cheeks that mesmerized me then and still do as I cup them and look into your eyes now. One day you will grow taller than me. One day I will look up into those brown, almond eyes instead of down. But you will always be my firstborn. You will always be fiercely loved by your mama. You will always be my baby.