Last night, as I was hurriedly putting littles to bed, trying to get them to quickly say their prayers, so I could finally sit down and make a to-do list for all the things I had to do for the week, Sawyer jumped onto the bed and said, "Pillow game Mama". The pillow game, which takes all of about 30 seconds, caused me to heave a huge sigh, followed by an obligatory "Where did that Sawyer go? What's this blob under the covers? Must be my pillow. Yikes, it's a lumpy pillow. Wait a second. Pillows don't laugh..." and so on and so on. He giggles, "Do it again Mama," and I oblige because I can't handle whining anymore tonight. When I finally got him to settle under the covers, we said prayers, I kissed his forehead, and turned to dash out the door, when his little voice stopped me saying, "Sing me the Sunshine Song Mama."
It was as though God had swooped in and turned off auto pilot in my brain. I turned around, remembering all the times I made my grandmother sing me that song and all the times my mom just freely sang it to me before I went to sleep. I remembered that he was going to be five tomorrow. FIVE. His brother already plugs his ears when I try to sing him songs at bedtime. He's not going to ask me much longer. So I laid next to him and sang "You are my Sunshine" until he closed his eyes and his mouth curled up in a soft little smile. It was well worth the extra 7 minutes it took to lay next to him with his chubby little fingers wrapped around my neck.
Five years have flown by, and two years ago, I finally started to "get" it. It still gives me pains in my stomach to realize that I wasted so many years of my children's lives just hurrying them to grow up. I never enjoyed the small moments and captured the memories like I do now, and it's painful to think it took that long to "get" it. Even though I'm so much more aware of the little things, I still get overcome with stress and to-do lists, and I daily need reminders to slow down.
Dan and I have had conversations in the past few months about our family and if we really think we are complete. We started our family so young that most people our age are just beginning theirs. Sometimes I get pangs of baby fever. I'd love a chance for a "do-over", but then I have to remind myself that adding another baby to our family wouldn't undo all the other years. We've both come to the conclusion that we need to seize the moment with our kids now. It isn't "too late" to be better than I was yesterday. As much as I'd love a chance to savor baby days again, I need to pour my time and energy into the littles I have now.
With that being said, here is my birthday letter to my FIVE year old!
Oh sweet boy,
Every day that passes by makes it harder and harder for me to admit that you aren't going to be little for long. You show me every single day how to love better than the day before. You are soulfully independent, and while it's hard for me to swallow the fact that you are able to do so much on your own, there are still times when I know I am needed. You make me feel so loved.
You make me feel loved when you have an owie that needs some love, and the only fix is cuddling on the chair with mom. You make me feel loved when it's my night to put you to bed, and you get all excited to sing songs and lay next to me. I feel it when you call me Mama, or when you tell me you don't want to grow up. I feel love when you crawl up onto my bed in the mornings when dad wakes you up, but you aren't quite ready for the morning, so you snuggle next to me until we've both had time to adjust to what time it is. You make me feel loved when you run up to me when I pick you up from daycare or when you tell me that you missed me. You are so good at letting me know that I'm doing a few things right as your mom.
I love looking back on your life and remembering your birth story of how you entered the world and stole my heart. I am forever changed because of you, sweet boy. I know that God has amazing things in store for you, and I'm so excited to see how he's going to use you. Most of all, even though I'm struggling with sending you to Kindergarten next year, I'm so so excited to be able to take you with me every day next year.
Happy birthday little man! I love you to the moon and back. You are my Sunshine.