This morning we woke up early, just you and me and went up the mountain to watch the sunrise. The very top of the mountain was thick with fog, so we went as high as we could and watched the world wake up and the massive dark pink sphere rise slowly above a layer of clouds. I watched your small face, full of wonder. How is it that you are eight today? Steadily growing, taller, more curious and independent, faster than my heart can catch up with. I remember the day I met you, this new, screaming, little creature. I felt like such a child myself. It was an indescribable feeling, your tiny body curled on mine after almost 24 hours of labor. There was so much joy and awe.
With the knowledge of you came this strange new emotion of worry. I'm sure I'd had a few worries but they paled in comparison to mom-worry. While pregnant, I worried that I would lose you, then once you came, I'd worry if you didn't make enough noises while you slept, then when you learned to walk I'd worry that you would smash your head or swallow something. And on and on it goes; more independence, more challenges, and more worry. How far should I let you ride your bike? Should I let you go to the public restroom alone? Will you be kind, will you remember your manners, will you be a rebel, will you be bold and fearless? Will you see Jesus in me despite my failures? Will you always be so forgiving? When will you be too old to want to lean on me and listen to me read to you?
You've got a pretty good dose of your Papa in you so I'm thinking that worry for me won't be ending any time soon. Before I know it you'll be asking for keys and dreaming up adventures like your daddy, of hitch-hiking through Europe and motorcycling through Mexico. Lord, have mercy. But that's okay because I am learning and growing right along side of you, my little man. I'm learning to surrender this illusion of control. I have not and will not arrive in this area. But I can try everyday to let go a little. I am forever amazed that a holy, perfect Savior holds you and that he chose me to be your Mama. What an undeserved gift you are. I love that I get to guide you and hold your hand on this journey. Whatever you become someday, and whatever you choose to believe, I will always be a safe place for your heart. May every prayer I've ever whispered over your infant self, now little boy and prayers for the man you will become, follow you with blessings.
As we sat with faces to the sun this morning we talked about our favorite things from your seventh year, and I let you open your present, a camera. I told you how photography inspires me and helps me notice beauty through the lens, how pictures can tell a story and drag out good moments. I'm excited to see through your eyes, and can't wait to help you make your very own photo journal. I loved watching you so excited taking the first few pictures of the rising sun. It was a lovely way to start the day, snuggled close to you in the chilly morning air.
I always let you have the day off from school since I can't stand to be away from you on your special day. We went to breakfast, which included chocolate cake, with the family and mostly played outside since the day was full of blue skies and sun. You sketched in your new sketch book and made Harper laugh, chased the girls around and talked to the horses at the Nature Center. I think you took about a thousand pictures:) You look so big to me today as I watch you, with all sorts of memories floating around my head. As the day ended you smiled big and thanked me and said I was the best mom ever. I love that about you, how you gush with love and don't hold back. On your birthday we always discuss your future plans. So this year you informed me that when you grow up you want to be an art teacher by day and spy by night. "I think that is a fabulous idea," I said. I think you are the coolest kid ever. Let your light always burn bright, Juden Blaze. Happy birthday, precious son of my heart.