Eleven years ago, I was a very pregnant twenty year old, first time Mother. My toes and fingers looked like sausages. My legs and ankles were double their normal size. My belly, stretched to the limit, as it safely cradled my first born child. Little did I know that I would soon be hooked up to monitors and medications as we forced our son out of the safely of my womb and into this, at times, harsh world. Jacob, born June 3, 1997, weighed 6lb 9oz. Eleven years later, he's about 80 pounds heavier.
To read about what led up to Jacob's birth and his birth story, please visit this page.
Tonight, I sit here remembering the ride of parenthood I've been on over the past 11 years, my emotions wash over me. Bittersweet is one word that pretty much sums it up. Knowing that my son is just seven years away from graduation, being an adult, and could quite possibly chose to move out from under our wings, has my heart feeling sad, honored, humble, and very scared. So tonight, I'll spend some time remembering some of the wonderful things we've experienced together the past eleven years.
My handsome Son,
Tonight, as I sit here thinking about the past eleven years, tears stream down my face. You have changed my life in so many ways. I know you can't remember much of your early years. I, however, do. I remember the fear of the unknown. The uncertainty of being a young married couple of just 19 months and adding the pressures of parenthood on top of it. The anxiety of what I was about to have to go through and how it would change my life. I remember the crowd of people who gathered to be with Daddy and I while I was in labor. The several family members that joined us for your birth and shortly thereafter. I remember your Uncle Mike being there waiting to meet you, biting down on his first finger as I labored through contractions. I remember the look in his eyes the first time he saw your face. Eleven years later, Uncle Mike still doesn't have children of his own. Maybe watching you come into the world was enough to scare him out of fatherhood. (I hope not!! Since he just got engaged, maybe he's warming up to the idea of a little "Mike" running around)
I remember your Daddy's Niece, Lorene, meeting you the first time (and breaking her ankle while she was off chasing your Uncle Mike up and down the hospital stairs while I was in labor). Here she is, expecting her second baby boy just three days after your birthday. Daddy's other Niece, Wendi, is in the hospital today having her first baby. So many little ones born around the same day you were.
I remember feeling so proud knowing that your Daddy and I created such a handsome, healthy baby boy. You were perfect. I remember being honored that the Lord chose us to be your parents. We were so overjoyed.
I think back through the years and remember all of the things we used to do together. One of the memories that stands out is taking you to Uncle Mike's baseball games. I remember packing every single thing I thought we might need over the next two hours, cramming it all into a tiny Winnie the Pooh bag. Well, it actually was quite a large bag, just overstuffed with unnecessary items. Your playpen, toys, food and even the little bottles of lotion and baby wash went with us. Looking back, I laugh at how much I over prepared for our outings. I realize now that I had so much to learn.
Through the years, you were our only pride and joy. Just two months before your third birthday, you became a big brother. You have been a fantastic big brother over the years as you've watched us bring home your four siblings. You amaze me at how loving and nurturing you can be to them. Of course, sibling rivalry rears it's ugly head at times too.
The first day you started school was another life changing event in our lives. It was the first time we had to learn to let you go. Bit by bit, you have pulled away a little further from us. This past year, we have watched you enter middle school. The transition was been rocky at times. You're learning your own way, making many of your own choices, and dealing with the consequences that result from those choices. You've talked about classmates having girlfriends, had your heart broken when those who you called friends turned their backs to you, and have suffered hurt feelings after you've been picked on by others. With each passing year, you have grown and we, as parents, have grown too.
As we all travel on this journey and approach your teenage years, we strive to raise you to be a respectable, self sufficient, honorable young man. It has become obvious that you have a strong will to speak your mind as well as express just how much you know, that we don't. We want to encourage you to continue with your strong will and voice your thoughts as long as you remember to be respectful and understanding. While we won't always see eye to eye, you can always rely on us to love you unconditionally, forever.
So tonight, Jacob, my hopes are that you may have another year filled with wonderful memories that last a lifetime. I pray that you will always feel our love pouring over you. May you always know that you can come to us with anything, about anything, anytime.
Thank you for being you. Thank you for teaching us even more new things over the past year. Thank you for doing all the things you do that make us laugh, smile and even cry. You continue to amaze us each and every day. We love you, Jacob.
Happy 11th Birthday, Buddy.
Mom & Dad
** I just found this in one of my older journals:
Wednesday, April 20, 2005: I love it!! I just heard the kids playing (the boys) and Jacob said, "This is the fire truck that takes people to the hos-ti-ble"
1 week ago