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Monday, January 11, 2010

What's in a decade?

So much can go into a decade. More than I ever imagined. A decade ago tonight I was in labor with my oldest son. Excited, scared, and in awe of the amazing ability I was given to grow a baby in my womb. I had no idea at that moment how my life would change and grow with this baby boy.

Every year on the eve of their birthdays, we tell our boys their birth stories and look through the wonder of their first year and sometimes beyond. Their stories are magical to me and they treasure hearing them each year. As we look through the tremendous growth of that first year from a completely dependent infant to a toddling boy with a scrunchy face grin I am reminded of the gift parenthood is in my life. I look at the innocent face of my baby boy along side the naive faces of his parents. We had no concept of the joys or challenges that awaited us.

I sometimes wish I could say I am always the parent I planned to be, but reality is a much richer picture. I hope that our mistakes and missteps, along with the moments we get it all right, will teach them that none of us are perfect, yet we can continue to strive for excellence. Acknowledging our mistakes, learning from them, and growing stronger along the way.

I realized a decade ago as I labored to birth my sweet walkingstick that giving birth and raising a child is so much about letting go, a lesson I revisit daily. So often as parents we want to hold on to and protect our children and that is very much a part of the process. But we must also let go enough so they can take those steps into independence. My biggest struggles as a parent are often at this juncture when they are ready to step and I have not yet let go. I try to see each little bit of independence as a letting go, in hopes that it won't be so hard when they leave the nest for good (although I'm observing from friends with adult children that they often return when you least expect it!). I'll let you know how that has worked in another eight years. Yipes!

Tonight I am letting go again as my sweet boy becomes a ten year old. I had no idea it would be so hard and yet I am so proud and amazed by the boy he is today. Kind, intelligent, insightful, and curious, yet still full of attitude and oblivious at times. When I can honor all he is I also honor all I am.

I celebrate this decade full of hugs, kisses, giggles, tears, struggles, growth, celebrations, and loss. My life is richer for having shared this decade with my darling boy.

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