I don’t really have words to express how I feel today, a decade after my first son, Ethan, was born. I could give a detailed birth story or I could explain how much my life was changed by his presence and how quickly I grew up, but to an extent every mom’s life changes at the birth of her first child, and she quickly realizes how immature she was before the babe arrived.
Instead, I just want to express my thanks on this day when I tend to be nostalgic, weepy, and so unsure how to feel.
I am thankful for every moment I have spent beside Ethan. I am thankful for his buzzed head, how he likes to snuggle with me still, and how he cares for people when they are hurt or feeling bad. I am thankful for how he cries when I cry, how he takes forever to eat his dinner, and how he spreads joy throughout the house with the sound of his loud voice. I am thankful for the quiet when he reads a book and the excitement on his face when the story comes to a close and he finishes the last page. I am thankful for how he rambles on and on about trucks, tractors, and other various construction and lawn equipment. I am thankful for how he has grown, his hair has gotten darker, and he has lost a few teeth. I’m thankful for his perseverance through moving away from friends twice and his excitement to make new friends. I’m thankful he is generally honest, even when it means he gets in trouble.
I am thankful for God giving me Ethan. He was loving enough to see the mess I put myself in, the rotten decisions I made, and to grace me with the mercy of a beautiful baby boy. I am thankful he has grown me and strengthened me even when I couldn’t see the bigger picture and only saw it wasn’t easy. I’m thankful he decided Ethan would be good for my parents, myself, Ethan’s dad and family, and Tyler and Tyler’s family. He knew Ethan would be just the thing to stretch and teach us all about life and love. He knew Ethan would show us how to love unconditionally and self-sacrificially and how to get along even when we didn’t want to.
I am thankful for all of the people who have supported us along the way. I am thankful for those who have prayed for Me & Tyler, for Ethan, and for Ethan’s dad. I am thankful for my parents, who paid way too much money and gave all of their hearts to Ethan from the moment they knew about him. I am thankful for Tyler, who has always treated Ethan as if he was his own son and yet respects Ethan’s father and Ethan’s desire to know both his father and step-father. I am thankful for those who loved my parents and all of Ethan’s grandparents in unsure or unideal times. I don’t even know half of the people who have given and loved for the sake of my son. It overwhelms me to think of that much being poured out for our benefit. I am thankful for all friends without kids (or with kids) who have adopted Ethan as a sort-of son/nephew. You have made an impact on this boy. It wasn’t me alone. I am sure of that.
As we head into Ethan’s next decade, one day at a time, I know there will be more and more people who interact with his life and love him. I am thankful for God’s continued provision for my family, every single person, those blood related and those not. I hate to see how fast we’ve made it to double digits, but I love to reflect on and enjoy the decade of grace we’ve been given.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11