Three years have passed since I began this parenting gig.
March 28 was the big day. This birthday has been, by far, the most anticipated one yet. He asked daily if he was three yet, if he was a BIG BOY yet. Because that's what we told him.
When you turn three, you're going to be a big boy and are going to have to go potty like a big boy.
Yes. The dreaded potty training that started and stopped and has started again, once an for all. And darn it, he'll get it one of these days.
Not long after his birthday, Jude says, almost sadly "I'm still little Mommy!" Yes, you are little, but you are bigger than you were yesterday! And then he says, "I'm still growing." Yes, you are.
"Are you growing, too, Mommy?"
I almost said no.
But the question jerked my heart in a way I didn't expect.
Yes, Mommy is still growing too. Every day. Just like you.
I remember holding Jude in my arms for the very first time. Afraid in a way, and absolutely captivated by this little person I had NO IDEA I could love so deeply. Privileged to have the responsibility of raising this little guy into a man. And truly... clueless.
I had no idea how parenthood would grow me.
How, even more than marriage, I'd see my own selfishness and pride. How I'd have to, literally, put my life aside for someone else. And I had no idea about the blessing that comes with sacrifice.
I think I used to believe that parents knew what they were doing. That there was a method to the madness and everyone did what they did and were confident in their decisions. I now know that this isn't true. Because, no matter how many kids I have, I will always be a first-time parent to Jude. He will always be my guinea pig, and praise the Lord for anything I have done right. Because there has been a lot of growing and learning and trial and error.
As I begin this journey of having a three-nager (such a perfectly descriptive word, am I right?), I am still growing as a Mama. Every day. Just like Jude. I pray that my growing involves patience and kindness and all of the other fruits that I daily lack. I pray that I grow in dependence on God and confidence in Him and the intuition he gave me as a parent.
I see how Jude has changed me from the person I was three years ago. For the better. So much better. Not because it was easy. If anything, it has showed me how, at the very core, we all need Jesus.
Happy THIRD Birthday, my sweet boy Jude! There is no one else I'd want as my first boy.