And then you were nine.

Dear Tofer,

It’s hard to believe we have spent a decade together.  Sometimes I want to go on a rooftop and shout, I survived! But though the temptation to pat myself on the back rises up, I know it was only with God’s grace I was able to make it this far.  I pray daily His grace helps me continue.

You see, in the first post of this more than week-long countdown to your special day I made mention of what a gift you were to me.  And it’s so true, Tof.  You still are that gift.  But it was not always easy.  In fact, it was harder than I’ve ever felt comfortable talking about before.

You, more than anyone, would know–though you didn’t understand as you were only a wee babe–how very alone I was.  How very afraid.  And though I’ve painted a pretty picture these last few days, you–more than anyone–would know the times were not always as beautiful as pictures on a screen would have people believe.

You bore much of the brunt of my anger and frustrations.  You, a blameless precious baby, on the receiving end of my selfishness.  The words I was always meant to be a mother can ring true, and yet the actions can show such a different story.  I wanted my own life, free from responsibility.  A baby does not allow for that.  And while many think I did a stupendous job, I know the truth.

I know the pain of regret and of sorrow of time wasted.  So often at night I can’t sleep when I allow my mind to wander to those first few years of our life together, and like a dagger in my soul I wish it could have been so different.  I would have done it so differently.  So much better.

No, it wasn’t all terrible.  We had our good days and our amazing moments. But much of it is marred by a very sinful girl trying to figure out a mess of a life she allowed to be created and you born into.

I am so grateful of how far I have come, not on my own accord but on the great mercy shown to me by the God I hope you too will serve one day with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.  Without Him, Tof, I don’t know what I, or we, would have done.

You have been such a shining light in my life, little man, even as this has been a tough year where again you sometimes see sin take more control of me than I would like.

You ended second grade on SUCH a high note getting awards from all your teachers!  You played on a Little League team for the first time and was selected to be on the All-Star Team.  You continue to take piano lessons and are enjoying playing around on your Fender electric guitars.  I am so glad you still love music as you have since you were just a toddler!  It’s how I know it really is your God-given gift.

Third grade has been HARD and yet, to our surprise, you made it onto the Scholastic High Honors honor roll!  More importantly, you were on the Citizenship Honor Roll which will always mean more to us than any academic achievement because it shows you continue to demonstrate the Fruit of the Spirit to your teacher.

Much to your father’s delight, you now love the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and even indulge him by watching some Dolphins game even though the only thing you really care about are your beloved Mets and when you get to watch them again.

We continue to have so much fun together–summer days in the pool; tickle monster fights on the bed.  Your love language has always been quality time and though I often let tiredness or busyness win and tell you “I just can’t” or “I have something else I need to do,” I’m glad that more often than not I remember to be grateful that you do still want to spend time with me and I let everything else fall by the wayside.

Because the dishes in the sink, and the clothes that need to be folded, and even a blog post swirling in my mind don’t have the eternal value that spending time with you will.

Christofer, I continue to be so proud of you, the choices you make, your desire to read the Word consistently, and simply of who you are.  I daily–or at least I try to remember daily to–thank God for allowing me to be your mother.

I don’t deserve you or the happiness you have brought me, and yet God allows me to have it.  Thank you, Lord.

I pray you have the best birthday ever and with all the more seriousness I pray this is the year you will be saved.  Sometimes Daddy and I think you are, but we just don’t know for sure.

I pray you continue to make good choices and work hard in school.

I pray and I hope with every fiber in my being you will always know the love I have for you.  I am always here for you, little man.

Always.

Happy 9th birthday, Christofer.  It’s been an amazing journey.

You are amazing.

Love you to the moon and back,

Mommy

DSC05107{Tofer; on the morning of his 9th birthday}

Eight.

Simple post today:

I’m linking back to the post I made for my boy’s eighth birthday last year–exactly one year ago today.  It was a time of deep reflection on this journey called motherhood.

Reflections on the eve of my son’s 8th birthday.

Remembering.

My heart is heavy today.

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Lord, forgive us.

Siete.

For Tofer’s 7th birthday I made him a video of videos showcasing his growth from about Age 1 to present-day. {Why I did not think to take videos of him as a baby, I don’t know!}

When I posted it on Facebook on January 24, 2011 I wrote: There aren’t many mothers that would post a 12 minute video of their son and expect people to watch it. But I feel that’s what makes me so special. Happy 7th birthday to my little boy~I hope your dreams stay big and your worries small. I love you, Tofer!

LOL, well it still holds true.  If you watch this 12 minute video, bless you. 🙂

Age 6.

This is a re-post of a note originally published on Facebook on January 24, 2010.  For the remainder of the big Countdown to 9!, I’ll be sharing what I shared on those actual birthdays.

This was entitled: a note for my son.

Dear Christofer,

Much to your father’s dismay, you proved to be much like you’re mommy from the very beginning. Your due date came and went; yes, you were late. I imagine you, like me, found a cozy spot to snuggle in and there was just no point in coming out. But alas, what is meant to be must be, and on January 23rd at around 7 in the morning when I woke up to liquid-stained sheets, I had a feeling you were ready to join us on the other side.

I called Daddy. Of course, he would have just arrived at work which was over an hour away. Seeing no point in rushing, I told him to stay put and I’d call him with updates. Man, I was feeling great! This labor stuff was easy. I took a shower, washed the sheets you dirtied (:P), and made calls.

At around 10 A.M., I started getting pains. Wow, this is it? No sweat! But within an hour, I realized this would be no leg wax. So I called Daddy and told him (well, probably yelled but hey, love records no wrongs) for him to get home immediately.

Called the doctor and headed there when Daddy arrived. 1 cm!? You mean this thing isn’t ready to come out!?!? I was told to go home and wait. Daddy and I grabbed some Wendy’s (natch). I could barely eat. We decided to head to the hospital. We checked in….hours later, still only 1 cm. And I was told to walk. I’m sure the words coming out of my mouth were not very nice, Tofer.

We decided to walk around, but after just a little bit of that I really, really (REALLY) could not take it anymore. We went back in. Did all the normal hospital stuff of hooking me up to an IV and machines. Yeah, my contractions were intense, but no other progress was being made. They decided to check me in.

I’ll fast forward through the boring parts. You know, like when your father drank cherry coke in front of me and I wanted to rip his eyes out. Or when your Daddy was sleeping like a baby (no pun intended) and I…..was not. No, no need to re-hash those details. (And just as a side note, Tof, while I’d never advocate drug use for YOU, if your future wife ever requests the epidural during labor [or, you know, a cup of vicodin with a splash of vodka], I beg of you–please oblige her!)

Well, multiple issues occurred and the end result was decided–you needed a little assistance in coming into this world. At this point, I wouldn’t have cared what they did–I just wanted those two days to be OVAH.

It was so cold, Tofer. I was a shivering beast. I was nervous, but knowing “This is it” was an amazing feeling. 1, 2…3–it’s a boy! Mommy and Daddy wanted it to be a surprise! But when Dr. Kim said that, I looked at your Daddy–“It’ a boy? It’s a boy?” I was beyond thrilled that my secret wish had come true–a healthy baby is all I ever wanted first, but a boy was the icing on the cake! They cleaned you up, and Daddy took you to show you off. At that moment, he took one of the three final names we had chosen for a boy and named you. He said he would know which one to pick when he saw you. And I now know too you could be nothing else but Christofer–Christ-Bearer.

The next six years have been a world-wind, little one. A good world-wind. You were sick on and off those first few months. I spent my first mother’s day in the ICU; no one had prepared me for that part of motherhood! But God’s grace and mercy is shown in different ways. Had I not gone through that, I would not realize how good He really is. Because months after of being this skinny, sickly baby, you were a chunk–a fat butterball of cuteness. Every milestone was all the more sweeter.

Tofer, it’s been great watching you develop. You’ve grown in leaps and bounds. You’re slowly coming out of your shyness shell. I see you becoming a true little man of God.

This morning we prayed–and I meant what I said, Tof. I pray that as you grow older you will realize your need for a Savior. I pray you will want to serve God all the days of your life. I pray health and protection over you. Any mother would pray no different.

I hope I can give you everything you need during your sixth (actually seventh) year. And not just the material things (though you like that very much). But I pray you will see me as a Godly woman and as someone you can talk to. You are my little buddy. And I know we’re not supposed to really be “friends” with our kids, but Tofer….you’ve really been on of my best these past few years.

I love you, little man. And your Daddy does too. And though life isn’t always grand, I know our little family is all we need.

I pray you have a sweet birthday. You’re going to have lots of parties, and I pray you will remember all the family and friends that love you sooo much.

But, Tof…they will never love you as much as I do.

Happy 6th birthday!

Love,
Mommy