Your labor started at 3:00 P.M. and ended exactly twelve hours later.
At 3 months old you started going to sleep at 8:00P.M. and waking up exactly twelve hours later. Every day. For the next 14 years or more.
When you were about 4 months old we took you camping. You just sat in your little car seat and stared. You were happy. You were content. You listened to the birds. You studied the mountains. You sniffed at the pine trees towering over your head. Your tiny little face revealed a curious boy, even at that age. You were beautiful and quiet and sweet. You had a smile that could melt cement.
Later, as my first student in our little home school, you were quite the challenge. If I heard the following questions once, I heard them a thousand times:
"When are we going to start school, mom? I want to start school."
"Can we please have a schedule?"
"Look mom! I wrote out a schedule for school. Can we please follow it?"
" I don't like starting school at a different time every day. Can we do a schedule?"
"Would you please check some more books out at the library for me? I've read this stack."
"I need more of a challenge in school. This stuff is too easy."
"Can we please follow a schedule?"
"Look what I built!"
"Look what I made!"
"I just read this book-listen to what it's about!"
"Would you teach me how to.....?"
I guess you've always been an "exacting" person-precise, disciplined, curious, driven.
It was very hard trying to keep one step ahead of you and finally I gave up. I simply handed you your school books and said, "Here. Go for it."
And you know what? You did it. It wasn't always easy, but you thrived and learned and grew. The most wonderful part of being your mom was watching the Lord grow ever more important in your heart. If you would've had a face like cauliflower you could've melted my heart just because I saw Jesus becoming your Love. Your passion. Your Hero.
I am so incredibly proud of you. You are an amazing person...ever challenging yourself, your parents and the people who meet you or know you, to grow. Grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord. Learn. Think. Reason it out.
You've helped me become a less emotional/more logical thinker and have helped me learn to laugh at myself. You've listened to me share my struggles as I grow in the Lord alongside you. You've put up with my constant need to rearrange furniture and have patiently helped me hoist, lift, and even decorate.
The other day you said something that I think will be settled deep in my heart forever. You and I were talking about all kinds of things; I think some of it had to do with the things you've shared about the Lord at the athiests' meetings at school. I said something like, "Benjamin, do you ever wonder what it would be like to see an "It's a Wonderful Life" version of your life? Just to see how many lives you've touched and how many people you've led to the Lord?"
It was your reply that took me completely off guard. You said, "No. What I wonder about are the 2 babies you've lost. I wonder what our family would be like if they would've lived. I wonder what they were like. Were they boys or girls? I think about that at least once a month."
Of all the things you do-being a full-time college senior, working full time, sharing your faith, studying the bible, learning Greek, etc. etc. etc. that was the very last thing I would ever imagine you think about. That statement really touched my heart. I always think you're too busy to "notice" our family. That your life is "out there" now. When you said that it told me that you still feel, very much, like you are a part of our family. Does that make sense?
I absolutely can not imagine life without you and your brothers in it. The Lord has used all 4 of you, as well as your dad, to bring joy, healing, and wholeness to a heart that grew up with a shattered family.
I like you.
I love you.
I need you.
I enjoy watching you grow and mature and learn.
I respect you.
I'd like to say that most of all, I'm incredibly thankful for you and your brothers.
Happy 22nd Birthday, Sweetie!