I've been sitting here for the last hour or so reading back over some old posts from the night you were born and your first and second birthdays. I love to see how much you've changed and what we, and others, said to you on those special days. I've had tears pouring down my face as I look back over your little life. I'm so amazed by you, Derrick.
This has been a very life-changing year for you and you've handled it like a champ! Here are just a few of the things that stick out to me the most:
Becoming a big brother is a BIG deal, and I have to admit, I was pretty nervous about it. Boy, did you prove me wrong! You have been such an incredible big brother. We've had a few moments here and there, but they've been so small and so infrequent that I almost can't even think of times when you've appeared jealous. You love your sister, and you have from the very beginning. I had no idea how incredible it would feel to see my children love each other like the two of you do. It ranks right up there with one of the best feelings in the whole world. I hope that the two of you continue to be best friends forever.
You are such a big boy now. You love to help daddy, and you've really started to get interested in helping me in the kitchen. You'll clean up messes when you spill things (although they're not to my liking...but I know, you have to learn somehow), and you really watch out for Jenny Kate and her habit of eating everything she can find. You'll say, "Mommy, Jenny Kate's eating dirt (or whatever random object she's found)." It feels like in the past few weeks you've really made the transition into being a little boy.
You have such a big heart and you are so, so sweet. Watching you interact with other kids just makes my heart melt. You are very kind and concerned with your friends' feelings. Last night when we were shopping you made some weird noise and said, "Me and 'Efin' made that noise when we were at Nona's house." (Ethan and his family came down from NC for the HBH golf tournament and you, Ethan, and JK stayed with Nona during the tournament.) "You did?" I said. "Yes, and I made Efin feel 'com-fa-ble' when we were at Nona's house," you replied. "Efin is my friend." Buddy, hearing you say that made my day. I love how much you care about other people. I love that you're a "nice" boy, and I really, really hope you stay that way. As you get older, being the "nice" boy won't always work in your favor, but I promise that it will in the end. I need you to trust me on this one. Your kindness and big heart will take you far...keep it!
While you are a super sweet guy, you are most certainly not free from the tantrums and bossiness that comes with the 2-3 year old territory. You will push me to my limits, on purpose, just to try to make your point known. You'll scream and wrinkle those eyebrows in a heartbeat when something makes you angry, but that's part of growing up. I know things will get way worse before they get better, too. That's ok, though. I'll take it. I know you're trying to figure out your place in the world, your feelings, your opinions, and what you can and can't control. These fits are definitely part of our everyday life, but I'm still standing by what I said. You are a sweet boy, and while I really hope you cut back on the tantrums, I really hope you keep that sweetness!
We signed you up for preschool a few months ago. You won't start until August, but August seems to be getting here way faster than I thought it would. I'm so excited to watch you experience this next chapter in your life, but boy does it make me want to hang on to you and keep you home with me forever instead. It seems unreal that it could be time for that already. Daddy and I felt very comfortable about leaving you there, and after watching the kids play for a little bit (and convincing you that we weren't leaving you there right then), you warmed up a lot and you've even talked about going several times since then. I know you'll do well and I'm sure I'll cry a lot more about it than you will. I'm excited to meet the friends you choose and how much more independent you become, but it really is a reality check about how much you've grown up. It's kind of bittersweet....but I'll be ok, I promise. :)
You've gotten really into singing lately. We have some adorable videos of you singing and you love to watch them. You'll actually agree to sing for the camera because you enjoy watching yourself so much! You still enjoy the music super LOUD and if we really pay attention, we can hear you singing as we drive down the road. You're about two beats behind, repeating every word you've just heard. You have some favorite songs and you know a lot of the words to those. Last night you were walking around the kitchen singing, "God's not dead he's sir-we a-wive. Wor-wing! Wor-wing! Wor-wing like a lion!" (God's Not Dead by the Newsboys) I love that you like to sing, and I especially love to hear you sing praise music. Your little voice is so precious!
I want to wish you a very, very happy third birthday, Cheeks. These three years have been the best ever, and I wouldn't trade a single second of them for anything. You are such an inspiration to me and you have taught me so many things about this life. It's because of you that my relationship with Christ has deepened, and it's because of you that I've learned to treasure those seemingly little moments in life. Snuggling with you, watching you play with JK or your friends, seeing you ride your bike for the first time...they are all moments that remind me how precious life is. We don't take moments with you for granted. There's nothing here that's guaranteed to be here tomorrow and we want to take advantage of what we've been given. You've taught us that's what it's all about. I can never tell you how much I love you, but I pray that you can feel the love that I have for you. I love you so much that literally, I can feel it in my veins. I am so thankful that God chose me to be your Mommy. I'm so thankful that he has loaned you to us to love and to learn from. You are an incredible blessing, but you have been incredibly blessed, too. You'll never be a "normal" kid and I'm sure that there will be times in your life where you see that as more of a curse than a blessing. But Derrick, you are so blessed. You have been given a chance and it's up to you to make the best of it. There are way too many kids like you who aren't here to celebrate their third birthday, and I want you to remember that. I don't want you to think about it to feel guilty or bad in any way, but to remember to be thankful. Be humble. Know that you are a living, breathing miracle and that it's only by the hands of God that you, or any of us, are here. I pray that your life can bring others to know God's power and His love and that you boldly share that with people all throughout your life. Happy birthday, buddy.
I love you to the moon and back...
Happy Birthday buddy! You already know that Mommy is way better with words than I am, so this will be short and to the point.
I honestly cannot truly remember how life was without you. I love being able to watch you grow (albeit very slowly) and develop your own opinions. You really are a very caring person and that makes me so proud. Like mommy said, being a caring person will not always work in your favor. You will get hurt, but all those you have cared for will help get you through. I love that Jenny Kate has you as a big brother. I know she will be "bigger" than you soon, but I know you will always be the protector.
I have to again thank you for changing my life. My walk with Christ was nowhere close to where it needed to be. Having to hand you over to a surgeon and not being in control made us give control to God. I would change your "special heart" in a second if I could, but your heart made me give mine to God! It is my hope that we can provide a nurturing, God-loving home for you and your sister to grow up in.
I absolutely LOVE hanging out with you. You are so funny and energetic. I love that you are singing with me now (we aren't that great, but its OK). I love putting you to bed when you FINALLY calm down and we rock. You like helping me when I have Papaw's truck. I am pretty sure you have two career paths right now. 1) Lawn Care, 2) Pest Control. You love Papaw's lawn mower and constantly ask when he is bringing it over and you used to love your sprayer until it broke.
You make me laugh, you make me cry, and you make me smile! I love you buddy!!!
You are such a special kid!
Happy birthday buddy!!! I love you more than you will ever know!!!f