Are you ready for the line? “How are you two already?!” Okay, now that that’s out of the way I can move on. (But really though, how has it already been two years?) Yet as I said to your sister in her birthday letter I struggle to remember a time before I was your mommy. I think part of it is I struggle to remember a time when it was so “easy” because I only had one kid to take care of. But there is more to it than that. Yes, you do bring the crazy, but you bring so much more that makes it hard to for me really recollect a time before you.
As I have said so many times before, I love our story. I love the things you have taught and continue to teach me. I love that you have made me into a better version of myself. I love that with you every victory is sweet. I love that God knew just what I needed, even when I didn’t, and He sent me you.
Everyday I am melted by your cuteness. From your little voice to your quirky “Braxton-isms”(this shirt in the pictures really should say “My 2” because you don’t say “I” or “I am”. Its the best.), from your oh-so-kissable cheeks to your big blue eyes and toothy smile, to the way you mimic everything your sister says and does. You are really so stinkin’ adorable. And it is a good thing too because you like to test my patience. There is something about you as you try to get under my skin that has instead has just found you a permanent place in my heart. You have stolen my heart actually. I now completely understand what people mean when they talk about the bond between a mother and a son. You are my boy. And oh, I am so beyond glad that you are! You are an amazing little person. You are more affectionate than any other little boy I have ever known. There is nothing in this world like a Braxton hug. It has been known to snap me out of a funk as quick as your pudgy little arms are around me. And then there are your kissy lips. You do not believe in kissing anyone with any less than a full, fish lipped pucker and on any place other than smack on their kisser. My new personal favorite though is when you ask me to dance with you. I pick you up and we dance cheek to cheek, and you whispered to me the other day “My have secret. My wuv you.” I died-right there, in the middle of the living room with Chris Mann echoing from the stereo in the background.
The thing about you though is your love is never a secret. I think that is so fabulous. I have always wanted to raise a boy who was not afraid of his feelings and was not afraid to express them. I hope this continues to be true of you. I know that a big part of whether or not you continue to be aware of what you feel and free to express it is how I react to it. I try to encourage you to feel things. (I am sure it will help to have two sisters!) and I try not to shy away from your big expressions of emotion. I think I said it in a previous letter to you; you do everything big. You feel big. You love big. You get angry big. You get frustrated big. You get happy big. You get sad big. There is no middle ground for you, and while at times that can be challenging-especially when it comes to a two year old, I love that about you. I know God is going to do amazing things in and through you as you live life big.
One verse that I pray for you is Joshua 1:9: “Have I not commanded you, be strong and courageous? Do not be terrified. Do not be discouraged. For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you will go.” It is my prayer that the presence of God in your life will enable you to be courageous and strong enough to face into who you are, who God made you to be, and live big for Him. It takes great courage to be who you are, especially when who you are as a child of God is contrary to what the world would desire or expect from you. Braxton, I pray that you will have the courage to learn and accept the truth and then stand up for what you know to be true. I pray that you will have the courage to respect other people and treat them as you would want to be treated. I pray that you will have the courage to be a man of integrity who is deserving of respect. I pray that you will have the courage to be a deep feeler, to be affectionate-because that is who God made you to be. It is such a stigma that men are not supposed to be in touch with their feelings and that they are not supposed to experience fear. Not only is it a stigma; it is a fallacy. Joshua was one of the bravest leaders in Israelite history and God still had to command him not to be afraid. Obviously Joshua was experiencing some fear, terror even. I think this verse can be a source of comfort and strength for you as you face into life as a boy and eventually a man. Part of the courage Joshua needed was courage to face into his feelings so he could acknowledge his need for God. Do not shy away from your feelings, but do learn how to channel them to honor God. I pray that you will be a man of strength. You sometimes call yourself a “big strong man” and flex your muscles. This is something you started even before you could walk. As funny as it is to see you do that, I pray that you will not merely be a man of physical strength but a man of spiritual and moral strength. It is my heart’s desire for you that as you grow that you will be a man who is not strong in his own strength, but strong in the Lord. I pray that you will recognize your God given strengths and weaknesses and not be afraid to say “(God’s) grace is sufficient for (me), for (His) power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) I think it takes true courage to make such a statement.
I think one of the best examples you could follow when it comes to this is someone you are already very much like, someone who is living life in front of you everyday-your Daddy. He is a man of great integrity, love, hard work, care and courage. I hope that someday you can be as wonderful a husband, father and man as your Daddy. I know you have it in you and I am excited to see the amazing man you will become.
These past two years God has given me such an incredible gift in being your mommy. Sometimes I feel as if I was not a “real” mommy until I was your mommy. I am thankful that God has used you as a tool to mold me into a better person. You have stretched me in ways I didn’t know anyone could. And I love you in ways I have never loved anyone else. My heart swells to bursting with love for you, my precious boy. I love watching you learn and grow. You talk almost constantly now. I love to hear what you are thinking and experiencing. Having conversations with you is one of the highlights of my life these days. Life is truly so much better with you in it. I am excited about our years to come and what else God has planned for you and me, as part of our story, my B. I hope so strongly that our relationship is one than can withstand what life throws at it and instead of you growing apart from me, that our relationship grows stronger. I know it may be unrealistic to hope that you will always love to hug and dance with your Mommy. Yet I hope that just as you carved out for yourself a permanent residence in the depths of my heart, that I too can have a spot in your heart to call my own. And I hope that even when you really are a big strong man that you will always be my boy who comes home to my arms.
I love you more than these simple words can say, my B. I hope my life reflects the deep love I have for you, and in my shortcomings I hope I can point you to Christ-who will never disappoint you or fail you.
Happy 2nd birthday, Braxton Boy!