I blinked. and Just like that we're here and you're 3 years old. Some people might think, "Get over it. He's turning three, not heading to college." But to this mama, 3 takes you out of babyhood and into big kid zone. You're potty trained. You're growing increasingly independent with each day. You're opinionated... and you're just not a baby anymore. My heart aches as I try to close my eyes and remember the smell of your skin when I nursed you at night, and the sound of your voice as you mispronounced things while learning to talk. I grab your soft hand and think back to when I just wanted you to be able to "walk on your own" so you wouldn't have to pull so heavily on both of my hands as you stumbled. How, silly of this mama to wish those times away.
Today, three years ago you made your wild entrance in to this world. It seems like just yesterday, and yet a million years ago. I want to relive every moment in my mind today and just ...remember. I get this way with every passing year. When I put that extra candle on the cake, my uterus starts to throb and my hormones start to flair. Ironically this year, as I thought back on where we've been (where I usually like to saturate for at least a day) a funny thing happened. For once I began to look forward. I began to think of not only what has already happened, but what is still to come. Let me tell you, the only thing scarier than a past I can't relive, is a future that I can't control. So, knowing that I can't grasp at the past and I can't control the future, I thought a safe place to be would be in the present and praying for you. I certainly have a God who hears my hearts desires and this my sweet boy is my prayer for you now for what's ahead:
I pray that your heart is always in the hands of God.
I pray that you play and laugh and learn everyday.
I pray that you know the Lord because you want to, not because we made you.
I pray you can offer us grace as your parents because we aren't perfect.
I pray that if ever you stray away from what I've taught you, that you answer Jesus' knock to come back in, eventually.
I pray that you fall down and skin your knee while learning to ride your bike at least once. There is such a life lesson in brushing you off and making you get back on.
I pray you play in dirt more than on a TV.
I pray you know how important you are.
I pray you know God has a purpose for you.
I pray you find it out sooner than later.
I pray you make every choice you can to fulfill that purpose and that plan.
I pray you always hold my hand.
I pray you learn to protect your sister, even if you're the little brother.
I pray you don't fight me in learning to cook and clean. You're future wife will thank me.
I pray that your mind and your heart are always your strongest muscles.
I pray that you are tall, because with a name like Titus, you have to be. (or hit up the weight room)
I pray that you are healthy.
I pray that you feel safe in our family to be who you are.
I pray that you will be kind and gentle.
I pray that you treat people the way you want to be treated.
I pray that you accept people right where they are and love them hard.
I pray that you will always treat girls as if remembering they are someone's sister or daughter.
I pray that you build lifelong friendships with good boys that become good men that love Jesus.
I pray that you pray.
I pray that you always know I love you, unconditionally.
I pray that as you get older you know that loving you doesn't always mean tolerating your choices, make wise ones.
I pray that you will grow into your own man while still following your Daddy's example.
I pray that you don't just "find a woman" but that you keep your eyes on the Lord and only look down, once you hear him say "that's her".
I pray that your future wife is gracious, and kind, and bold, and loving, and nurturing, and honest, and God-fearing, and as beautiful inside as she is on the outside.
I pray she likes me.
I pray I like her (for her sake).
I pray your hair never changes and it stays this luscious.
I pray you learn to express your feelings in a healthy way.
I pray you are a man that is okay with letting himself cry.
I pray you are strong in your weakness.
I pray you follow the Lord where ever he says to go, until he says to stop.
I pray you have a blast in life.
I pray that you laugh often, and so hard that your stomach hurts.
I pray that you learn from the mistakes you make.
I pray that you learn to share, and do so into adulthood.
I pray that you are rich, in the things that matter.
I pray that you lack, in the things that don't.
I pray that the bible entices you and that you absorb its truth.
I pray that you see beauty in imperfection.
I pray that you know how proud we are of you, without you doing a thing.
I pray that you will help me learn to cling tight when you need it and to let go when you don't.
I pray your first dates are short and sweet and never involve a kiss.
I pray you always value your faith, your family, and your education.
I pray that above all other things, you love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, all your body, and all your soul.
And if you haven't heard enough about my handsome stud enough already, here's way too many pictures of him. They are obviously not in order unless he has some sort of Benjamin Button thing going on. I love you Titus Antonio. Happy 3rd Birthday!