Some things are oddly reminiscent of that March 3 years ago... I am 9 months pregnant (again!), it's overcast and chilly outside although spring is teasing us with a warm day here and there as well as more rain showers than snow, and I am in a fog. I have no idea what day St. Patrick's Day is (last year we brought Robbie home from the hospital on the holiday and Rob wore a green shirt, I forget if it was intentional or not but it's what I think of when I see one specific picture of him holding a tightly swaddled 'Robbie burrito' that day). I only know it's coming up soon because irish soda bread and cabbage displays have exploded all over the interior of Whole Foods. I am once again preparing a hospital bag and trying to stay on top of household chores 'just in case' labor is about to strike. And I've finally begun to see expiration dates on food items in my refrigerator that extend beyond my due date.
However, for all the similarities I just listed, so much of life is completely different now than it was 3 years ago. When Robbie was born he gave me the gift of becoming a mother, and Rob a father. What a profound change and turning point that is in life. There's no preparing adequately for it, and there's no describing it. Apart from my salvation in Christ, and the gift my husband gave to me of unconditional love and a forever commitment in marriage, becoming a mother and journeying into parenthood with Rob is the best thing that has ever happened to me. It has been hard, nearly crushing at times, but so rewarding and life giving and has revealed more of who God is to me than anything else.
3 years ago I was a much more selfish person, had no concept of the weight of responsibility that comes with bringing a child into the world, and saw Rob only as my husband. I now know the depths of self-sacrifice that motherhood can take a woman to (voluntarily and involuntarily!), I have been at times nearly paralyzed with fear by the idea that my children depend on me for their very lives and well being, and I see Rob as the protector, provider and leader of our family, not just of myself. My admiration for him grows daily, with each evening he spends wrestling and chasing the kids before bedtime, every book that is read and lock of Ellie's hair that he brushes, with every opportunity I watch him seize to lovingly discipline our children, and every grace he extends to me when I am spent and exasperated and just plain high maintenance. Robbie's birth made us a family and his life has been one of the main catalysts for personal and marital growth.
That's not even to mention what an amazing little guy Robbie is, in and of himself. Aside from all that God saw fit to do through simply bringing him into the world, He also blessed us with all that he created Robbie to be as a boy. He is the source of so much joy, love, and energy in our home. He is thoughtful and intelligent, and has a sensitive heart and an awareness of others that I pray translates later in life to compassion. He is focused and calm overall, although the age he is right now has brought its fair share of tantrums and impatient moments as well as the need to run in circles at times to burn off energy. I can't wait to see what his true personality is as he continues to grow up, develop, and level off emotionally. I have a sneaking suspicion that he will be a lot like his dad - even, constant, dependable, sensitive but not overly emotional, considerate, intelligent and thoughtful... with a great sense of humor. Only time will tell, but I'm not wishing these days away.
Robbie, our greatest prayer continues to be that you will seek God and come to know Him at an early age, trusting Jesus Christ for your salvation and growing in your love for Him every day that you live. We pray that your life is marked by a desire to serve God and that you bring honor and glory to His name by the person you become and the choices you make. We pray that you hunger for God's Word and hide it in your heart. We desire so many other good things for you, blessings that only God can choose to give to you - both tangible and spiritual - but ultimately trust that whatever His plan is for your life is not only good but the best. We continue to practice in our hearts the incredibly difficult discipline of giving you back to God. You are first His child, then ours... entrusted to our care for a time, but forever held by the hands of the Heavenly Father who created you, and had a plan for your life before the world was ever spoken into being by Him.
You are a miracle, an undeserved gift, and a blessing that continues to be poured out in the life of our growing family. I hope you always know how special and loved you are.
Happy Third Birthday, Robert Jack!