Happy Birthday to my Wee Man

Editor’s Note: My mother asked me if my blog was dead … it’s not, but it’s been a season of sowing my words in other places (Missionary Mama, (in)courage, and I hung out my shingle as a freelance writer). Most nights when I come back here I am spent from generally living life like my hair is on fire. And sometimes, it’s difficult to write again about the groundhog days of parenting. But I do have some things to tell you, and this, this space is my first love, and my favorite, and so, I promise I’m coming back. In the meantime, I’ve got birthday letters to write.

Dear Wee Man,

I’ve been thinking about you all day. Clear as day in my foggy mama brain is the moment I saw you, the moment I knew my world never be the same, when they held you up and I saw before they could say that you were a boy. Thinking about the moment I fell in love with a boy that wasn’t your daddy, an all-encompassing, different kind of way to love a little man.

You’re seven now, certainly not a baby but still immersed in superheroes, little-league, legos, and make-believe. You love dogs, you love baseball, and  you and your brother are inseparable, but Darling Girl has you wrapped around her pudgy pinkie. Your favorite book is Dogman, you are obsessed with legos, and you are displaying signs of an engineer. And still, all day, I was thinking about raising you to be a man.

The Bible talks about the men of Asher, mighty men of valor, chief leaders, warriors.  And yes, we pray those words over you, our son, but you need to know that warriors don’t always fight with guns and swords. Valor comes from the Latin valorem for “strength, moral worth.” It is displayed in the face of something designed to crush it. It is gallant bravery and strength. It is honor plus dignity and courage.

Mighty men are humble, respectful, and know the value of a person. Mighty men know that dignity is inherent in the Imago Dei, not conferred by circumstance or privilege. Mighty men are compassionate, and fierce in the face of injustice, evil, and suffering. Mighty men fight, for the gospel, for the poor, for the widows, for justice. Whether you fight with word, deed, or weapon, son, I pray you fight.

Mighty men have powerful emotions, and tears are not anathema. Along with great love and joy comes sadness, anger, and even fear. None of those emotions make you less of man, my son, but more.  Mighty men know the value of friendship, like David and Jonathan, another warrior whose name you carry. My son, you bear the hallmarks already of determination, courage and steadfast love. You are a fierce protector of your sisters and a kind and loyal friend. You have a servant heart. You’ve got big feelings yes, of joy, and anger too, but you are working steadily to name them, channel them, and control them so they cease to control you. And truth be told, they are some of my favorite parts of you, these moments of irrepressible joy. You are affectionate and unashamed of your feelings, and oh how you love your mama. I’ll take what comes with them any day.

So we will march forward, shepherding your tender heart in the way of the gospel, praying over you, raising you to be a mighty warrior, a strong leader, a man of valor. And you will know, for now and always, how much you are loved. And nothing, in this life or any other, will take our love away.

Happy Birthday Wee Man.