My dearest Carson,
I don’t know why, but FIVE years old seems like a pretty significant milestone. It’s a little bittersweet for this mommy! Birthdays are a time to remember births, and I can still remember yours with a clarity that warms me and gives me chills at the same time. Did I have ANY idea what we were beginning?! NO, I did not! But I would relive every second of it in a heartbeat. I had no idea how much work a baby would be. How hard nursing would be. How tired a human can possibly be. How naughty a toddler could be.
But I also had no idea how special those middle of the night feedings would be. I didn’t know how strongly I could love another human being. I didn’t know how proud I could be of the littlest things you did, like roll over or bring a spoon to your lips, and now an even greater pride when I see you show compassion and respect to others. I didn’t know how quickly and vastly my priorities would change–or how little that would bother me.

During these last five years, you have kept me on my toes, kiddo! You can bring out the strongest emotions in me: I swing from feeling ferociously angry at you to blindly and instinctively protective of you–sometimes within a matter of moments! You have taught me. So. Much. You have challenged me and directed me and humbled me.

Your love has bettered me.

I was recently asked to share in front of a group of women, and my first thought was that almost every significant life lesson I could share has been a direct result of becoming a mother. Most people talk of a person who has refined them and challenged them as being older and wiser.

But you, my Precious FirstBorn, have refined me. In your mysterious ways!

My heart is so FULL of pride for you and all you have accomplished and become in your short life. You are such a delight to those around you! You are fun and funny, kind and thoughtful, smart and smart-alecky.

You have a temper that flares and a mind of your own, but it is my earnest prayer and determination that these traits of yours will serve you well. I already know that you are a loyal friend and protective brother, and I can see your strong personality leading you to continue in these traits as you set an example for your siblings. I pray that you will use that iron will to stand up for what is right–even when no one is standing with you.

I love that you enjoy figuring out new things and seek our approval when you have conquered an obstacle in life. There will be so many obstacles, some that we cannot help you with, but I have confidence in your ability to overcome. I love seeing you thrive in school and other social situations where you positively shine! You are destined to become a great leader.

This past year you asked Jesus to live in your heart! You did it all on your own, praying that important prayer in your pj’s right before bedtime. Of ALL of the dreams and prayers I have for you–and there are SO MANY!–it is my heart’s deepest and greatest prayer that you will continue to seek, to know and to walk closely with our Lord.

We have a bedtime routine now where Dad gets you all ready for bed and I read you some stories and lay down next to you for a couple minutes. Sometimes I’m tired and think I might want to cut that time short. But then we have such wonderful talks, laying there in the dark, and I know realize how much I cherish it! I picture you in 10 years, hiding out in your room doing your own thing, and I think about how much I will LONG to lay next to you and have you tell me about your day. How many more months and years will I be able to snuggle you like this? How soon until you think I am uncool and not want to talk my ear off all day and night? Oh, it makes my heart hurt just thinking of it!Well, I’m warning you now: no matter how old you get, you’ll still be my baby. My PFB. And I will remind myself to cherish every SECOND of your year as a five year old and appreciate all the big and little ways you enrich my life. So I hope you didn’t mind that I stayed a little longer tonight at bedtime, and held you a little tighter. Because, you see, I can’t wait to see the person you are growing into, but I also sometimes want you to stop growing! I love you so fiercely, sweet boy.

You are my heart!