Today my Asher Beau was looking down at his little man legs and said, "My leg hair is like a man's. I am going to be a man one day, and when I am a man I will work with hammers on cars. I will have kids and a wife."
"Really?" I asked, "And will your wife make good food for you and the children?"
Without missing a beat he responded, "No, I will make dinner."
"What will you make them for dinner?"
"And what will your wife do when you are working on cars and making dinner?" I asked, truly curious.
"My wife will give me kisses," he said. And then, with sparkling eyes, he laughed.
Beautiful and perfectly fine by me. Can you imagine a better job description, ladies?
But... what happened to my baby? I blinked and he grew up! Then again, if I'm going to be honest with you, this child practically walked out of my womb fighting for his place in the world. He is, after all, a third born son.
At merely two he fought us tooth and nail about his place in our family's birth order. "I'm the biggest" he'd demand. "No," his father would tell him, "Caleb is the biggest, Brody is the next biggest, and you have the biggest heart."
To no avail, he'd yell louder, "I'M the Biggest!" Inevitably Matt would show him a picture of the boys lined up, pointing out that, indeed, he is the smallest. "But...", his Dad would say again, "you have the biggest heart."
When Asher turned three he started telling people that he was five. I'd overhear the conversations and remind him, "you're actually three." After awhile he started introducing himself like this, "I'm Asher and I'm five... but I'm actually three."
How sweet the stories are, and what dear memories they make. That said, I'd better hold them close to my heart, because of all my children Asher will be the first to fly the coop and rule the world. But today he is still three...
In five days my youngest son turns four. He's practically counting down the minutes to his Lego Party! And so I hold tight to the seconds that he tosses aside, as he ascends the ladder to manhood.
One very special memory-making tradition we enjoy each birthday morning allows us all to hold tight for just a few moments together, and remember the past year before celebrating the one spread out before the birthday child.
As we wrap up our special breakfast of cinnamon rolls or pancakes and bacon, we each give the Birthday child "THE GIFT OF WORDS." Each brother, as well as mom and dad, says a special blessing to the birthday boy. The boys are still so young... let's be honest here... they usually melt down into a pile of giggles instead of composing earnest, life-giving blessings, but I imagine the words of praise and encouragement that will flow from their hearts in the years to come.
When Caleb turned 8 a couple of months ago we were in Texas with my in-laws, and so they got to take part in this special family tradition. Caleb stood beside the table and went from family member to loving family member around the oblong dinning room. It was glorious to watch him. I could literally see his heart swell with love and pride within his chest as his Nana, his father, and his Papa spoke words of praise into his young life.
But, as I said, most of the time it looks more like this...
Here is Asher, giving his "GIFT OF WORDS" to his Big Brother, Brody this past fall.
Once again, let me point you to author Sally Clarkson, and her book "The Mission of Motherhood," where I gather so many of these life-giving ideas as I raise my children.