Dear Little Boy: Your First Birthday

Dear Little Boy,

I've been thinking a lot about this letter and what I want it to say. I feel like it’s an important one because it's the very first of your birthday letters. I wanted to write it about a week ago so I could read it to you on your birthday, but here we are on April 15th at 10:30pm just beginning to put everything down on paper. I realized I needed to see you before I wrote it. I needed to hold your little self in my arms and breathe in your sweet smell before the words would come to me. I'm glad I waited, Little Boy, because even though you won’t get to hear these words on your actual birthday, I think they're the ones that really needed to be written both for now, and for some time in the future when you need a reminder of all that you are capable of.

When I first sat down to write this, I talked a lot about all the new things you were doing, your new tricks, and how insanely cute you are. I love those things and will remember them forever but I don’t want to write them here. Little Boy, I’m in a pretty tough season of life right now. Things are hard and I can’t fix any of it like I desperately want to. I’m having to go back to a painful past and deal with things I’ve tried really hard not to deal with. And the reason I’m telling you this not very happy stuff in your birthday letter is because I want to be honest with you so one day you can be honest too.  

Little Boy, I have an anxiety disorder. Every day is a battle between the ugly lies in my head that scream all the ways that I will never be enough, and the small, quiet voice that waits it’s turn to cover the painful wounds those lies cause with truth. Sometimes the days are sunshine filled, and the demons stay quiet long enough for me to have coffee with a friend or write some words that make me happy, and other days are dark and I find getting out from under my covers to be impossible. When my mind is holding me hostage I look at the life I’ve built so far away from you and I can’t see anything but failure. I see debt, aimless wandering, purposeless-ness, and broken pieces. In the midst of this darkness, I curse myself for not having my life together, for wasting everyone’s time, and most of all for not running back home the second you were born so I could spend as much time as I possibly could learning who you are. Every mile of this distance hurts, Little Boy. Now as I get ready to move even farther to a new state for a new adventure, I think it’s time to tell you why I’m not on the first plane to having you in my arms.

My biggest hope is that you have the courage to explore every facet of who you are so you can be the youest you there ever was. I want you to be boldly, fiercely, fearlessly you in every single way. I want your heart to be wild in its rhythms, I want your mind to be untamed as it rests fully at peace in the freedom of contentment in who you are. I want you to be you.  

This finding yourself process is really hard. It’s painful, exhausting, scary, and uncharted. But Little Boy, every time I want to quit, every time it gets too hard and I think about coming home, I think of you. I think about how when we’re together, I want you to see someone you’re proud of, someone who chased her dreams down even though every step scared her to her core. I want you to be able to look in the mirror and see these same things in yourself. I pray that someday when you’re doubting your courage or your strength, that you find this letter and realize that even now, even though your whole body tips the scales at a whopping nineteen pounds, you’ve already moved mountains. You’ve inspired an entire future. You’ve changed a life’s course. In one year you’ve had more impact that you will ever be able to imagine.  

Little Boy, this alone is reason to never doubt what you are made of. To never for a single second doubt what you can achieve. You are mighty, you are brave, you are able, you are good. In your first year without even trying you changed everything for the better.

Happy first birthday, dear Little Boy, the world is so much better with you here.

Love,

Aunt Jo