I know what this sounds like - and No, this is not about John.  That isn't to say that he and I don't feel like we are raising each other somedays, because I know we defiantly do.   This is about the almost 4 year old little man that I hope will develop into a kind and loving person and will someday, be a wonderful partner. 

Photo Credit: Chris Bland

I say often that I really don't want Brayden to grow up.  I say it so much, that he mocks me with my own statements.  He shows me his big muscles, and he laughs as he rises to his tip-toes saying "watch how big I will grow".   As much as I want him to stay little - I love the developing person he is becoming.  I am coming to believe this is one of the great gifts of parenting.  Every day is filled with pride - pride in the little person growing and learning.  And pride in our own learning and growing -  on the difficult days when we give ourselves a much deserved pat on the back for handling an in-store tantrum or refusal to eat dinner.  We deserve the self recognition for making it through.   I was visibly not happy the other day - clearly frustrated.  Brayden came over to me and started rubbing my arm and consoling with kind words.  I instantly knew that my petty frustration was nothing.  I was moved into a space of pure joy - and I thought, probably out loud, Brayden, you are going to make a wonderful husband someday.  

I spent one of my many sleepless night thinking about all of his wonderful child qualities that I adore - And I really hope he can keep them through the harshness that the world often engages us in.  I hope he can hold fast to his qualities and brilliantly overcome the challenges he may come to face. 

Photo Credit: Joanne Thyne

Laugh.  Life is only as serious as you make it.  Laugh often and life will be lighter.  Brayden's laugh has changed.  It's different then a few weeks ago - He has more belly into it and he does it more now - he is learning his sense of humor, and others too.  Laughter is so important - and this is coming from a pretty serious Mom - We laugh, but I need to interject that same principal into other aspects of my life too.  I am taking lessons from him, everyday. 

Love. Love. Love.  This kid, he loves his Mom.  I am sure all kids do.  He sometimes has a hard time reaching others because he finds comfort in the closeness of me - I of course love that.  But, I want him to not have anxiety about being away from my reach - I know in time he will, to quick I assume.  I know someday he will have that some protective comfort when he finds a partner worth sharing it with.  Until then, I will be happy to carry that role. 

Flowers.  Always bring flowers.  I did not teach Brayden this, I wish I could take the credit.  This sweet boy gives me the same artificial, potted flowers EVERY DAY.  No joke.  He brings them if I am sad, tired, happy - he looks for a reason.  He always starts out with the same exclamation, "Mommy, close your eyes.  I have a surprise for you!"  As much as girls say, don't buy flowers - they are a waste of money...  we lie.  Get 'em from a ditch or for $3.99 at the grocery store - We will LOVE them :)

Never loose that glow - the way your eyes light up every morning (ok, most mornings) ready and eager to take on the day - just wanting to know what adventures await for the day ahead.  I believe it is one of the most contagious things about Brayden (it could be all children I suppose, but I am biased).  People have been drawn to him - comments from strangers since he was just a baby - adoring onlookers of the miracle that he is - I believe it is that sparkle in his eye that invites people to want to know him.  Hold onto that, and keep close to your heart - know the world and the people in it are good.  

Children - We come from a large, large family.  Regardless if you have your own or not - be involved in the lives of children, they keep you young - they keep you laughing - they remind you of the traits that adults tend to loose - love them because they need it.  Love them because you need it too.   

Photo Credit: Joanne Thyne Stay stubborn.  That same determination you use today when you are relentless about NOT  putting your pants on by yourself - or when you just cross your arms and out right refuse to listen because you don't want to do what I have asked - keep that.  However, learn when it is appropriate.  There are times when sticking with your convictions is all you can do - you take a stand and don't budge.  But, it is also important to learn to pick your battles in life.  Compromise, when used appropriately, is very powerful - sometimes hard at first, but you catch on.  You are inherently stubborn and a little controlling - that's ok, you  have good intentions, you come by it naturally (and so do I).   Just remember that delivery is key - you can hold your own and be respectful in the same moment.  I heard once that one of the most important journeys we take is when we meet someone half way.  

Love your Super Heros.  Right now, as you round 4 years of age - You love Super Heros - who can blame you, they are pretty awesome.  You love when they defeat the bad guys (a role that is often filled by Mom).  You love that they are big and strong - and look forward to one day being just that, big and strong.  You love your dinosaurs still - this phase has been going on for several years, and for me, it never gets old.  You love to read and to learn.  Keep your curiosity - and keep loving the little things.

Photo Credit: Chris Bland

Last, but certainly not least, always lean on your Mom.  I don't mind, really :)