Monday, March 8, 2010

One Year Later

My sweet, precious Ethan:

Today you are a year old. Everyone told me how quickly the first year would pass and I've learned that there is so much truth to that. The very thought of you overcoming so many obstacles in your first year brings tears to my eyes. Some are sad tears because you had to endure any of that in the first place. Many are happy tears because not only did you live, but you THRIVED, through your first year. Most of the tears, however, are proud ones. Ethan, I am so proud of the strong little boy you are already becoming. I am proud of your resilience, your demeanor, and how unstoppable you are.

Before you were ever born, your Daddy and I prayed for you. We waited for, what seemed like, a really long time to find out that you would be joining our family. While you were growing in my womb, we prayed for you. We prayed for you towards the end of my pregnancy when we learned that there were concerns with your development. When you were born, and we learned that you did, in fact, have an underdeveloped arm, we wept over you and prayed. We cried out to God hours after your birth when the doctors discovered that you also had a broken heart. We pleaded with Him to spare your life and to let us keep the baby we so desperately wanted. Throughout your nine and a half week stay at Duke, through all the worries, fears, and complications, your Daddy and I prayed, as did hundreds of others. We continue to pray for you, and we rejoice over you.

Ethan, there are times I feel like God didn't necessarily answer all of those prayers the way I wanted Him to. When I begin to think that, I stop and realize He gave me exactly what I wanted. For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to be someone's mama. God gave me exactly what I wanted when He gave me you. You fill my life with deeper meaning, and with a joy I had never experienced.

You have taught me more about passion, love, forgiveness, fear, and peace than any other life experience. In just twelve short months, you have taught me what it truly means to rely on our mighty God, and you've tightened the bond between your Daddy and me. You've helped me realize that some things in life just aren't that important, and I'm learning to focus on the things that are.

Regardless of the battles you've fought this past year, you are here with us. You are alive and well! You are so full of personality and I can't help but imagine that you'll grow up to be as funny as your Daddy. You do not let your physical limitations restrict you in any way; many people who meet you for the first time are surprised to learn that you even have a special heart.

I have no idea what the future holds for you, sweet boy. My heart aches at the thought of subjecting you to more pain, more surgeries, more hospital stays. I can't tell you whether God will allow you to remain here on Earth for years to come, or if He'll decide to take you back home. What I can tell you, though, is that whatever comes our way, through the good and bad times, I will be with you. Ethan, I love you so much it hurts. Your life has meaning deeper than I can understand.

So on this day, your first birthday, I can promise you that I will celebrate you today and everyday. I will love you more tomorrow than I do today, and I will focus on the person you are becoming. I will pray that you grow up to love the Lord, that you are able to discover your passions and talents, and that you will not let anyone look down on you for the things that make you different.

Happy birthday, Ethan. I love you, and I am so proud to be your Mama.


Mandy said...

great post Joye! Happy 1st Birthday Ethan Kendrick Mullis!

Kim Smith said...

This is beautiful, Joye. It brought tears to my eyes. You are a talented writer and a wonderful Mommy. Happy first birthday, Mr. Ethan!

Stefenie said...

What a wonderful tribute to your little guy!

Happy 1st Birthday Ethan!

PinkPokaDot0518 said...

Happy Birthday Ethan!!!
<3 Brandee

Jennifer said...

Happy Birthday Ethan!!

Joye, what a wonderful post! I am sitting here crying as I read through it. You say everything on being a mom that I can't put to words.

Anonymous said...

Joye - thank you for sharing your letter to Ethan. It brought me to tears. I'm so amazed at Ethan' tremendous first year - he will have an inspirational story to share with others when he's old like us :)

We think the world of you guys!
The Armstrongs

Anonymous said...

For all the things a parent wants for their children, you have said it all. I know without a doubt, that my prayers for my children were not unheard when I read your blogs to Ethan. Prayers that begin in the womb, will continue for a lifetime. After all, God said He knew us before we were born. Such a remarkable journey, not only for Ethan, but you and Jeramie also.. I am so proud of both of you, not just because you are my children, but for what you are. The two most amazing parents I have ever known. Ethan will never know what it's like not to be loved. I love you my darling daughter, and I love Jeramie as the son I never had. And now he is my son. Thank you both for giving me Ethan. Grandma B

Kendra B. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kendra B. said...

Joye, you brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful post. Happy 1st Birthday Ethan!

Jen said...

Your letter reminded me so much of my letter to Andrew on his first birthday. The feelings are so incredible- to think they made it through all they have and a year has passed. What a miracle! Soon you'll be writing his THIRD birthday letter, as I just did to Andrew not too long ago. They just get better and better (if that is even possible!)

Happy Birthday to your miracle!

Jen, Craig & Andrew

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