Six years ago, your Daddy and I nervously found ourselves in the labor and delivery unit of the hospital where you would be born. We didn't know when you would come, exactly, but we were so eager to meet the baby who had been keeping me up at night -- by both your kicks and punches, and the uncertainty of your health. Of course, we knew nothing about your heart at that point, but we fervently prayed that God would safely bring you into our world. He faithfully answered our prayers and the next morning you came quickly, with a fierce determination that hasn't relented in the six years you've been here.
Tomorrow, we will celebrate all that those years have held for you -- the accomplishments and the challenges, the good days and the bad, the joy and the despair. We will remember your first days in this messed up world, though it be painful. We will thank God for allowing you to remain here with us and we will never cease to give him glory for how far you've come.
I hope you'll remember this once you're older, but a few weeks ago our family had the honor of attending a fancy event to raise money for the American Heart Association (or, "for special hearts", as you put it). You were, by far, the star of the show and the story of your life impacted hundreds of people that night. Ethan, I want you to know those first, heartbreaking days of your life have propelled change and enacted laws. They have offered hope. They have been specific places on our family map we can point to and say, "God was there. And there. And there. And here." Nothing is wasted, Ethan. God can take even the ugliest, saddest moments of your life and use it for good -- and he already has. As your mama, I look forward to seeing how he'll continue to use you and your story for his glory.
As you get older, kids can be a little more mean, questions can be harder to answer, and feelings can be more difficult to sort out. My prayer for you is that you will continue to face your days with the determination and optimism that you've had ever since you were a baby, knowing that the Lord is with you and has gone before you in any circumstance you may face. He is so good, Ethan, and the best decision you can ever make is to know him deeply and intimately. Your daddy and I, and even your friends, will let you down many times in this life, but God never will!
My prayer, as your mama, is that I will not hinder the good work the Lord is doing in your life. There are many times I want to minimize your vigor and strong-will, but I'm often reminded that those God-given qualities have served you well up to this point, and that he has woven them together, with all the other things that make you unique, to create something beautiful. My best moments as your mama are the ones in which I see you through his eyes.
And what a beautiful boy you are.
Happy birthday, my spunky, spirited, sweet, silly, six-year-old! You are so loved.