This is a milestone, this birthday. They all are, but something about this one has our hearts wrung completely out because “this time goes by so fast.” This birthday marks the calendar in bright bold lettershe is growing up and starting to inch ever further from childhood. 

This is what we strive for, but it doesn’t make it any easier to be here—at this juncture. Looking around for our baby we are certain we brought home just a minute ago, we are faced with this boy—a twinkle in his eye, but uncertainty in his step . . . on the cusp of a change, he’s not quite sure how to handle yet either. 

We are here, mama. 

A place where we feel we know him a little less and love him even more. 

A place where his big boy ideas are trying to reconcile themselves with his little boy understanding of the world, even as it grows and changes.

A place where his conversations with you are more and more about his thoughts on things he knows and his understanding and desire to know more.

A place where he questions and tests. Both the world around him and his parents.

A place where he sometimes gives a roll of his eyes at us, a shrug as if to say, “I’m moving beyond you,” only to turn around and race to our side for reassurance over some issue or event in his life. 

A place where we see flashes of the brilliant man he will become. By brilliant, I don’t mean smart (even though he is so very smart), but a shining example of what a man should be to others. He is strong, kind, thoughtful, loving, and goofy all rolled into one. Watching him as he smiles helping an infant sibling or reading to his other younger siblings . . . the gentleness in his face tells us he has a beautiful path ahead of him. 

A time when we don’t get to listen in to his sweet, little-boy thoughts over the monitor as he sings them in the quiet of his room. But his innocence and wonder are still there. 

A time when we watch him become more and more independent and are in awe of all he is already capable of doing. 

A time when we get to watch him blossom in hobbies he loves and struggle in areas new to him. He is trying to find what he wants to do and where he fits in God’s plan for his life. 

A time when the moments are so incredibly fleeting. 

I watch my son, thinking, and so much of my time with him now is just thatme watching. Learning to listen to him when he is ready to talk and trying to be patient when those talks are fewer and farther between than I am used to. Learning how and when he likes to communicate because I want him to know I am always here for him. 

A time when I pray I am doing the right things, wondering if the mistakes I’ve made have impacted him negatively and if I’ve done enough of the right things to outweigh them.

A time when I constantly pray for guidance for his dad and me as we raise him. 

A time when we love him unconditionally. 

We are here, mama. And the faster time passes, the more we realize just how present we really need to be. 

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Candice Mrazik

Candice Mrazik is a military veteran, former elementary school teacher, current military spouse and a mom to 4 (3 boys and one girl). With 9+ years of parenting under her belt she is still getting used to the ever growing height of her boys and the family laundry pile. She enjoys walking, writing, traveling with her family, dark European chocolate and couldn’t be more thankful that her hands are completely full.