And I'm in denial about it.
Because if he is nine years old, then that means we only have nine more years of him at home. In nine more years, at least in the eyes of the law, he will be an adult. Old enough to buy cigarettes and lottery tickets. Old enough to fight for his country. Old enough to be "grown".
And while I know that he will always be my kiddo, my tiny human, my baby boy... something about nine just stings.
We are half-way there. We have spent exactly 468 out of the 936 pennies we have been given with him.
And so much of me is worried about what we did with those pennies. What have we done in these past nine years?
Does he know that his spirit, enthusiasm and personality are one of the greatest joys of my life?
Does he understand that we love to listen to him talk about all the things that he loves?
Does he know that we waited our whole lives to be parents to him? That he makes us better people. Does he understand that because of him, we became closer to God?
Does he know what a JOY it is to watch him be a big brother.
And not simply in pictures...but in the day to day moments.
Have we told him enough how proud we are of him?
Could he possibly understand that watching him discover life is such a gift to us?
The short answer is no.
He just can't.
Until that time, it's our job to let him know that we are ever-so-grateful that he is ours. That he was given to us to teach and love and learn FROM. This kid has taught me so much in 9 years.
He's taught me how to give grace.
He's taught me how to live big.
He's taught me how to be brave.
He's taught me how to laugh hard.
He's taught me how to be silly.
He's taught me how to play.
He's taught me how to slow down.
He's taught me how to think.
He's taught me how to pray.
He's taught me how to love.
In return, I hope that we have taught him all of those things and more.
May we teach him how to serve God.
May we teach him how to respect others.
May we teach him how to show mercy.
May we teach him how to be kind.
May we teach him how to love well.
May we teach him how to work hard.
May we teach him how to be humble.
May our examples show him to live with integrity.
May he understand that surrounding himself with those that do the same is one of the most important decisions he will ever make.
We are half-way there.
I can't wait to see all that he has yet to become. So we will use these next nine years (and let's be honest, years beyond that) to lift him up. To hold him close. To wipe away tears and brush off disappointments. We will walk him through anger and pray him through hurt. We will celebrate the wins and learn from the failures. We will laugh. We will cry. We will love.
But most of all, we will be thankful to a God that chose him for us and us for him. Nine years ago today our biggest dreams came true and we are ever so grateful.
Happy birthday, William Radley King. God sure did bless us with you!