Sunday, May 18, 2008

Happy Fourth Birthday, Ben.

When Ben was born, I thought he was a funny looking baby. Like a wise and wrinkled old man. He was long and thin and seemed sad to have left his cozy home to enter our chaotic, noisy one. In fact, his first year of life was somewhat difficult for him. A sensitive child, he was sick constantly, and getting him to eat became a daily struggle.

This is my favorite picture of the day he was born. So serious. So wise. A little disappointed at what he sees, maybe. And when I look at him now, I still see that baby sometimes. In fact, I think of all my children he still looks most like his infant self.

But, oh there is so much more to him now. His sensitivity has made him kind beyond what I could have imagined. A gentle sweetness that people often comment on, even in the midst of his boyish zeal for superheroes and wrestling. And a trouble making mischievous side that caught me by complete surprise. He seems to find trouble without even looking. And always seems a bit surprised when he he gets reprimanded. It makes punishing him all the more difficult. Especially when I know it will be usually followed by genuine remorse. Usually.

He has taught me so much about parenting, this one. About letting go of the weight of milestone schedules and rejoicing in individuality. He taught me humbleness in parenting. He taught me a loathing for "Babycenter" weekly updates and a passion for mornings spent snuggling together on the sofa.

Last week he ate three dinner meals with us, spaghetti, tilapia and chicken and rice. I honestly didn't think the day would ever come. And this birthday, his fourth birthday, was the first one he would eat a piece of cake. And I let him eat cake all week long, grinning like a fool each time. But he still sleeps in pull-ups. And probably will for a while. And I don't even flinch about it anymore.

He'll get there. All the places he needs to go. In his own time. In his own sweet way.

And most of all now, I am just thankful I get to come along for the ride. The challenging, occasionally destructive, breathtakingly beautiful ride.

Happy Birthday Ben.

17 comments:

Kelly and Family said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BEN!!

flutter said...

oh what a doll!

the dragonfly said...

What a beautiful, sweet boy.

Happy Birthday Ben!

slouching mom said...

he really DOES look like his baby self!

happy birthday, ben!

what a lovely and loving tribute to him.

Chrissy said...

Hope you're feeling better now.

happy birthday to Ben!

Kyla said...

Happy birthday, Ben!

Cake! Spaghetti! Tilapia! Chicken! YAY!

Those Babycenter bulletins. Scoff. LOL.

Lori said...

Oh my gosh... that baby picture is priceless! He really does look a little disappointed... :)

He sounds like such a treasure- and so lucky to have a mama who sees him for the wonder that he is.

Bless you, and bless that little Ben.

painted maypole said...

Happy Birthday Ben, you wise old man!

Karen said...

oh, what a cutie - happy, happy birthday!

RAY AND TINA said...

OH JOY, I WISH I COULD PUT WORDS TOGETHER LIKE U CAN. U ALWAYS WRITE SUCH BEAUTIFUL THINGS. I ALWAYS JUST BLAB ON AND ON. BEN TRULY IS A WONDERFUL LITTLE MAN. IT IS TRULY AMAZING HOW HE DOES LOOK LIKE HE DID WHEN HE WAS BORN. I DON'T THINK I HAVE EVER SEEN THAT BEFORE. I HATE WE HAD TO MISS HIS BDAY BUT THATS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN U HAVE SO MANY ON THE SAME DAY! I STILL CAN'T GET OVER HOW BEN AND LITTLE KIETH WERE BORN ON THE SAME DAY AND THEN HERE COMES TY ON THE SAME DAY 2 YRS LATER. AND U KNOW ANGELA HAD HER 2ND ONE THREE DAYS BEFORE BRITTNEE'S BDAY THIS YR. I WAS CERTAIN SHE WAS GOING TO HAVE HIM ON BRITTNEE'S BDAY BUT SHE COULDN'T WAIT THAT LONG. ANYWAY GIVE THAT BOY SOME LOVE AND MAYBE WE WILL GET TO SEE YALL AGAIN SOON. I REALLY ENJOYED OUR LAST VISIT. LOVE YALL!

Beck said...

I love that last picture of him looked all shy and pleased at his cake. What a great kid.
Happy birthday, Ben.

Taylor said...

Ben is the coolest! I always thought my boys looked like turtles, not quite wanting to peek out of the shell yet. In fact, I told my dr.'s nurse that's what they looked like and she was shocked a new mama would say such a thing, but they really did look like turtles to me-lol!

Lynn Stallworth said...

Oops, didn't realize Taylor was signed in. Sorry!

Amanda said...

He's gorgeous.

Amy Wyatt said...

Joy,
This is an absolutely beautiful post. Happy Birthday Ben!

Sister K said...

what precious moments...happy birthday ben! i love age 4 :)

Lisa writes... said...

What a cutie!

And one of my children, who shall remain nameless, slept in pull ups til he was almost six. So hang in there.