Round 2: The Eldest

We finished celebrating the birthday of the eldest child last week. Although he turned 9, he’s been with our family less than 4 years. Physically less than 4 years, but God knew since time began that he would be part of this family. And eventually His family.

If the bakery could freehand a unicorn, a horse head shouldn’t be a problem. It wasn’t. The only problem was that I forgot a lighter for the candles, so they were blown out on a half-eaten cake the following day.

His siblings adore him as their big brother. In the week leading up to his birthday, they continually made pleas for him to get extra this or that “because it’s his birthday.” I have created little monsters. But sweet ones since these requests were selfless.

They excitedly gathered gifts for him long before party day and hid them in my closet. Dust magnets from their own stuffed animal collection and a 5-dollar bill from each of them. “So that he has $10 to buy Legos,” they said. The sweetest.

Plus there’s this, which they made the day I took just the 2 of them with me to volunteer with the refugees in Houston. I had brilliantly gifted Garrison an entire day of limitless xBox while we were gone. I am pretty great.

It wasn’t until the day of the party that Keith tried to strip me of my duties as Birthday Extraordinaire. He wanted to cancel my party and arrange a different venue and theme the following day. He wanted me to just hand over “all boy birthdays from here out.” Preposterous! I said with doubt in my voice, “So, you want the party planning, cake ordering, present shopping, the very important present wrapping, and guest inviting?” I don’t think so.

Garrison and his BFF love art and are both relatively talented, so it was only fitting that we have the low-key party at an art studio. Although we had an equal gender ratio, the painting soon turned into a Boy Dance Party with the boys, not girls, belting out the Kidz Bop tunes in the background. Then a kid busted out the worm in the hallway for the grand finale.

As the oldest child in my family, I know him well. I remember being told, “You’re not the parent, Jessica Lynn,” and thinking my parents were ridiculous for assuming I would back down. And I’m like a broken record to him, “Let me be the mom,” as I go on to explain in too many words that being the mom is a difficult job, hoping he’ll feel sorry for me and cease fire.

It’s a battle I don’t like fighting. But it’s a battle through which God continually reminds me of His never-ending love for me… that he loves me the same whether I am a headstrong child fighting for my own way or submissive and compliant. And, always whether or not I deserve it.

I pray I am able to model that same kind of love for Garrison daily, no matter how much hair I want to rip out in the process.

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