My boy turns four this week!
This year has been truly shocking; the Lord has truly blown me away by my son. This is by grace, not great parenting (my parenting skills are quite lacking, ha!), and I really don't expect to "produce" other children with such an intensely sweet heart and deeply ponderous mind. That said, here are some things I love about my very special son:
I love how he can tell when I need encouragement. If I'm having a weary day, he gives me a hug and says "You're doing a great job Mommy." He compliments meals and frequently tells me I'm beautiful and pretty. Definitely helps the ol' self-esteem!
I love how he wants to know everything about...everything. He looks at a globe, points to a country, and says "What wars happened here?" One of his favorite phrases is "We should learn about that in homeschool!" or, in humble admission, "I not knew that." He is absolutely ravenous for knowledge, and I really feel like I can't keep up.
I love how he loves Piper. One of my favorite things in the whole world is watching them interact; in the mornings they say good morning to each other and hug tightly...he just so obviously loves her deeply. I've overheard him pleading with her to know Jesus.
I love how he is helpful. Sometimes it takes a lot of prodding for him to do his chores, but when he gets going, he really does an astounding job. He takes delight in his work and he's even told me that I'm going to cry happy tears when I see how clean his room is. I can rely on him to make banana cookies, unload the dishwasher and dryer, clean his room, clean the car, mop the floor, put clothes on hangers, etc. I think we're getting to the point where he's more of an asset than a liability; he actually makes my job easier.
I love how he responds to discipline. Many times he thanks Peter and I for disciplining him. Once he told me, "You and daddy are like my shepherds. You keep me from danger and sin." Even right after it happens he often says something like, "I know you needed to do that."
I love how he loves washi tape. This will probably be one of our favorite memories, sitting side by side, crafting and talking. He just cuts strips out of varying lengths and designs and lays them out in a pattern that is certainly artistic and intentional but also hilariously reflective of what a three-year-old might produce. The best part is that doing this together really causes him to open up his heart to me. He just keeps talking on and on and on.
One time he told me, "Sometimes me think me should move to another country because me just love the world and there are so many people who don't know Jesus. But I not know what God wants me to do so I'm praying about it." (I assured him that God wants him to stay with our family, ha! But I told him that we can pray that God will lead us overseas if that's His plan.)
I love how he deeply cares about those who are suffering and lost. We read Voice of the Martyrs magazines together (I, of course, summarize the stories and spare him from troubling details) and he literally prays for ISIS every day---at meals, at bedtime, and any other time it comes to mind. He passionately begs the Lord that ISIS will lay their weapons down and know Jesus. And the Lord hears, so that's quite amazing to think about.
I love how he loves to find things. (Geocaching is a great activity for him!) A lot of times I'll ask him where a remote or tool or toy is and---even if it's an item he's not supposed to have anything to do with---chances are hefty that he can lead me right to it.
I love how he talks. He didn't even start talking until he was over 2 1/2 years old, and he still mispronounces about every other word, but that makes his speech even more precious. (We get kind of sad when he starts saying words correctly!) His vocabulary is fantastic and he will pretty much assimilate every word we say. He uses the same idioms we use, the same slang words, the same hand and facial gestures, the same inflections and tones...we must be very careful with how we speak!
I love how he responds to love. He can tell when someone cares about him, and if you take the effort to really ask him about himself and show that you care, it will mean a lot to him. Seth and Lauren Shealy are excellent at treating Stephen like an actual person, and after meeting Seth for the first time he told me that he wanted to make a homeschool lesson about dinosaurs for him. He spent three days working on it---lots of drawing and chopping up with scissors---and then he wanted to mail it to him.
I love how he has self-control sometimes. Usually he'll watch as much TV as I let him (and will respond poorly when I shut it off), but sometimes he will say "We'd better turn it off because I don't want to have bad behavior." (He knows that screen-time changes the way he acts.) There have been several instances in which I've tried to turn on a Disney movie and he said, "No, that's a funny movie and I want to learn something. Let's watch Wild Kratts." He'll also occasionally deny desserts or sweets because "That's not healthy for me." Peter and I just look at each other like "Whuttt?" ha!
I love how he knows when he looks good. When he puts on his skinny jeans he says "Don't I look handsome?" And when he dresses in all camouflage, he even puts on green underwear. Even though we're just now getting out of the phase where every article of clothing is inside out and backwards, Stephen still cares about how he looks and it's pretty adorable.
I love how he loves to talk on the phone. He'll take my phone and click on the icon of which family member he'd like to call, and sometimes he'll talk for quite awhile. For no discernible reason he will suddenly say, "Okay, me going to call Mimi now. Bye love you." Then after he calls my mom he will suddenly say, "Okay, me going to call Daddy now. Bye love you." He likes to make his rounds and check in with everybody. I have no clue what's going on until family members call me and say "Stephen called and said you guys are coming over today. Is that true?" Ha!
I love how he truly tries to understand everything we say. When I'm listening to music in the car, he asks me about the lyrics and what those words mean. When adults are having a conversation, he wants to know what we said. Everyone has told me that the "why" stage is annoying, but I have not felt that yet because knowledge is an incredible gift that I'm actually able to give to him (to some degree! I'm clueless about science, ha!) He wants to know and be known. I'm terrified of snuffing out that desire.
I love him with all my heart. He has strengthened my marriage and stirred up my love for Jesus. When I talk to Stephen I truly feel like I am training an important soldier.
Happy birthday, my boy!
(I opted not to do pictures this time for safety reasons.)
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My name is Hope.
I'm 26, married to a former skater dude, and raising little people ages 6, 4, 3, and squishy-baby. I like lime green and sarsaparilla, and I wear my Crocs until they melt. (Florida problems.)
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Articles I've Written on Other Sites:
Youth Ministry's Family Blindspot - Christianity Today