Happy Birthday, Cooper!

9:21 AMHeather



Twelve.  One dozen.  That’s how many years old you are now, my Cooper.   Or, as you said, you’ve been alive for 4,380 days.  You’ve always been one to define yourself in your own way.  Or not at all.  Outside the box.  Creativity with no bounds.  Imagination beyond comprehension.  Color outside the lines.  Or with no lines at all.  And, I long ago gave up trying to stay ahead of you.  Because I can’t.   I just try to keep up with you, as best I can.  You think in ways I cannot begin to think.  You dream in ways I never dared.   The only thing as big as your personality is your heart.   

Independent?  Doesn’t even begin to describe it.  But, it started from the minute you drew your first breath.  And, the nurse said that you would have been born with or without my help.  True that.  Hardly even a push was required…you were ready to come and take the world by storm.   Ready or not, here I come!  It’s your theme song.  You have enthusiasm and big ideas and energy and intellect above and beyond.  Too much for one person.  It’s like you got someone else’s share of talent, I think at times.  With the confidence to boot.  You are sure of your thoughts, your position, your side of the debate.  Debate?  Bring it.  You’ve always loved a good argument.  Even when no one really wanted to put up a fight. 

I used to think there was so much to teach you.  If only you’d let me!  I’m your mom.  C’mon.  But, in this last year, as you begin to shed the childish things and embrace the more mature, I’m realizing something.  I’m the student.  You are the teacher.  There is oh so much that I can learn from you.  I’m amazed, really.  To consider how I can learn to think big.  Dream big.  Let my ideas know no bounds.  Believe there’s nothing I can’t do.  Feel big.  Imagine big.  Have passion and enthusiasm to outpace any obstacles.   Be fueled by a tenacity to go anywhere and do anything.  Set my mind and not be dissuaded.  Break away from the pack.

You’ve always wanted to be older than you are—to have the freedom you knew you could handle.  Even before I did.  I remember distinctly the first time you told me to let you do more and try more things because you really could handle it.  You were respectively letting me know that I was squashing you.  I wasn’t allowing you to be brave enough.  To lead enough.  Of course, it all must be age appropriate.  And I’ve always thought I knew more than you about where your limits are.  But, maybe.  Just maybe, I haven’t given you enough credit. 

I’ve read the story of the teenage girl whose parents let her sail around the world or the boy whose parents let him climb Mount Everest.  Crazy.  They are just kids!  But, now, I’m realizing that perhaps I could learn to follow suit and give you enough room to spread your wings and soar.  Because as you’ve entered middle school, God has given me fresh eyes to see it.  In a way I’ve never seen it before.  Your wisdom.  And discernment.  That CAN be trusted.  That are becoming an equal match to your passion.   The maturity that is catching up with the big ideas.  And what an amazing partnership that is!  Crazy enough to dream big, and wise enough to know how to do it. 

I’m catching fresh glimpses of your heart for people. Your deep concern for others.  Your biggest desire to please God.  To do well.  To be respected and respectable.  To be the good guy. To use your superpowers for good and not evil.  To blow our minds with all that we should trust you to do. 

Sink or swim.  I know that this whisper in my heart is growing louder.  And it’s scary.  And thrilling—all at the same time.  To give you enough room to spread out those big wings and take flight.  To realize that my baby boy is becoming a wise young man.  To fuel your independence instead of reigning it in.  To somehow still be the parent and the gatekeeper while also being the student of a son who wants to lead.  Needs to lead.  Needs some wide open spaces to run free!  It’s a delicate balance.  To protect.  And to let go of the leash.  All at the same time.  To let you learn the hard way, if necessary.  But, to trust your instincts. 

Such a cliché, but oh so true.  When God made you, he broke the mold.  You are one in a million.  That is indeed the truth of it.  And, as I tell you often—I am your biggest cheerleader!  I am on your side.  I will always love you.  Always root for you.  Always adore you. Always be amazed by you.  May I also always be worthy of this big personality, big heart in this ever growing package.  May I learn how to dance the delicate footsteps of giving you the freedom you crave while also being your protector.  Lord, continually show me how to raise him, to train him in the way HE should go.  Because it’s off the beaten path.  It’s a march to your own drummer.  And for a conformist like me, that’s scary.  May I be bold enough, brave enough, to be the mom you need.  What a gift you are, Cooper.  A treasure.   In these 4,380 days that I’ve been blessed to be your mom.  And every day to come.  Happy 12th birthday! 

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