My Ayden

I remember the day I went into labor with you. It was exactly 2 weeks before your due date and I wasn’t quite prepared. Your big sister was 21 months old so explaining your arrival to her wasn’t easy, but I think she understood that mommy was going away and bringing back a brother for her. Nanny came to stay and finished the preparations exactly as I instructed, down to the last detail. She was so excited to meet her first grandson. 

We walked in Walmart for a while before going to the hospital because there was time. You were either going to be named “Ayden” or “Avery”, and I had the cutest little outfit picked out for you to come home in. Your nursery was Uncle Jon’s childhood bedroom and I painted it light blue with a blue jean teddy bear border. I still have the first teddy bear I ever bought you to go with that room. Your furniture matched beautifully. All your tiny clothes were perfectly folded, ready to be worn. I even found you and Addison matching pajamas. I couldn’t wait to bring you home. 

After you came into the world (I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say it was not pretty), Nanny brought Addison to meet you. Paw Paw lifted her up to the nursery window and pointed to you. She promptly replied, “No, I want THAT one,” and pointed to another baby. I should have taken that as the omen it was.

When I was pregnant with you I obsessively worried about how I could love you as much as I loved Addison, but the moment the doctor placed you into my arms I finally understood what everyone had been telling me: my love didn’t have to be divided, it was simply multiplied. How I adored you from the first moment. 

The cuteness faded as you refused to sleep more than an hour at a time. My sanity was tested with two children in diapers. But I remember sitting back and watching the two of you interact – I watched Addison become a big sister even though she herself was only a baby. I adored you both from the depth of my soul. But you, my Ayden, were my rock. You followed such a schedule. I could set my watch by your waking and eating patterns. You brought a sense of stability to a very unstable time. God, as He always does, knew what He was doing. 

As you’ve grown I have counted it a privilege to be your biggest fan. I remember when you refused to wear anything but your red cowboy boots (from Nanny, btw) to preschool. I remember picking you up from kindergarten every day and you running full speed ahead into my arms. I remember aching to the bottom of my heart missing you as I stayed in Morgantown when Avery was born sick, and the relief I felt when I finally got to hold all of my babies. I will never forget you running off of the bus asking for “your baby” when Aubrey was little, and having to convince you to wait until your baby woke up from her nap before you could play with her. 

Hundreds of baseball, basketball, football and soccer games passed. Years of convincing you reading was a skill you would actually need, hours of homework and projects, playing games with you, getting you to do chores, watching as you became the person you are still becoming…it’s all nothing but a blessing in hindsight. While some of it may have been trying, the struggle was worth it, honey, because I could not be more proud of you, my son – a man who stands before me with a plan for his life, a purpose and a drive that I admire. And to be your mom is the greatest privilege. 

You, my sweet boy, will forever be the tiny human who holds my head in his chubby baby hands and says, “I love you, mama” in my eyes. But I know you have a world to change, and I want you to know, Ayden, that I am your biggest fan. Happy birthday, sweetheart. Mama loves you right back. 


Another blast from the past. As I read this, it occurred to me how much I miss the kids at this stage I thought would never end…

If I invented a car, it would come with soundproof pods for each passenger and an eject button. There’s almost nothing more irritating than a messy van packed to the gills with sports gear, plastic bags meant for recycling some day in the distant future, recently bought groceries that have to be shoved in the passenger areas because my hatch doesn’t work unless you hold it up (I opened it at hockey practice the other day and 2 bags full of leftover yard sale clothes fell out. Picture me picking clothes up with one hand and holding the hatch open with the other. If you’ve seen a green shirt sleeve hanging out the back, that’s why. I gave up.) Add to that 4 loud, obnoxious, quarrelsome kids fighting over candy and, well, it’s a recipe for complete insanity.

I tried at first to be calm and diplomatic, diffusing the tension and redirecting the conversation to less controversial topics. Like politics. Failure…

Aubrey: “It’s MY candy.”

Me: “You have enough candy for a year. You’re sharing with your brothers.”

Aubrey: “Fine. Then I will divide it.”

Ayden: (bending over to pick up Aubrey’s falling candy bag)

Aubrey (shrieking): “DON’T TOUCH THAT!” 

Meanwhile Addison, who “called” shotgun, was blasting the radio while Avery attempted to tell me a story. I turned it down, nonchalantly, so I could hear him from the “WAY back seat” among the bags. She immediately reached over and turned it back up. Apparently this person doesn’t get subtlety, so I gave her the “mom” look. You know it. And she values her phone, so she backed away from the volume. Peace reigned for exactly 28 seconds.

Did I mention that this was the ride home from our church’s AWANA Carnival? 

Honestly, if we were hamsters, they’d have met their Maker long ago. Diplomacy was pointless at this stage in their moods, so I pulled out the big guns. 

Me: “Listen, people. If you continue to fight and PISS ME OFF, the candy will be mine.”

I know, I know. Don’t judge. Desperation is that part of parenting when you do and say things you wished you hadn’t. I’ve gotten much better over the years, but there’s still room for improvement. The great part about my kids is that when they see that I’ve had enough, they generally respond by only being slightly irritating, or at least torturing each other more quietly. Hey, I’ll take what I can get. There’s not much you can do with a 7-year-old on a cotton candy sugar high except wait it out.

Desperation can lead us to bad places, but it can also bring us to exactly the place God wants us to be. When we are desperate for Him, He is automatically who we search after. He who seeks Him, will find Him. And He never gets angry with us for asking for help. He doesn’t have more important things to do than help you, or me. To Him, it is all important. Plus, He’s God, so He can totally handle all the chaos. 

My chaos threshold is higher than most, but even I have a breaking point. It’s when I get to that breaking point that I have a choice: pray and ask God to get me through it His way, or say bad words. I wish I could say I choose His way all the time, but then when I tell you the story about one of Aubrey’s first 20 words being “dammit”, you’d know I was lying.