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In my world, my first born was the first baby I ever held. Seriously. It wasn’t an exaggeration when I said I had no idea what I was doing. My birth experience was surreal and the good memories outweighed the bad, as they always do, and five years later I decided to do it all again.

I dropped off my oldest at kindergarten and went to meet a friend for coffee - She wanted to be introduced the newest addition to our family. Her family was grown and like all moms who have an empty nest at home she said, “Soak it all in.” If I had a quarter for how many times people said that to me... but then she said something else that made me look at life with a different perspective.

She said, “It truly goes so fast. I remember crying my eyes out on my son’s ninth birthday.”

It seemed like a strange birthday to be crying over? I’ve heard that ten was special because you’re in the double digits, thirteen because you’ve entered the teens, sixteen for driving, but nine? Why nine?

She must have also noticed the change in my facial expression and added, “It’s halfway...”

My mouth dropped and immediately tears came to my eye. She is absolutely correct. Halfway! Halfway to 18! Wow, how did I miss that?

Fast forward four more years (!) and I now have a nine year old. The first baby I ever held in my arms is now halfway out the door. Those of you with older children can empathize how substantial that is and can see how much more we have in store - How much harder life is about to become. How my sleepless nights at home with the baby will continue into my sleepless nights waiting for my baby to come home. I know what’s ahead almost as much as I knew what to expect when I was expecting. There’s a reason the Game of Life is for ages 9+.

I can see changes that signal he’s ready to let go of that little boy he was before nine. He hasn’t circled a list of toys in the Christmas catalog this year. He doesn’t want a big birthday party. He can stay in the car when I run into the gas station. He has opinions and jokes around the way an older child would. I can’t remember the last time I washed his hair - well, actually that was yesterday because he doesn’t always remember to do so. Not all is lost. :)

span class="Apple-converted-space"> I am so very grateful I get this opportunity. My nine year old is becoming an unbelievable young person and I look forward to the years God gives me to continue to watch him grow.

So, happy halfway little man! We love you more than you’ll ever know.

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