Time flies, and today my boy is 14.
There is just something special about your firstborn- not in the sense that you love him more than his siblings, or that he is any more wonderful or talented than they are, but there is a history between parent and child that the other children just don't share. It's the firstborn, after all, who must endure the brunt of his parents' inexperience- and his grandparent's enthusiasm. Firstborn children know there are high expectations for them, and many quail under the pressure. Not John Mark. He has so far managed to survive the firstborn experience with grace and humor- and the occasional "attitude" as well.
John Mark has always been fearless and ready to meet new challenges, from his first time sleeping over at grandma's, to his first haircut, to his first trip to the dentist office, to his first public speaking opportunity: a First Grade presentation on hurricanes. He gets his confidence from his father, but fortunately, he managed to pick up just enough of his mother's caution that common sense generally prevails in precarious situations. For this, I am grateful.
I see a great deal of his father in him: in his love for fishing, hunting, camping, and being outdoors; I see it in the engineer's approach he takes to problem-solving; and I see it in the determination that kept him begging his father to play chess until the day he finally won. I see it in the delight that both of them have in spending their mornings in deep theological discussions during Bible Study and in their shared passion for their church family.
I see myself in my son too. We share a love of reading, and I am pleased that John Mark will eagerly read books which I recommend. I love to see him sit at the piano and play just for the sheer joy of it, and I smile to myself when I see that he has read ahead several chapters in history because he found it interesting. He gets that from me.
I have happy memories of our first years together, the days of just me and my baby, the two of us visiting friends, reading books, listening to praise & worship CDs on the stereo, and John Mark toddling after me as I went about the work of being a wife and a mommy. He was beautiful, happy, and lots of fun. I loved that baby.
Those were wonderful days, and these are still wonderful days, but they are bittersweet because I am increasingly aware that in a few short years, he will be off on his own. Some days I think I am more than ready for this, and some days I wonder how I'll be able to let him go. I am still the fortunate recipient of quick kisses before he heads off to bed at night, and I know that my nights of goodnight kisses from him are numbered. But I take joy in the knowledge that he is growing into a strong, handsome young man, a young man that loves God and his family, a young man with many talents, a great sense of humor, a gift for leadership and a flair for mischief. He is my son, and in him I am well pleased. I love that boy.