Happy Birthday, Kern | Annie Holand Miller
My sweet baby boy,
Eight years ago today, at 5:20 p.m., you entered this world and made me a mom. Every moment since then has been filled with wonder. Every single moment. You keep us busy and on our toes. You keep us entertained. And, frankly, you keep us constantly questioning and adjusting our parenting styles and plans.
This has been a big year for you. You started at a new school, and as excited as you were, you were also really nervous. You were nervous about making new friends, adjusting to a new classroom and rules, and whether you were “smart enough.”
We never doubted your brains or your abilities.
And, more importantly, we had great confidence in your heart.
You are filled with kindness, and that makes me so proud. Like the time I was waiting to have lunch with you at school, and a parent introduced herself and told me that her daughter “always talks about Kern’s kindness.” Or the time Ms. Jones told me that you walked up and down the table in the cafeteria cleaning up after your friends. Or the time the parent of a special needs student stopped to me to tell me that her son considers you his best friend and how much that means to her—that you make him feel like a million bucks. Those are the moments my chest fills with pride and I get a lump in my throat.
You love to make everyone laugh—not only your friends, but their parents, too. You are filled with life and energy and excitement, and you carry it with you wherever you go. It is awesome and exhausting. And I worry that we spend too much time and energy taming you and not enough just enjoying you and laughing with you.
It would be remiss of me not to mention your love of dancing and shaking your booty! I mean, you do it on the soccer field, in pictures, on the playground, with your friends or alone. We might have even gotten a note sent home because you stood up to “shake it off” during a test at school. You hear the music in your head and you shake it from your heart.
There are less than stellar moments, too. Those are equally as important and while painful and heartbreaking, I’m thankful we’re going through them now. I’m thankful that you’re learning how to fail, then how to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, digest the information and move on. It is so important to know that we all make mistakes. It is so important to learn to admit when we are wrong. It is so important to understand that failure is not only a part of life, but a very important part of growth.
I am embarrassed to admit this, but I think your Dad and I thought that so many of these life lessons would “come” to you--that you would wake up one morning, and just know the difference between right and wrong and good and bad. Unfortunately, that isn’t quite the way it works. I can’t tell you the number of times one of us has said to the other “I guess I just figured he KNEW that!” This is probably the biggest challenge as a parent—not only figuring out HOW to teach you to the important lessons, but also figuring out which lessons need to be taught.
The “simple” lessons we’re working on right now: toots are for the bathroom; please walk and don’t run; use your manners; and please don’t interrupt me when I’m on the phone or talking to someone else.
Then there are the big lessons. And the older you get, the harder it is to teach the big lessons because I realize that, as an adult, I still haven’t mastered so many of them myself. Being your mom has challenged me to push myself to really consider my own behaviors, my own responses and my own values and goals.
I will never forget the moment I first held you in my arms. I cherish every moment of snuggling you give me—even when it means that you’ve climbed into our bed in the middle of the night. And I love that you told me just the other day that one day you will have to tell your wife that you’ll be back later because you need to go snuggle with your mom.
You have gotten so big. But when I look at you, I still see that 7 pound 1 ounce baby who changed our lives forever. I still carry the same hopes and dreams I had for you on that day. I pray for your health and your happiness. I pray that all of your dreams come true (except for that Texas A&M dream—that one I pray you get over real quick). But most importantly, I pray that you always know that you are never, ever alone—that you know that we are part of your heart and soul forever.
Oh, how we love you! Happy 8th birthday!
Essay by: Annie Holand Miller
Annie is a wife, mama, friend, attorney and essential oil fairy G-dmother. You can find her tribe here!