Wednesday, March 16, 2011

To my little boy for his first birthday.

My dear son, I can’t wait until tomorrow morning. I can’t wait until you begin to stir and I hear you talking in your bed so that I can rush to your room, swing open your door, and wish you a happy first birthday. I know you’ll squint in the light, smile that beautiful smile, and hold your arms out to me wanting me to pick you up. The day probably won’t feel any different to you, but let me assure you that your mommy and I will be fighting back tears throughout the day.

A year ago you decided you wanted to come a few days early. We had thought it would be fun to have a St. Patrick’s day baby, but the doctor’s office couldn’t get the scheduling right. Then you decided that wasn’t how it was going to happen and were determined to make an entrance on your own time. Roughly nine months before that day, your mommy and I were surprised to learn that you were on the way. We hadn’t planned on another little one, but were blessed beyond all measure at the news you were joining our family.

Your first days are a blur to me now. Our house was full of family, laughter, and joy. Your big sister was enthralled with you at first sight, and immediately assumed the role as protector of her little “Bubby.” Your mommy and I just stared at you and marveled at your blue eyes and peaceful countenance, trying to soak in every moment and burn them indelibly into our memories.

Six weeks later things took a tough turn. Our chaotic yet blissful world was thrown into a state of panic and anxiety. That was when we found out that you were sick and the doctors diagnosed you with leukemia. That word will forever shake me just as the memory of those days will forever bring me to my knees. For that is where we could be found during that time, on our knees, praying that our God would heal your little body. It may sound like a devout reaction now, but it was honestly the only thing I knew how to do to help you.

It was during those days that you became known as Little Levi. This was the name that best portrayed your innocence and vulnerability. But more so, it was the name that was given to you by hundreds and even thousands that prayed for you. The question “How is Little Levi?” was as common a greeting as “hello” to us. People around the country and even overseas lifted you up in prayer, ever trusting that God would answer these prayers.

Many came to pray with you, in the hospital, in our living room, and even in parking lots and restaurants. In His perfect will and perfect timing, God answered these prayers and took this disease from you. I can’t credit medicine or chemo treatments or even radiation for your cure, because you have never experienced these. I don’t pretend to understand why and I don’t try to rationalize what we’ve been through; I just thank God with every prayer that you are still with us. I call you my little boy, but I can’t really say that you’re mine; I gave you to God when you were small, and your family has grown from our happy household of four to a network of friends and loved ones who adore you and will always be there to support you no matter what the future holds. I thank God for every minute of this past year, and I can’t wait to see what He has in store for you. As you grow older, faster, stronger, and wiser, never take your eyes off Him.

Happy Birthday. I love you.