Sunday, August 12, 2012


{august 9th, 2002}

I still can't quite believe it.  Andrew turned 10 {double digits!!} last Thursday.  How is it possible I have a child that old? How have I been a mother for 10 years?  I would think after 10 years, I'd have this mothering gig licked. Things like effective discipline and teaching responsibility and manners should be old hat.  The truth is that many days I go to bed and think of all the ways I can be a better mother.  I awake with added resolve that I will not raise my voice when they are misbehaving, that I will provide more activities so there is less TV, that I will be more consistent with consequences and praise.  I can acknowledge that I'll never get it perfect, but there is always room to grow and evolve as a parent.

    {august 2012}

Looking at the picture of me holding Andrew moments after he was born I try to remember what was going through that young girl's head.  It was definitely love at first sight, I'm talking all consuming, intense, fiercely protecting, love at first sight.  I think I naively believed that if you just love your babies as much as you can possibly love them, the rest just naturally falls into place.  I had no idea how parenting would be simultaneously so amazing and difficult at the same time.  Sometimes I wish I could go back to a time when nursing my child cured all woes.  It really was so simple.  I feel like there is not enough time for me with Andrew, which is why this birthday has been a bit hard on me.  It's that dreadful realization that we've passed the midway mark, the years still left at home are less than those behind us.  Well, that's not fair, not while I'm busy still perfecting my craft.  I want to make sure I squeeze it all in, all the mothering, life lessons, the best example, compassion, guidance and good memories... A few tears were shed this year in the quiet hours when I wrote Andrew his annual birthday letter.  Often I tell him that what I pray for him in life is simple: to feel good about who he is, to treat others kindly, and to always give his best effort.  Simple but not.  How do you feel good about yourself when you feel like someone has made fun of you or when you struggle at something that comes easy to all your friends, how can you be kind and unselfish as a child when you encounter many examples of others that aren't, how do you do your best at things you aren't passionate about, things that seem boring and unnecessary.  The world is rarely black and white.  And so it is with parenting too.  I want so much to arm him emotionally for the years ahead, to build him up now so that when the teen years kick in it is smooth sailing. I want this secure and happy child to be protected from the harder lessons in life.  Maybe there is still a bit of that naivety at work, that if I love him enough, it makes the rest of life easy.  I know it doesn't work that way and for now I should just celebrate that boy he is, the creative, bright, curious, talkative, honest, sensitive soul that is Andrew at age 10. 

Here are a few pictures of our celebration this year...

We had my parents over for a birthday dinner and colossal cake on Thursday evening...

{I nearly lit my face on fire with those sparkler numbers! 
The cake was NOT the Leaning Tower of Pisa}

Saturday night, Andrew's two best friends, Jackson and Payton, came over for a small celebration, dinner at PF Changs and a movie {Diary of  Wimpy Kid Dog Days} downtown. 

It was a gorgeous evening and the kids had a lot of fun together.  They both spent the night too. We have a zip line trip planned for this week to conclude the birthday fun.  I had enjoyed eavesdropping on the kids this morning. One minute they were acting out some superhero scene with Lego, complete with voices and sound effects and the next they were all hanging out in the family room listening to Maroon 5 on Andrew's new ipad and singing all the lyrics.  Little kids one minute, young preteens the next.  I think there will be a lot a that this year.  As they slowly {please let it be slowly!!} transition into the tween years.


  1. Beautiful post! Leslie

  2. As the mother of a soon to be (a week from today) 7-year-old little boy, this was a beautiful and bittersweet post to read this evening. How true your words are... as mothers, we are so excited to see who they will become and sad to remember the little babies they were such a short time ago. Happy Birthday to Andrew!

  3. Happy Birthday to Andrew! Lovely celebration! I can really empathize with you about them growing so Target this afternoon, Cecilia (11 y/o) asked if she could start shaving her legs! Aaagh! Although I too wish we could slow the time down, what a blessing to be there with them for the milestones, as well as the everyday things! Lovely post!
    xo, Michelle

  4. Well put, all the conflicts and insecurities and thinking how you can do better and loving so fiercely you can't bear the thought of your child feeling sharp insecurity or sadness. Really loved reading this :)

  5. Happy birthday Andrew! Beautiful post and it sounds like a wonderful time for everyone. We just celebrated 2 children's birthdays here this weekend- 18 and 22. I can't believe they are that old. You mentioned daughter's best friend's grandmother just turned 80 this past week. For her birthday (the grandma mind you) they all went ziplining this weekend!
    Enjoy the year of is a good one!

  6. Tessa, what a precious post. My daughter turned 10 last month and I share many of these same feelings with you. We have to soak it all in while we can, don't we. It looks like it was the perfect birthday!

  7. So sweet to see a boy in the double digits still close and sweet to his mama. It goes too fast.

  8. Have you read "Age of Opportunity" By Paul David Tripp? Great book!, and perfect for the stage you're in.

  9. love this post. beautiful and all very true. love the cake and the cones :)

  10. Very well said, Tessa. Happy Birthday to your big boy! I can't even imagine Ella turning 10. I want to keep her this age forever.

    That cake is huge!!!! I'm sure it was so delicious!

  11. Happy Birthday to your son! He shares that day with an elite group - including myself! LOL!!!

  12. First and foremost, what a perfect way for a 10 year-old to spend his birthday. Happy happy to him! That cake is awesome. Nothing beats a big, fat, homemade chocolate cake. {question: did the sparklers get ash on the top of the cake? i always want to use sparklers but am hesitant for this reason.} And I love his Kevin & Winnie {The Wonder Years} relationship. So, so sweet and I bet an incredible confidence booster to be close friends at that age w/ such a pretty girl.

    I understand what you mean by these in between stages. One minute Stella is so baby-like, resorting to baby talk, being a floppy bird, the next she is so in tune with life, having very adult conversations with me, where her observations blow me away. I guess there are a lot of these in between moments to come.

    And I fully appreciate your reflections on being a's as though you typed out my thoughts. It's certainly a growing period for us as well, isn't it? xo

  13. Hi Tessa ;
    You have a wonderful way with words. A true ability to articulate what motherhood is like. Thank you for sharing your family and for being so " real ".

    Happy birthday to Andrew.

    Kind regards,
    Melanie ( mom to Hayden age 14)

  14. I loved seeing how your son celebrated his birthday - and those cupcakes in ice cream cones with the chocolate frosting made me want to turn 10 again so my nice mommy would make them for me, ha! Seriously it looks like it was a wonderful birthday, and thanks for sharing.

  15. Our middle child turned 10 TODAY.

    Ten is such a great age....he still calls me "mommy" when no one else is around...shhhhhh! don't tell anyone. :)

    Your home is beautiful...the cake was gorgeous....the boy is spectacular. :)

    And, you have amazing arms...trying not to covet. :))