My oldest son Matthew turned 9 today. He has been so excited all week – anticipating presents and wanting concessions because it was his birthday. He had some trouble waiting for today but it has been a great day and I thought I would share.
7 1/2 years ago I took him out of a Russian orphanage where he had lived for the prior 6 months. He had been walking for only a few weeks and didn’t speak. He was in perpetual motion except when he slept. He refused to eat and if forced to do so he would promptly vomit it all up – just to show who was in charge! His first English word was “shoe” – because he hated being in the house with me and his brother (who couldn’t yet sit up) and when I would say let’s get our shoes on he knew we were going outside. He loved swinging and riding in the car and pulling things apart.
He has struggled more than any of my other kids – and as a consequence, has come farther! He continues to amaze me and humble me. I have learned more about love and survival from him than I ever imagined.
Tonight, as he unwrapped his presents, I was reminded of what made me fall in love with him that first day in that far away orphanage and what has helped me to continue despite the struggles…
That smile! The complete joy and happiness it conveys – and my inability to want anything but to keep that smile on his face!
I can’t believe how quickly he has grown up – and I pray everyday that I am given many many more years to see that smile.
Happy Birthday Matthew! I love you!