This Parenting of the Youngest Child is a little bit heart-breaking, y'all. I've had little ones in the house for so long and I know now that I've taken a lot of it for granted. These years really are just a momentary vapor... even if you have a three or four year old for seven years in a row...
But enough naval gazing. I've got a New Four Year Old to celebrate!!!
Our church takes an annual retreat to Fall Creek Falls State Park where we spend a glorious weekend in cabins that surround a large grassy area. There's a little stream just down the road that's perfect for canoeing and swimming (if you're a polar bear!) and baptizing. The adults take turns helping with meals and the kids are responsible for clean up afterward and that's about all the responsibility any of us see for three days.
For the past two years, Daniel's birthday has fallen while we are enjoying the respite of the woods. As we were coming home last year, he told us how much fun he'd had at his birthday party. It took me a few seconds and a couple of questions to realize that the little squirt thought the entire church retreat was in honor of his birthday!!
His lack of self-confidence worries us.
This year we baked 150 cupcakes and took them with us on the retreat to share with all his party attendees and everyone sang 'Happy Birthday' to him. He wore his brand new Superman shirt and sat on his Daddy's shoulders, beaming from ear to ear as he was serenaded!! Alas, my fantastic camera was not at hand, and I have only my memory to look back on and see that sweet face! He was high-fived at every turn all day and reveled in the spotlight as only the baby of the family knows how.
Later that afternoon, we all trekked down to the creek for baptisms for those who had accepted Christ's life-changing salvation over the past year. The kids and adults sat or stood along the bridge as the little ones played in a little rivulet off to the side. Daniel, after seeing the first dunking, couldn't wait to get in water deeper than his ankles. As soon as the baptisms were over, he was hot on the heels of the older kids who were headed to diving boards that were positioned over the deeper part of the creek.
Y'all, he had an adult with him. They were walking along the canoe launch and Daniel overbalanced and fell in. The sweet gentleman who was walking with Daniel grabbed him out of the water quickly, but told us how quickly Daniel was sinking for those several seconds.
Daniel's version was "I didn't sink all the way, I just sinked some of the way." This was explained through chattering teeth as he was held bundled in a towel and being carried off by a mama who was praising God for His mercy and for our village.
Daniel, I love you to infinity and beyond. I love every cheesy smile and silly antic and sweet little boy kiss you bestow upon me.
And this year, you'll have some serious swim lessons!!