Today this boy, my first-born, turns eleven. I’m usually all good with birthdays, mine or theirs. I’m usually thrilled to celebrate all the memories, joy and growing of another year. But this year, it’s hitting me a little differently. He’s almost five feet tall and his interests are changing, if you know what I mean. He’s working harder to get stronger and becoming extremely competitive in sports. He just has a little more grit than he used to.
But he’s also becoming kinder, wiser, and more loving.
Over the years, he’s faced his own set of challenges. He’s learned a lot about owning his response to whatever is happening in the world around him, especially when he can’t change it. This year, he’s grown by leaps and bounds in his compassion and ability to apologize and seek forgiveness quickly when he realizes he was wrong.
While his body is getting bigger and stronger, so is his heart.
We obviously focus a lot on emotional growth around here. Some because we want to, both family businesses are focused there, but a lot because that’s what we were dealt, we don’t get much choice. Which of course, is no coincidence. But it’s a never-ending dance of holding on and letting go. We’re constantly navigating the path of letting him learn and grow, while still holding him close in relationship. Teaching him to hold tight to wisdom and his people, while he embraces the wonder in exploring new, uncharted waters. I feel like this is his birthday into becoming a little adult.
And it has me thinking.
I wonder how we adults might celebrate our birthdays differently if we could shift the focus away from our aging bodies, to focus more our emotional and relational growth. What if, each year on our birthdays, we reminisced on letting go of things and dreams that no longer serve us? What if we held tighter to celebrating our new-found wisdom, growth and deeper relationships with our people?
Growth is always a dance of holding on and letting go.
Let’s start celebrating that.
Happy Birthday to my baby. Happy growing to you.
to more love,