It has been such a joy to see Big Brother A's personality becoming clearer in the last few months. The hard hellos and goodbyes with our foster babies have magnified his strengths. I have learned so much about my big boy.
He's an encourager. He says things like "Good job, Mommy!" and "You're so beautiful!" He is so great at noticing the beauty in little things, especially outside. Every stick, stone, and "helicopter" seed is unique and to be admired. Every little clover flower and dandelion is a prize to be picked and shared with Mommy. I have almost missed so many beautiful things because of my business, but he helps me to slow down and notice the little beauties in God's great earth. It's almost always worth stopping to check out whatever he wants to show me.
He tells his baby brothers how much he loves them. He tries to teach and help them and tells them constructive, instructive things (no, they can't understand, but he is so sweet when he tries!).
My big guy is a source of joy and strength for me. Of course, he's almost three, and he comes with plenty of challenges. But I am able to pour into him and see the fruit of that hard work. And I am able to see how my mistakes fade away over time by God's grace.
My boy is forgiving. He is caring. He loves hugs and kisses. He tells me when the baby is crying and what the baby needs. He's actually surprisingly good at knowing!
My boy is striving toward independence. I know it is common for children to regress a bit when a new baby comes along, and I expected this with him. There have been very few moments of regression, though. Big Brother A has, for the most part, bravely attempted to do everything possible by himself. He has ungrudgingly shared his parents' time and attention with baby brothers who come and go. He talks about how he is helping them to grow and get bigger, and it is really true. All of his hard work gives us so much more to pour into these babes without having to take from Big Bro, and leaves us still with extra time to spend one-on-one with him.
I don't care if the boots are on the wrong feet. I'm just thankful that he's cheerfully putting them on by himself!
Josh and I have hoped that foster care would help to teach Big Brother compassion for others. I think I can see that starting already. I think it adds to his natural giftedness toward encouragement.
And in the dark moments when foster care feels too hard or when we've just said goodbye to another little son, our Big Brother A is a source of joy and hope for the future. He's our forever boy. He gives us hugs and speaks kind words and seeks us out when he is lonely or afraid. He sings out praises to God in a loud and unashamed voice, reminding me that we have a great God who is worthy of my praise in the good times and the hard times.
We're celebrating his third birthday soon. Birthdays are such a different thing as a mom. Suddenly, it's not about giving and getting presents. It's about celebrating one of God's greatest gifts to me. I love you, Big Brother A. You are a steady source of sunshine in my life, and I thank God for you every day.