ten {a birthday celebration}

celebrate you. celebrate ten. a birthday weekend.

what do you do to pause and mark a moment in your child's life?

how do you sum up the past 3,650 days?

it's another birthday, but there's a stirring in me that we need to pause for what's ahead.

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it's in the thinking about the future.

about who his friends will be. and the increasing influence they'll have.

about what he will hear at school. in the boy's bathroom.

it's in the praying together at bedtime.

it's in the challenging homework.

it's in the purchase of deodorant for him for the first time.

it's in the watching of this firstborn growing older.

we aren't here to sit on the sidelines.

we've got an active role to play. and we're not going to wait for him to hear things elsewhere.

we want to lead him well. we want to set him up for success.

we know we only play a part and that God has magnificently written His story for him.

but if you see us do anything as parents, we want you to see that we are intentional in how we gracefully lead and guide.

hence...

celebrate you. celebrate ten. a birthday weekend.

we had already carved out the weekend with destination, dates, and a dinner, but we knew we would need some guidance.

our dear friends suggested a resource that creatively walks through a talk on purity, peer pressures, dating, and much more.

we ordered passport to purity and used it as our guide for conversations over the weekend. {we highly recommend it}

this weekend was a gift to our son. we wanted him to feel loved extravagantly.

we got his input on entertainment and food options and made our plan.

friday, ben and elijah went for an overnight stay in a nearby city. they enjoyed ribs and Dave and Busters.

all along, having talks and listening to passport to purity.

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saturday afternoon, we celebrated as a family with presents.

saturday evening, elijah and i went on a date. {this coordinated with a talk on dating from passport to purity}

we dined well! we chose a place that is very special to me and ben.

elijah was able to comprehend that dates are a big deal.

ben gave him cash ahead of time and i helped guide him how to pay for the meal and leave a tip.

we talked about girls (a little bit) and i was blessed to have one on one time to tell him how proud i am to be his mom.

i shared with him how mature he's become in the past few months.

"mom, i know i'm going to have some decisions to make in the future and i'm glad i can talk to you and dad about it. but there are some things that i'm going straight to dad about!" {i didn't make this up!}

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we topped the weekend off by having some guys over for dinner who pour into elijah's life.

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we certainly could have invited so many more!

elijah requested wings. this mom and dad delivered.

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as the guys gathered around the table, they took turns sharing stories about their childhoods and lessons they've learned. how did i know this? i did what any momma would do...i took a spot around the corner on the stairs. i sat overwhelmed that this could be taking place. that there are men in elijah's life that love him enough to speak truth and to help him stay on the right path. that my husband led the evening through prayer. through laughter. through words of encouragement.

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oh, i almost forgot. from all across the country, i asked friends and family to celebrate elijah with us though they couldn't be here in person. i requested, if possible, for them to send a pack of baseball cards! and so many did. so throughout the weekend, at mealtime, in the van, on his pillow, in his chair, he'd find these cards. he was delighted and surprised each time he opened one. thank you.

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why you say?

why age 10?

friends, no matter how sheltered you raise your kids, they are exposed to more at an earlier age. we must get ahead of the culture and not let the culture lead our kids. we want our kids to hear truth from us as we understand Scripture before they get told otherwise. we know ten seems early, and honestly, our son was not asking questions or expressing curiosity in the subject. but once again, we want to be ahead of the culture and we know as their bodies experience change along with their peers, there will be small talk at school.

why the talk?

if you don't, someone else will. and then they gain your child's trust and interest, not you.

why passport to purity?

i much prefer someone's recommendation. we highly respect our friends who went through this with their son a few months ago. the kit is for boys and girls. you chose the cds in the case based on the gender. it comes with a journal that helps them follow along and includes devotionals. it even comes with additional ideas for a weekend similar to what we did.

why a weekend?

the weekend didn't demand change. we aren't expecting him to act differently. what it did was create intentional time for us to have with him. it gave us moments to speak to him specifically based on his personality, wiring, and maturity. over the course of a few days, he began to see that this was very important to us and he noticed and affirmed that it all was special to him. we carve out time each month to spend one on one with our kids, so to make this special it needed to be more than one day. it also kept the subject of purity ongoing so he could process as he needed.

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 but i will admit.

something did change this weekend for me.

i know he knows things he didn't know before {blush, blush}

and with that comes a loss of innocence.

but what is stronger is what we seemed to have gained through the weekend.

we gained a deeper relationship with our firstborn.

we gained a fresher respect for each other.

he knows now, more than ever before, that we are in this life with him and are cheering and praying for him!