First, God, make my son a man after your own heart. With his every word and deed, let him preach the tender spirit of Christ to those around him. Let him question you and question his birth-spirituality, so that his faith may grow strong and steady on its own. Lord, when he questions it all and searches for his own answers, give me faith in him (and faith in you) that he will settle upon the answers you mean him to find.
God, let him stay a baby as long as possible. Never let me rush one second of his development, and never let him wish a moment of it away. Because life is very long, and childhood is but a magical and fleeting moment.
Let me always be able to soothe his tears as easily as I can now. Bless my memory, that I may never forget the tiniest detail of his babyhood.
When he becomes mobile, and I go to turn his pockets out to do laundry, help me not to die of panic and grossed-outness by the wealth of dirt, slime, bug and critters I will find. Allow me to see it all as treasures he has discovered while exploring his new world, and give me fortitude that I may not embarrass myself by crying when a cricket jumps out towards my face.
And when he is older and has friends in our car, remind me Lord, not to sing out loud. (Unless the song is “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”. Then all bets are off. Although with your strength, I MAY be able to leave out the instrumental sound effects. Maybe.)
May he know want, but never need. Need is a dark, empty, hungry place. Want is an inspiration to work more, try harder, be better.
God, keep him healthy. Protect him from illness and suffering. Know that his every cough and sniffle hurts my heart, and if I can bargain it with you, I will gladly take any illness of his upon myself.
Give him the courage and confidence to always stand his ground and believe in himself. Protect him from bullies, and insulate him from their inevitable taunts. And if he ever becomes a bully himself, Lord, give him someone to whup it out of him, because if they don’t – I WILL.
Allow me to never make any mistakes or missteps in my parenting. And, barring that impossibility, make my infractions minor and his forgiveness quick.
Midway through my pregnancy, I retired to bed in order to keep him safe. Now, I spend my days protecting him from harm. But I know that one day, he will walk out of my reach. Lord, keep my boy safe. Protect him from all who wish him harm. Protect him from his peers who will prod him towards dangerous behavior. Protect him (perhaps most of all) from himself.
May he never pop his collar. May he never wear highly reflective sunglasses - or sunglasses of any type at night or inside a building. May he never wear baggy pants or ironic t-shirts. And if he does commit any of these sins (or whatever silly fashions his generation creates), Lord, help me to remember a girl in white Guess jeans, a denim jacket and penny loafers with neon socks, and to not tease him too harshly.
Help strengthen me, that I may tolerate long and late nights as well when he learns to drive as I do now in his infancy. Allow my constant presence when he returns home to be both a comfort and an annoyance that spurs him to always make curfew.
Lord, ensure that my son always treats women with the greatest of respect. Remind him that every girl is somebody’s daughter – not least of all, she is your daughter.
One day he may fall in love with one of those women. Lord, I ask that you go to the little girl that woman is today. Lay your word on her heart, that she may be a woman worthy of you and worthy of my son. Soften her heart, that she may see the world through your eyes. Make her be gentle and kind to his lovely heart. Let her love you and love him in a way that will endear my son to further his walk with you.
And when he marries this woman, help her to see him as I see him now - as he was when he was just a tiny baby in my arms. Let her know how dearly I love him, and know that he is the light of my life. And (please God) allow her to permit the love between my son and I. She should know that my tenderness and concern towards him is not a doubting of her standing as his wife, but an outflowing of love for the little boy who once needed me as he will then need her.
Then, when he shall have his firstborn, let us be close enough that he calls me in bleary tones to confide that the baby will not sleep, or is making a mess with his foods, or is wearing the entire household to exhaustion. And Lord, when those calls come, give me the strength to not giggle and bleat a cry of “REVENGE!” – or at least, not out loud.
Thank you, God, for the blessing that is my sweet boy.