the one i call "O-bo."

oliver | self portrait.

(the left portrait was done in september, and the right was done late spring.)
doesn't it seem he's grown quite a bit?
at least his outfit has gotten more interesting...
and his expression seems so much more self confident.
and i guess he should be.
he turned nine today.

i think nine is big.
it feels a little like one of the big birthdays.
because it signifies a real marker in our parenting of them:

the half-way point.
 i know they may not be done living with us at 18,
but it's definitely possible.

i was telling oliver about this, and he gave me that little smile
that showed an internal thrill.
i know he'll be great... and i can't wait to know him in that stage too.
but for now when i think about it,

 i get a little panic in my heart 
when i think about them out on their own.
not because i doubt their abilities,
but because there is so much left that i want to show them and teach them

and i worry about all the ways i fail right now.

but my greatest hope
is that my kids will see my failures
and know 

that my story is one 
of failure and redemption.
(on constant repeat)

that repentance
brings freedom.

that perfection
isn't for this place we live.

that there is ONE whose love
is greater than my own
and will never fail them.

if only i could wrap those things up
for my magnificent nine year old
as his gifts this year,
i would.

more on the birthday festivities to come...