I didn’t think I could be a boy mom. Until I had you.

When I first got pregnant, I dreamed of what life would be like with a baby. Immediately my thoughts gravitated to pink ruffle dresses, big hair bows and adorable baby dolls.

See, I thought of myself as a girl mom. I knew I was going to have a girl. I felt ready and able to parent a daughter.

Elaborate pretend play, princess dress-up, crafting and pink everything comes naturally to me. I often questioned, "Do I really have what it takes to raise a boy?"

I didn’t have to answer that right away: We learned at our ultrasound scan that we were expecting a girl.

Fast-forward two years and we were about to hear the gender of our second baby. Again, I felt confident in my ability to raise girls. But, to my surprise this time, we were told “It’s a boy!”

Although I was immediately excited, I would be lying if I didn't say I was a little nervous. I didn't know if I had it in me to be a boy mom.

Now that my son is nearing his second birthday, I cannot imagine life without him. His birth has changed my life. I have a new perspective formed by some incredible lessons about raising boys...

Boys show love in such meaningful ways

To my sweet baby, I didn't know I needed a son, until I had you. There is something special about the mother-son bond. Your hugs mean to the world to me. When you fall down and ask for a mommy kiss, it melts my heart. Though you may be tough in your play and always wanting adventure, you have a tender spot. You love your mama.

I pray I never forget your cuddly hugs and sweet kisses. Because I know there will a day when you aren't as willing to give them. May I soak it all in now. May I keep all these things of your childhood in my heart. You are so special, son!

Boys help you view the world in a new way

I'm constantly amazed at the things you comes up with. You see life through a different lens and it's fascinating to see things from your perspective. To you, life is an adventure. It's all about exploring, experimenting and conquering. Your play is very different from your sister’s: It is loud, rough, wild—and I love it. Although this may not come naturally to me, this is exactly who you were created to be.

You see pots and pans in the play kitchen and instead of cooking, you start playing the drums. It's adorable to watch. You have stretched my narrow mind and shown me all the different possibilities of play and adventure. I'm slowly learning to sit back and watch. Instead of always trying to control the situation and show you how to do something, I'm learning to take a step back. You often comes up with a different solution than I would have suggested.

As a mother, it's so tempting to always step in and help. But when I let you figure things out on your own, it's amazing to see how much you grow from the situation! Many times you are more capable than I even realize.

It’s an honor to raise you into a man

Before I had you, I joked I was nervous about having a boy because I didn't want to deal with the puberty phase. Certainly your dad will play a big role in my your life, especially as you grow. That being said, I now realize how important my role is. It is a privilege to raise a son and watch you grow into a gentleman.

I now understand I can change the next generation. I can raise a son who is respectful, a protector, diligent and understanding. I have been given a special role as a nurturer and encourager. With God's help, I can shape your character and your heart. What an awesome responsibility!

If it weren't for your birth, I would have never learned how adventurous life can be... How exhilarating it is to drive cars all around the house... How fun it is to see airplanes fly across the sky... How beautiful it is to see things through a little boy's eyes.

I love you, son.

Lauren Gaines has a background in school psychology and she currently is stay-at-home mom chasing two adorable toddlers. She loves to encourage other moms who are in the trenches. Follow her on Heart of Deborah, Facebook and Instagram.

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