One by one the college fliers started to arrive in the mail. With great anticipation, my son runs and grabs them from my hand. I show little interest at first. I know if I do, I’ll have to admit that he too will be growing up and away all too soon.
My mind drifts back to a moment a few years ago, when my youngest daughter started her freshman year at college. For the first time in over 25 years, I was sitting on the couch in silence…well, for about 3 minutes at least. My son, 12 at the time, barreled his way into the living room and pounced next to me on the couch. He moved in close and the waterfall of tears began. The poor kid had no clue what was happening. But I knew in that moment, that God in His infinite wisdom knew I was not ready to be an empty nester – that is why He gave me my fourth child years after the others. There was still the two of us. (and my husband of course, but this story is about my son and I).
You see, there are six years between my son and youngest (and 12 between him and my oldest) . I was perfectly content years ago with my three little girls and the news that I was pregnant knocked me off my feet. It was surprising how tearful I was about the news. I had just started a new job and thought “how am I going to do this all over again?”. I had just gotten rid of the last of the baby things.
Over the years, I often felt bad that my son was so far separated from not only his sisters, but from our extended family as well. He often missed out on special moments and relationships that the girls took for granted; or would end up teased and alone.
Today, my little boy turns 16!
One of the hardest parts of a mom’s love is to let her children grow up and away, but it must be done – and it has been here already…twice! But, today the finality of these fleeting moments with my son hit hard. The days of me leading and him following are all but gone, but I count my blessing that he still chooses to join me on those mundane trips to the bank, or the grocery store – just the two of us.
This summer I’ve watched my son turn into an amazing young man. I watched with admiration as he took on small building projects that, over the years, he’s learned from the skills taught to him by his father and grandfathers. He willingly worked around the house when his dad could not be around. This once scrawny little kid is now a young man with amazing strength and yes, a fuzzy lip and chin. He recently had to speak at our church for something and I remember thinking “who is this young man who speaks so confidently?”.
Before long the days of tripping over sports equipment, making lunches and stuffing backpacks will be gone and we’ll have to make room for car keys, college, and moving away. I don’t stay in that thought for long, because today, I just want to hold him and be in this moment, just the two of us, and say these words while I still can…
Happy Birthday, my beautiful child.
Today, we celebrate your life – the precious life God allowed me to help Him raise. I hope I tell you often enough. I am so proud of the young man that you have become. I watched you as a child struggle to find your way. You chose the road less traveled and I worried, but God had a hold of your heart – and you listened to Him. You choose your friends wisely and seek integrity over popularity. You give to others as naturally as you breathe. You stand up for your beliefs and respect those who disagree. You have been hurt and forgotten by others, yet you remain full of hope and forgiveness always. And my favorite – you always kiss me goodbye, no matter who is around – like it’s just the two of us.
I love you with all my heart and all my soul.Always and forever, my baby you’ll be.