This picture makes me cry!

This picture makes me cry!
Thought it was time to change my picture

Monday, June 1, 2015

I Owe It All to My 18 Year Old Son......

The song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” played at our wedding – I stood in foyer of the church and listened to the words knowing that many rough and rocky roads had led me to where I was standing.  The doors swung open and I suddenly became a bride – the crowd stood and your dad’s eyes filled with tears.  I remember looking at you both – the weight of this new adventure rested squarely on my shoulders – truthfully, I was scared to death – I had no idea how to be a wife or a mom so I did the only thing I could…..I put one foot in front of the other and walked down the aisle…..   

Much of the last 10+ years have been like that – me scared to death – just putting one foot in front of the other.  Most days I’m convinced that I’ve made a horrible mess of it all but on days like Saturday, I see a glimmer of hope that just maybe I didn’t totally screw it all up.  I think back to days, like our wedding, where you were waiting at the end of the aisle – you had no idea how it would all work out but you loved me anyway.  There are few moments in life that leave really profound footprints on your heart but that day was one of those for me.  It wasn’t the flowers or the dress or the “wedding” – it was you and dad waiting for me at the end of that aisle.  Prepared to walk through life with me – to love me in spite of the many mistakes I was sure to make.  Completely trusting that I would figure it out, eventually.   

When a child is born there is a physical connection – an instinct that kicks in – a love that bubbles up from somewhere inside of you.  It is undeniable and unexplainable – it is terrifying and amazing all at the same time.  It is a beautiful thing – no doubt – but when God places a child in your life, when He places the hand of that child in yours, something equally amazing happens.  It is also terrifying and amazing – undeniable and unexplainable.  It is a miracle in the rarest of forms – there is suddenly a connection that is created, not by blood or DNA, but by God.  There is a love that defies all odds and knows no boundaries for it isn’t supported by anything that science can explain.   

No one could have prepared me for being your mom – no one could have explained what it means to be “picked” by someone.  You had a choice and you chose me – undeserving and flawed and imperfect (although I’m sure the chocolate chip cookies helped) – you believed in me, you loved me, you respected me, you made me your mom.  The gift that you gave me is one that most people will never understand – every parent is blessed but few are given the gift of parenthood by a child that had a choice. 

I’ve certainly failed you on more than one occasion – I’ve been impatient and short tempered – I’ve worked too much and taken a lot of moments for granted but I hope that you know how grateful I am that you chose me.  I hope you know that on the hardest of days I think back to you standing at the front of that church and I draw strength – how could I offer anything less than my best when that sweet 7 year old boy is cheering me on.  How can I doubt myself when such an amazing kid saw enough in me to believe that I would figure it all out.  You made me a mom and that is a blessing that I will never take for granted.   

I love you more than you can possibly fathom – my heart aches when I think about you not being at home but I know the man you’ve become and I know you will do amazing things.  Always remember that when things get tough, I believe in you and I choose you – EVERY SINGLE TIME.  Nothing – not time or distance or DNA can change that – I will always be a phone call away.  I’ll be on a plane, I’ll get on a boat, I’ll charter a sub, I’ll do whatever it takes to be there, if you need me.  Never doubt my love for you or the place you have in my heart – you are my hero, my firstborn, my retirement plan (just kidding about the retirement thing – well kind of).  I love you and I’m forever in your debt.



A baby dedication - 18 years later.....

I sat in that auditorium with 6000 other parents/family members – all cheery faced and excited to watch their teenager walk across the stage.  I wondered if I was the only one that secretly wished that my kid had failed a couple of grades.  As I sat there I replayed so many moments in my head – this was the day or reckoning – this was the day of true sacrifice. 


When our babies were newborn we dedicated them to God.  We stood in front of our church family, locked arm in arm with each other, faces beaming with pride and gave a vow to God to raise our children to be Godly people.  We gave them back to God – we admitted that He alone was the giver of this precious gift and that we would ultimately trust Him with this precious life.  Then we strapped our sleepy bundle of joy back in their carseat, covered them with a blanket, went home, locked the doors, tucked them in to bed and listened to the baby monitor all night long…..prepared to jump in to superhero mode if we heard so much as a whimper. 


As the years went by, we walked them to school – I trust you God.  We watched them as they walked down the hall to class (out of sight of course) – I trust you God.  We screened friends (and their parents), we called cell phones, we waited up, we made balanced meals, we monitored homework and internet use – I trust you God.  We lectured, we loved, we laughed, we cried – but today…….today felt different.  I couldn’t follow him down the hall.  My moments were slipping away, like sand in an hourglass.  Soon the rubber would meet the road.  Would I really trust God with my precious gift?  How could anyone love him the way that I love him – how could anyone know him like I do – how could anyone truly understand what an amazing heart my boy has??    


To you, he looks like a teenager.  Gangly and clumsy – growing in to a fine young man.  You may see a US Navy Sailor – the one who will defend the freedom of this great country.  You see a young boy full of hopes and dreams – full of puppy love for the high school sweetheart he will leave behind.  His future seems bright – the possibilities are endless – he is excited to start his journey.  So why do I feel like Abraham – leading Isaac up the mountain.  Why does my heart feel such pride and sorrow all at the same time??  Gladness and grief both struggling to occupy the same spot in my heart??


As I sit in the stands and watch my boy, now a man, make his way across the stage, I am overcome with fear.  How do I let him go – how do I know that I’ve done my part - how did the years slip by so fast, so unnoticed?  I scrutinize every word, every action, every moment and I know that now is when I must truly trust God to take care of him.  Now is the true dedication – now is when I really lay him before the throne.  Now is where I let go and letting go is hard – he is my boy, my friend, my biggest blessing and my hero – I will miss him, his laughter, his sighs when I ask him to take out the trash – even his dirty room.  And my heart aches because I know that this moment changes everything.


This boy that we’ve spent the last 18 years loving and protecting will get hurt, he will fall, he will fail, he will get his heart broken.  He will probably see atrocities that most of us only see on television, he will bear a weight that many of us cannot even fathom.  He will be lonely and scared – he will cry – he will miss my home cooking.  I know all of this and yet I must lay him down – I must let go.  My opportunity is gone – my role as his mother is changing with every second – now is where I realize the weight of the vow that we made all those years ago……