Big Boys {words of advice from the mother of a little boy}

We had our typical New Year’s Eve meal of “little smokies”, veggies with dip, chips and queso, and Quiche tarts with our children to welcome in the New Year.  We talked about what our favorite parts of 2013 were, and what we were looking forward to in 2014.  The kids stayed up a little later than usual, but were still in bed by 9:00 pm.

Big BoyAs I was getting my 7-year-old son ready for bed, he said, “Now, I’m ready for my big boy stuff!”  By big boy stuff, he was referring to the mouthwash we bought him to assist with his dental care now that he has adult teeth.

As he turned around to show me how he could swish the mouthwash in his mouth, I noticed how small he still looks in his pajamas.  He said the words “big boy”, but in my mind and heart, he is still my little boy.

When he turned around to face the sink, I started to tear up just a bit.  Odd, I know.  Normally the vision of my children brushing their teeth does not cause me to cry, but this time, I took one look at him, and realized that another year has passed in raising this wonderful little boy.

The thought of releasing him to the world one of these days terrifies me.  Truly, the thought of releasing any of my children to the world is frightening.  Yet, I know that I am experiencing the same feelings my parents, my parents’ parents, and my parents’ grandparents must have felt.  With each passing of a New Year, I am brought a little closer to my children growing up, a little closer to the day when they will be out of the house, and a little closer to the day when they too will be navigating the journey of raising children.

I’m asking, on behalf of all mothers and fathers out there, for us to all stop and take a look around at the world we are leaving for our babies.  Those of us around my age and older remember a world free from technology, digital anything, texting, and searing statistics of broken families.  I wish I could bring my babes back to the world I grew up in – back to a world that seemed a little more kid friendly, or maybe even, safer.

Please don’t misunderstand me.  I know we live in a remarkable time.  Just the fact that I’m sitting here from my laptop in Southwest Missouri and sharing my thoughts that will reach other countries, is astonishing.  I know this.  As a mom though, I wonder where all of this is going.  Are we continuing down a path of technology marvel while pulling away from actual relationships?

My “big boy” in his slightly too-big Lego’s pajamas is not ready for the world.  I’m not ready to let him go.  I’m not ready for the times he comes home heart-broken over being picked on, turned down, or disappointed.  I fear the day he walks through the doors, nearly grown, and announces that he’s ready to move out.

Sometimes, I just want to roll back time, and hold him a little closer.  This part…this part of watching children grow up and become less dependent…is both wonderful and heart-breaking at the same time.  And yet, my children are still so young.  I suspect I will feel these emotions with each passing of the New Year.

As the mother of a little boy who thinks he is big (and of a little girl, and infant boy), I have a few words of advice that I would like to share with all of the Big Boys out there:

  1. We were not made to be the same.  The beauty of you, and your friends, is that each of you are uniquely created with talents, ambitions, and inclinations.  My son has quirks, talents, and struggles that make him who he is.  You will never see or even like my son the way that I do, but please, let him be who he is, and I’m pretty sure he will let you be who you are.
  2. Don’t do anything stupid.  Your mother loves you, and worries about you – even though you are bigger.  No matter your age, she will never stop.  Try to go easy on her.
  3. Your role as a man, brother, boyfriend, husband, uncle, father, or grandfather, is vital.  YOU are vital.  Your God-given role is equally important in the lives of children.  I have worked with many children who grieved for a relationship with a father.  Please don’t under-estimate how valuable you are in the lives of little big boys (and little big girls) in the world.
  4. Please know that little big boys look up to you.  They watch all that you do, and say, and they are impressed by it.  Try to make positive, life-affirming impressions on all of the little boys you come in contact with.
  5. Remember, you were once a little big boy.  Think about that.

I know I still have many more years to raise, train, discipline, and enjoy my children. I also know that parenting is a life-long venture.  As time passes, I see that moments of parenting go by quickly.  I will wake up one of these days to an empty home that is not filled with the busyness of children.  There will no longer be lunches to pack, school work to help with, middle of the night wake-up calls, or early morning bed jumpers.  There will just be me, my husband, and the memories of raising our children.

For now, though, I am going to sneak off and give my little big boy a kiss while he sleeps….

Letter of Love

photo (33)I’ve known my husband since we were in our early to mid twenties.  We’ve been a couple for about 19 of the 21 years we’ve known each other.  He’s traversed the valley of infertility with me, jumped right in to foster parenting classes, stayed up late at night to feed the babies, and drove our car with extra care while on our way to our adoption hearings.  We’ve basically grown up together in many ways, and parenting continues to grow us.

It was about 4 years ago when we went through a difficult time with employment.  My husband lost a job just a few weeks before our adoption hearing.  I was quite shocked that a company would let someone go right before an adoption, but never-the-less, our adoption happened.  Several months passed by with no potential employment doors opening for my husband.

As Christmas came around, I could tell that he was worried about what to get me.  It didn’t really matter to me anyway as I knew finances were tight, and I had been given the most amazing gift of my sweet boy through adoption.  I was so thankful to be a mother, and to be able to wake up each morning with the knowledge that my life had been drastically and blessedly changed by motherhood.

We really don’t make a big deal out of presents for each other.  Instead, we enjoy giving gifts to others, and that year, we were so excited to see our son’s expression when he woke up.  As the morning progressed, we headed into the hearth room where our stockings are hung by the chimney.

As I reached my hand into my stocking, I felt a piece of paper.  I pulled out a letter (the one pictured above), and had no idea what in the world it was.  As I unfolded it and started reading, I realized it was a love letter.  It was not one of those “I’ve got a crush on you” kind of notes one may get in high school.  No, this was a love letter from a man to a woman.  It was a letter from his heart to mine. It was a letter of one’s humble admission of loving someone else more than that person would ever know.

There I was sitting half-disheveled in my pajama’s with tears rolling down my cheeks clutching a letter.  All of this occurred while my curly-haired 2-year-old squealed with the delights of Christmas morning.  My husband sat there a little embarrassed and a little stoic.  This letter was the best Christmas present I ever received.  From time to time, I pull the letter out and read it as a reminder of how special marriage is, and how lucky I am to have married someone who is one of the most self-less persons that I know.

This morning while thinking about the gift of that letter on Christmas morning, I thought of the love letter that the Lord has written for us.  Scripture really is our love letter from Him.  It is the grounding wisdom of our history, the guide for our every day walk, and the revelation of our future.  It is His promise skillfully described.

The Word brings life, love, and meaning.  The Word transforms us, shapes us, comforts us, and humbles us.  The Word creates for us the ability to stand firm in our faithful knowledge of the Lord, and it confirms to us how incredibly passionate our Heavenly Father loves each of us.

The Word is Love.

The next  time you need to be reminded of how loved you are, open your Bible and read the Lord’s letter of love written for all of us.

Related Article: Letter to my Lord

Food For Thought Award

the-food-for-thought-award

Thank you to Teresa at http://catholibertarian.com for nominating me for the Food For Thought Award a few weeks ago.  I’m sorry that I missed the 8:00 pm deadline for passing it on though…

Here are the seven Scripture verses that seem to speak to me the most:

  1. Jeremiah 29:11- “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  This verse is one that I believe all Christians should cling on to.  We know our only hope is in the Lord.  We know His will for our lives far outweighs what the world desires for us.
  2. Isaiah 54:10 – Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.  I just love how this verse declares that the Lord will NEVER forsake us.  There is nothing that will take away His love for us.  I also love that it speaks of His love being full of compassion and never-failing.
  3. Romans 5:2-5 – Through him we have also obtained  access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the  glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that  suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character  produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been  poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to  us.  This verse is what I have on my About Me page.  Years ago I may not have rejoiced in my suffering of being barren.  I see now though that the endurance, character, and hope built by suffering are all part of who I am in the Lord.
  4. Psalm 23- The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies, You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  I sang this Psalm just a year after my near-death illness when I was eleven.  The words are ones that have been seared into my memory since that time.  I even wrote a post about it – valley of death, Mercy of Life
  5. Psalm 139:13-16 – For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  I actually favor the entire Psalm 139!  This part though speaks to me of the incredible and brilliant design that the Lord has for all of us.
  6. Luke 12:7- Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.  The very God who created the Universe loves us. Our worth to Him is far greater than we will ever comprehend.  
  7. John 3:16-  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  If one does not believe this verse to be true, then one does not believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

As part of the award, I am to link seven blogs that I enjoy!  Here they are!

  1. Greenlightlady
  2. Wordsmith’s Desk
  3. Infertility Awakening
  4. Simplicity Lane
  5. trbcCoffee Break
  6. Wayne Augden
  7. Unshakable Hope

Here are the instructions if you choose to participate!

  1. Post the award on your blog.
  2. Thank the one who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  3. Share seven of your favorite Bible passages. For extra points (Perhaps our Father in heaven will award them.), explain why each these seven passages is a favorite. Done
  4. Nominate seven other bloggers you admire and enjoy! Why seven? In the Bible, seven symbolizes completeness.
  5. Inform each person that you have nominated them.  Will pass on by tomorrow at 8pm.

Thanks again to Teresa for the nomination!  It is greatly appreciated!

John 14:18 (HIS children)

I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you.

-John 14:18

I was talking in church several years ago to a woman who had spent some time in children’s ministry.  Through the years she had ministered to many hurting children.  An issue that always seems to affect and burden children are when their fathers are absent in their lives.  By all means, I believe that many single women do a wonderful and fantastic job of raising children.  My grandmother raised my mother, and several siblings, after the death of my grandfather.  However, there is something special about the relationship with a father.

In my experience, children long for their fathers.  They want to have a decent, healthy relationship and to at least know they are loved.  The former children’s minister seemed to always have the right words to say to children who mourned their absent fathers.  She said to them, “You may not have an Earthly father by your side, but your Heavenly Father will never leave you and loves you more than anything.”

When I read the verse above, of course, my mind goes to adoption.  Children who were once fatherless are given the joy of having Earthly fathers through adoption.  I also believe that this Scripture verse is a promise to all of us.  We will not be left as orphans.  He has promised His love for all of us.  The Lord loves every human being on Earth.  We are HIS children, and He will not abandon us!

Have a super Sunday~