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Eighteen Years A Mother

March 1, 2015

Tuesday marks an impactful milestone in the lives of my oldest son and myself. He enters legal (though questionable) adulthood and I join the other mothers of adult children, a toughened, unique club of hardy members. As I contemplated writing this, I realized immediately that in doing so, I am bound to make my much older future self laugh at what now seems wise, and will surely then echo of foolishness. I say this as I look back on the little happy, hopeful fool that I was when I first had him. I was twenty and thought I knew it all. I thought I would do things differently, dare I say better, even, than my own dear Ma. In a way, I think we all launch off in life with this frame of mind. It’s a good thing we’re made of clay, so the flaws can get ironed out over time and experience.

When I think of my son’s future, I have both hope and sorrow. I didn’t expect those kinds of feelings when I gave birth…no, everything was sunshine-filled golden days ahead. I’ve always been both grateful and scornful of my wild imagination! The world I gave birth to him in, did not look like the one I will release him into. He’s not quite out the door yet, but soon, whether by merit or poor choice, he will be and I will have to apply grace on my part, to his exit. Why does the world have to be so mucky? It was safer when I flew the coop…the enemy was hidden…but now, he’s in your face, no matter which way you turn. I am grateful that he has the Good Lord’s protection, that he’s completely covered in prayers from those who love him. He’s a blessed man-child, to know so much love, to have such a solid family structure. And now my thoughts turn to him. Will he choose to get married, have children? I hope he waits. I hope he enjoys life and gets solid footing before he jumps into such commitments. I hope he finds success waiting around every corner, and I hope God continues to protect him, when I no longer can.

I’m a fiercely protective mother. I know it’s flawed, as I tried to shield them from so many awful possibilities. I hope one day they grow to appreciate all the measures I’ve taken to ensure they know right from wrong, because in this world of so many shades of gray, there still remains the solid truth…Truth (The Way, the Truth, and the Life). Good is definite and evil is definite. Our family’s been blessed with the Truth for centuries.

When I was pregnant with Sammy, the nightmares began. I would have a recurring nightmare that someone snagged my baby out of the grocery cart when I turned my back. You can bet I never ever turned my back on my boys when they were young! With my second son, I had a similar dream where he ran away, far away, and I could not catch him. I never knew fear until I knew the fears of motherhood.

I think it is through mothering this particular sweet child, that I began to learn that I could trust more in God. Granted, my third son’s birthing experience really cemented that trust, but it is through His gestures in our lives that we come to know and trust Him more, and well, my oldest gave me a few opportunities for such growth, and it’s a good thing…because I know I’m going to need that trust in the years ahead and I’m grateful to have it!

When Sam was just learning how to walk, he began to toddle down the steps into our yard, one beautiful Spring day, when suddenly, he lost his balance. I was right behind him, but could not move fast enough to catch him, and time seemed to slow down a notch, as I watched his precious face head right towards the tomato stake that I had fixed my little tomato plant to. Fear seized my heart until I saw, with my own two eyes, him move, as if pushed or bumped, away from the stake. He landed roughly, but safely beside the staked plant and all I could do was say, “Thank You Jesus!” as I picked him up and told him he had amazing angels (covering him with kisses while surely squishing him with hugs)!

The joy of my days

The joy of my days

His Heavenly Guard’s next display came on a grey, slightly foggy fall morning, I was pregnant with my forth son, and was seeing Sammy off to his bus stop. Sam crossed the street, not seeing the big grey dodge truck barreling down the road at an unusually high speed (we lived in a quiet neighborhood, and most people observed the low speed limits, so this truck really seemed to come out of nowhere.) Again, I saw the truck, but couldn’t get to Sam fast enough or get his attention to RUN!! But my eyes saw something happen that is not possible, lest a tree be there. The truck came to an instant stop, inches from Sammy’s little nose. Only a supernatural force could’ve caused the truck to stop like that, and all I could do was scoop up my son, praise the Lord and then, due to the fear, chide him severely, the rest of the way to the bus stop! Sometimes, fear brings out the worst in us, and relief comes out like steam.

Somewhere along the way, I learned that these children are not my own, but are God’s, and I’m just caring for them in the meantime. He proved that where I’ll fail due to human limitations, He would not. I trust hard in that, to this day. I know He will finish the work he started in my son, and I know that my son will continually experience revelations in his own life that will draw him closer to Our Father and will mend some of our broken fence posts, as well. You couldn’t have told me that raising boys was hard, when they were young, if you tried…but people…it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I constantly feel as if I’m failing…but I still hold on to faith. These people that have been forming under my roof will have to learn the hard way, just as we all did, in one way or another…well, there are a few I’ve met that make me wonder if they ever had to learn the hard way…I’m not one of them, by a longshot!

me and Sam

The morning Sam was born, I had a major revelation in love. In a way that I could not have possibly understood before, I recognized the depth and commitment and solidarity of God’s unconditional love. I just thought I knew what love was, before that. I could not have loved more deeply, than in that moment, if I had tried. As they grew to disappoint, Nazareth’s song, “Love Hurts” really began to hit home, it hurts, it does, it does, it does. I thought about the ways that I must’ve really deeply hurt Our Father, and that made me all the more sorrowful for having committed such sins. I recognized a deeper connection as a mother, with the Supreme Father.

(On a side note, I didn’t know that “Love Hurts” was recorded by a group named Nazareth…there’s some irony to that…don’t ya think? I’m sure Jesus wouldn’t argue that Love Hurts. He loved us so much, He took our punishment upon Him. Hated, cursed, spit upon, beaten until bruised, bloody, exhausted, crucified, tortured upon the cross…Yes, Jesus knows love can be painful!)

Tough love…something pretty popular when I was growing up, has gotten tougher in a world that seems to be all about rewards. It’s slowly becoming incomprehensible to this newest generation. Sam and his brothers have been rewarded with ceremonies for completing expected tasks such as pre-k, kindergarten, junior high…rewarded with ribbons for simply participating in some recreational sports, and I was blatantly truthful with them, with each “achievement”, telling them that it’s ridiculous in practice to award everyone. Mama will even admit that it’s tougher today to parent than it was when she raised us, as entitlement has been programmed into them through those false rewards. Kids these days expect instant gratification and the world served up to them on a silver platter…or silver ipod…

On the day we brought him home, we were flanked by bluebonnets, during our drive up I-35 from Austin to our home just north. I was so proud as a Texan, that my firstborn son was born in the capital (right down the street from that grand historic building), and that the bluebonnets bloomed in time to help usher him home. Like the red carpet of Hollywood, the blue carpet was rolled out by the Heavens to celebrate the birth of my little prince.

peace like a river

peace like a river

I see fabulous signs of strength, integrity and valor in him now, though age keeps them hidden sometimes under a cloud of teen angst. For years, I’ve given him the responsibility of getting himself and his brothers up for school, and he has never, NOT EVER once failed to do so. He can build fences, run heavy equipment (tractors/dozers), weld, run all saws (including chainsaws…his angels saved him again…not his shorts…and oh how I long for the day he shares that testimony!!), he’s an amazing ball player (though he will deny this…so deluded he is, breaks this mother’s heart!!)…he’s prolific in thought and speech when he cares enough and I just think he’s so handsome and lovable, I only hope one day he can see himself as God does. As I do, even.

such a pro

such a pro

He’s been a great kid. His struggles were mostly scholastic, because he’s a lot like me…we learn better in tangible manners, and the controlled environment is stifling…so I just know, just like me, he too will come into his own, taking everything he has learned and make it work for him. I’m grateful that he’s not leaving yet, even though some days, it’s tough to feel that way. I know God will help me overcome these newest fears I’m experiencing. I know He’s not the one giving me these feelings…but it’s hard to even think about my son being on his own sometimes, even though he’s so close to being fully equipped to take on the world without me…

IMG_3855

He’s a great shot. Last year, he brought home 2 deer and 1 hog, that helped feed us for quite a time. He’s got great humor, and I’ll miss it when he does leave. There’s a pain associated with this change in life that I know will heal, but can leave me a little raw and emotional. I get nostalgic, remembering so many sweet moments, with that happy boy, running through so many fields, trekking along so many creeks, rivers, lakes…I’m so grateful for all those times, for they will be the salve as I face the same process three more times with Sam’s younger brothers. A one, two, three, punch for sure.

There are moments where I dream of the day my home is clean and free of their dirt, grime and sometimes grimy behaviors, but those moments don’t last. Reality is a harsh wench that slaps me back into place…a mother on the cusp of empty nesting…yes, my youngest is only 12 and we have a ways to go, but looking back on the past 18 years, I’m no fool in the game of Time. It goes fast…and I’m just holding on for dear life!

Eighteen years ago, I was so young and naïve, and baby Sammy was the cherry on top of the cake that life seemed to be. He had healing qualities, my mother believed, as she felt better after he would toddle around her, loving on her, while she was undiagnosed, yet suffering from a vicious form of cancer (which later she would triumph over with the Good Lord’s help, HALLELUJAH!). I wouldn’t be surprised if Sam doesn’t bring healing into the lives of others through out his long, prosperous life. We are all, those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior, instruments of the Lord, and we will be used, whether willingly and knowingly or not, in the Kingdom Building ventures of Our Master Carpenter and King!

It’s been said from the beginning, that Sam’s an old soul. When he was born, he resembled a very displeased old man; his face and wild cries said, “Oh no, not this again!” I don’t know what to think about reincarnation (how else will Elijah ever come back), but this really was our mutual thought when looking at the little wise acre…he just seemed to know something. There have been times where he seemed to parent me, always sage in his approach, though later own, carrying a pompous undertone…that darned teenaged angst! But he has always amazed me by his decisions concerning certain inevitable invitations. He makes very mature decisions which many under peer pressure seem unable to make. So part of me can barely wait to witness the man he becomes!

1 year old

1 year old

He’s really blessed to have come from a long line of good men. His great-grandfathers, grandfathers, and father were(are) faithful providers for their families and maintain(ed) good reputations as they grew older. They all have deeply rooted faith and I see no reason for that beautiful legacy not to continue. But there’s the 20-30 gap that makes my heart stop. I went through it with my own parents…they were wrong, I was right, stayed away so there was no fight…yeh…I was not right. I’ve told them as much about 100 times in 100 ways, too! HAHA! So I figure, eventually we’ll jump that hurdle (well, I may have to climb over it…) too.

Until then, I’m eighteen years worn and wise and excited for my son’s next steps in life.

And to my son, I say, “Vaya con Dios, y con mi amor todos”…if that’s off, it’s because it’s been ions since I took Spanish! 😉 Go with God and all of my love, dear son.

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