Friday, August 19, 2016

Age of Innocence

My 16 year old fell asleep last night in my bed.

I lost count of how many times I awoke, not because his giant frame took up most of the space, but to soak up the moment, to pray for him, and to stare at his changing face while he dreamt. 

I'm grateful my son still enjoys cuddling with mom and dad. Every hug he ever gives is savored but I'm most thankful for the conversations we have. Oh, the giggles we share late at night.

Sometimes those talks break my heart though, when I realize all he is hit with daily.

Which led me to my prayers. Last night, I had the privelege to literally put hands on and pray over him as he slept.  I don't know that I ever prayed as much as a momma as I have these teenage years. You think as a new mom, or mother of a toddler you worry, but it just increases as they age.  We just want the very best for our babies, no matter how old they are.

As a child loss mom, I know I pray for safety and protection, maybe more than the average parent. Because I know the unimaginable. Maybe I over-pray...if such a thing exists. In reflection, it's probably a sign of my worry and not giving it to God as I should. I say I trust in the plans He has for his future...but then I want to put conditions on what it holds.

As I found myself staring at his face in the moonlight, a mix of sweet innocence and manhood, I wished that I could reach out and push pause.  While he's barreling down the highway of life, eager to reach the next milestone, I'm pressing the invisible breaks of his childhood.

Days when I catch him watching cartoons or wrestling on the floor with dad, I'm thankful for the innocence of the moment. But then I sigh knowing his childhood is slipping away. And I'm not naive, as I know he's exposed to way more to any 16 year old should be, but that's the world in which we live. As such, I want to bubble wrap and trap him in the safety of our house. Yet I also know living life is what he needs to grow, no matter how difficult it may be for him.  Or me.

There are so many more temptations and stressors he faces as a teen compared to my generation. I can't help but worry about the decisions he'll make. Part of me hopes what we've instilled in him sticks, but the other knows mistakes and bad choices are a part of growing up.

And I've got to show the same love in the messes that I do in the blessings. While we have high expectations for him, he also needs to know we'll always be his safe place to fall.  

Because isn't that the same God offers us?

My teens and twenties were littered with mistakes and bad choices, but those lessons are what shaped and made the woman I am today. Sometimes those decisions are what led me closest to God.

Being a parent is the most precious, rewarding and difficult job to ever have.  You're responsible for the outcome of a future adult but there's also a season where you have to let go and let God. I know that's coming for us soon. And maybe that's what He wanted me to hear today.

Maybe someone out there reading needs to hear it too.

No matter which side of messy you're on, God is always there ready to go elbow deep to meet you in grace and love.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

First Day Firsts

I've always been a weepy woman, tears streaming against my control at a sappy love story or goosebump moment in life.  As such, the guys often make fun of me, or turn in unison to see if I'm crying at the sign of something emotional.  Even knowing this, it took me by surprise that I was so teary on the first day of school.

Noah's been driving since the beginning of the year but today was his first day driving himself to class.  I thought I was prepared for it - until he backed out of the drive.  Walking back into the house from our annual photo opp, it hit me that he'd probably never again ride shotgun in the mornings or after school.  Though our drives were brief, they were memorable and I will miss sharing that time together.

The morning went much smoother than anticipated, another sure sign my baby is growing up.  He was ready to head out the door before his dad even arrived home from work.  Sitting together on the couch, I decided to bring back the morning verse of the day.

We started this tradition when the boys were younger, as it was a quick and easy way to get them in the Word each day.  Alternating between Psalm and Proverbs, you choose the date for your verse.  Noah flipped to Psalm and found there was no 8:10 so he moved to Proverbs.  It was so fitting for the first day of school and I hope Noah felt God's presence in the room.  I pray He covers Noah with protection this school year, guides his steps and decisions, and guards his heart.  While I want him to do well as a Junior academically, it is more important to me that he follow the wisdom and knowledge gained from this book...

I can hardly contain myself, as I want to text and check on his day; however, I will refrain for now.  You best believe I'll be ready with our annual cupcakes to share and hear all about it this evening.

Meanwhile, if you're wanting a distraction from all that back-to-school paperwork, here are some of my favorite school related posts from the past.

My handsome junior, no more bus rider

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Morning, Glory

Tomorrow begins the end of summer sleep and the start of an earlier alarm clock.

With a sleepy-headed son who snoozed right through a window installation, I'm not seeing joyful mornings in my future.  I'm determined though to make them as cheerful as possible.

Armed with an array of oils, (including wild orange/peppermint - his favorite wake-up combo) my diffuser is strategically placed and ready to spray.  Because he has a rare night off, I'm planning a family dinner and movie tonight to get us settled before bed.  I'm arranging many snooze alarms on both our phones and may even have to drag out the water gun.

This morning was our second "trial run" before school begins.  The past two days I've woke Noah extra early, hoping to rearrange his internal clock.  Morning one was rocky.  I was hesitant stepping out of bed this morning for fear of the same but then I checked my attitude.

More than anything, I know my outlook will help determine the mood of the house.  If I wake up grumpy and have little patience in stirring him out of bed, he's likely to wake with a snippy attitude.  If I face the day with a smile, I have better odds of getting a chipper "morning, mom" and perhaps even a grin.

And isn't that much like life?

If we face it with a bitter or sour or depressed attitude, that is what we'll get in return.  But if we start our day on a positive note, chances are happier faces will greet you.  I also find that when I end and start my day in prayer, I'm prepared for pretty much anything that comes my way.

Lately, I've been going to bed listening to the Bible.  A few years back I remember reading that Beth Moore sometimes went to bed with her Bible on her face, because she just felt she needed to be that close to the word of God.  As I am a tad on the claustrophobic side, I've discovered my Ipad timer can read me to dreamland.  I've found that my dreams are more pleasant and I've even woke singing songs of worship since doing so.  Now, if I could just set an alarm to read me awake....

Fixing breakfast and walking out the door, I noticed earth is aware of the back to school calendar too.  I'm not sure how it knows we turn the page to August, but like clockwork, my trees are fading ever so slightly and the morning glories have begun to bloom.  These are sure signs that fall is near!

Praying all those who are facing a new school year have joyful mornings and a blessed season, whether you're a momma juggling alarm clocks, supplies and sack lunches, a kiddo adjusting from carefree summer days to a stricter schedule, or the school staff who has to greet them both with a smile.

**Please ignore my "natural" flower bed and the miscellaneous ivy that is growing through my plants.  Whatever one of those green things are I'm allergic to it and my hubby is super-allergic, so we let it be...

Sunday, August 7, 2016

August Joys with my Boys

August is in full swing and summer seems to be winding down.  There's something about the calendar change to this time of year, life gets busier and the last half goes much quicker than the first.

We've spent the past week getting our Junior ready for school.  That in itself seems unreal.  While his looks would pass for a college student, it seems he should still be the excited little boy awaiting his first bus ride.  Instead, he'll be driving himself to class this year.

This momma bear isn't sure how to process that just yet.  

We enjoyed our final "Mom & Son" date on Friday with lunch at our favorite sushi spot.  How I will miss those afternoons together!  Between school, his job, and the loss of our morning commute together, it'll take some creativity for quality time.  

Anyone want to teach me how to Snapchat?!

On Monday, I took a vacation day to finish shopping for what he needed.  As he has years past, my gentle giant was ever grateful and humble while browsing for clothes.  If he spied a price tag that seemed too hefty, he'd move on, whether he loved it or not.  I'd have to catch glimpses of his body language and use my sales experience to seal the deal, vowing use of a coupon to add it to our cart.

Somehow that didn't translate at the grocery store yesterday.  I should know better than to bring hungry boys, as there were lots of unnecessaries by the time we reached the register!  But Noah is such a hard working kid, who pays for so much of his own things, how could I deny him extra cans of Chunky soup and chocolate chip muffins for after school snacks.  And, of course, the perfect pack of mechanical pencils that "don't squeak" when he uses them.  

As our big boy headed to work, we got a call from my niece with an offer to watch her baby.  Well, maybe it was a request, but any time with that sweet boy seems like a reward!  His momma couldn't stay away too long but we loved seeing him for as long as he stayed.  Our doggies weren't quite sure how to react to someone so small.  Both were protective, though our smallest dog was just rather curious.  Ross, on the other hand, would sulk at the outline of his tummy time blanket and then slowly army creep closer to him.  Once his head could reach Isaiah's feet, he was content.  

The rest of Saturday was spent with my sweetie.  With the heat, we've pretty much retreated to the house and stayed lazy.  He did however move long enough to relocate from his recliner to sit by me on the couch.  Love his heart, he didn't complain about watching a romantic comedy either.  Afterward we flipped between the Olympics and crime dramas.  Hearing him mention steak earlier in the day, I made sure my grocery cart contained all the fixing for a "fancy supper" at home. We almost settled outdoors to eat but even with the sun setting the humidity was too much.  Besides, how often can you watch volleyball live in Rio and eat a steak dinner?

But the simplest joy I tucked away from yesterday was holding hands with my hubby.  I love how we still enjoy and want to be close when together.  I noticed that both of us would search the other one out, if we moved or shifted positions during the movie.  

Yes, I even broke our tech free rule to sneak a pic.

I'm thankful to have lingered through a slow Saturday, as I don't see many lazy days of summer left. This girl is ever-ready for fall and all that comes with it but I sure found lots of joy in doing much of nothing yesterday with my boys.  Welcome August, whatever joys may come....

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