December 31, 2009

The Lying Poem

When the doctor placed our first baby boy (then second, then third, then fourth) in my arms I knew. I knew they would grow up. I knew they each would have their own place on the planet, a life, friends, maybe college, a home, a wife, children, a job. I knew they would grow up and leave. I studied their tiny, chubby baby toes, kissed them, wondered at how much joy and love my heart could hold; but somewhere deep inside I ached. Then, with each step they took toward independence my heart was divided:
weaned...walking...talking...potty-trained (no feelings of bittersweetness here-it was party time!)...first sleepover at a friend's house...classes outside the home...driving...a job. You get the idea. It was wonderful to watch it all happen. The best part was watching them loving Jesus more and more as they grew.
But deep in my heart that silly poem resounded:
A daughter's a daughter all of your life, but a son's a son til he takes him a wife
and my heart filled with fear. I didn't want to lose them. We had shared so much of life together. I'd learned more as their teacher than I ever did in school, and it was amazing to see everything through their eyes. I loved being their friend and teacher and mom all at the same time and discovering history, science, great literature, etc. right along side them.

When they hit the teen years I panicked inside. I felt like my spot on the earth was going to be replaced by each boy and I would no longer be needed here. I imagined them trampling me in their hurry to grow up and out. And in some ways that did happen for a time. They had to stretch and push and race ahead to find their own identity. For a time I did feel left behind. Useless.
But now I'm seeing that poem in a whole new light. I feel sorry for whoever wrote it. That person wasn't the mother of my sons. They haven't left me behind. So far they don't see me as someone taking up some of their oxygen. (They might when the time comes to put a bib on me and feed me but for now I'm safe.)
Our sons have moved over and made room for us in their hearts. It actually seems like they want to spend time with us. They call almost every day. They come home as often as they can. We still laugh together, play games together, share meals. They've managed to somehow make my husband and myself still feel like people who are needed and enjoyed. Not only that, but our two oldest sons have blessed us with 2 wonderful daughters. I'm not the lone female anymore and I have 2 new friends! Our sons have not only not left us behind, they've moved over and made room in their hearts for their wives-to-be and their parents.
I wasted so much time worrying about that poem-and I feel like I discredited our sons as well.
I think I wrote a similar post a long time ago-if I did forgive me. I once read something that would apply here: It's amazing how old people can remember stories from long ago but forget how many times they've told them....

December 24, 2009

How He Did It-A Romantic Little Christmas Story

About 2 minutes after my niece received my email telling her #2 was engaged she replied, "Wow! How exciting! How did he propose?!"
Rather than just telling her the story, I thought it might be fun to share it with you too.

#2, although he's only 21, was pretty nearly convinced "she" would never come along. He'd been praying for "her" and wondering about "her" for years. Yes, I said years.
Two weeks into their acquaintance they both knew for certain they were meant for each other. My son drove out to our house one afternoon to tell us the news. Once we stopped laughing we realized he was serious. He'd met "The One."

Anyway-he controlled himself and managed to wait 6 months to propose. He spent the day before he popped the question at home, here, with me. It's a day I will never forget. He'd come home to show me The Ring. I've never seen anyone more excited and nervous about anything.

Actually, he wasn't nervous about asking H. to be his wife. It was The Talk with her father that was giving him the shivers. He tried to put that out of his head while he sat here visiting with me and putting together a little gift for H. that would help his cause.

What he did was this: H.'s favorite color is blue, so, #2 found a box and covered it with blue scrapbook paper. Then he gathered together a huge stack of blue scrapbook papers and cut them into squares that would fit just right into the box. He even clipped one corner of each paper so she could lift them out of the box one by one.
On each square he wrote a different reason why he loves her. As he sat on the couch writing and thinking I watched him. He was so sweet. He put so much thought into each note. This little project took all afternoon-not because he couldn't think of enough reasons to marry this girl, but because of the ring. It sat there, quietly minding its own business, nestled in its little box, waiting for Her. But occasionally that ring would call out my son's name. He'd stop writing, look at the box, pick it up, open it, look at the ring and smile. His heart would stop, he'd take a deep breath, close the box, and continue writing. Even when he didn't pay any attention to the ring's call, he would sometimes stop and just grin at the box. He passed away the afternoon in this manner while I was allowed the sweet privilege of peeking into my grown son's heart.

The next day was a little more nerve wracking for him. It was the day he planned to have "The Talk" with her father. That's enough to make any boy shiver in his boots and I don't think there was too much grinning going on. However he did it.

Then it was on to the next step. Asking H. to be his bride. He had planned on asking her to marry him while they sipped hot chocolate in front of a roaring fire, cuddled up under a Christmas tree. However, he was afraid that, in their excitement, her family wouldn't be able to keep the secret and would tell her about it before he had a chance to ask. So, on to plan B.

That same night, after talking to her father, son #2 found himself sitting in a little coffee shop waiting for H. to get off work. A little Christmas tree twinkled in the corner, and carols were playing over the loudspeaker.

At the same time, my husband, son #3 and I were here, at home, doing our usual who-knows-what. Suddenly the phone rang-it was #2. He wanted to know the names of some of the top romantic songs that had ever been sung. He was sitting in that coffee shop putting together a CD of romantic music to further his cause even more. We googled and reminisced and came up with several titles for the boy, then hung up.

I will tell you here and now I didn't sleep very well that night. I wanted to be a little mouse trailing after my son, watching this biggest moment of his life play out...thankfully he's very open with us and was willing to share The Proposal with us. (After the fact, of course)

So here's what happened: when H. got off work #2 was there to pick her up. She was hungry, tired, and feeling a bit discouraged about life. He was pent up, nervous, and excited-he wanted to pop the question then and there. He wisely decided to control himself and let the poor girl eat and regroup first. When he saw that she was feeling better he popped the CD in, gave her some flowers, the box of little notes, and then started driving around "to look at all the Christmas lights".

As he drove he kept a careful eye on that pile of notes. When she got to the end he planned on that moment to ask her to share his life with him. The Ring was hiding in the pocket of his car door, not only whispering his name, but filling his heart with joy and excitement.

Finally he saw that the stack of notes was getting low-I'm not sure how on earth he planned this part, but #2 found a little pond with Christmas lights glowing all around it. He whipped his car into the parking area near the pond and parked. By this time H. was teary-the box had done its trick and melted her heart. Son leaned over to give her a hug as a tear or two made their way down his cheeks as well.

"H., will you marry me?"
The tears stopped. She sat up. "What did you say? You told did you...."
She was totally surprised. Totally taken off guard...

I do hope you have a wonderful Christmas and Holiday season! May Jesus bless you now and throughout the coming days.

December 14, 2009

You Say Tomato, I Say Tamato...

Lately my inbox has been inundated with emails from people complaining, or rebelling against the removal of the word "Christmas" from advertising, cards, schools, stores, billboards, etc. etc.

At first I was angry and frustrated too. It does make me angry somewhere deep inside when I think about "them" trying to remove Christ from every aspect of our lives. But come on, if it hasn't happened yet, do they really think it ever will?

I realize it's the principle of the thing, but even so, I actually think "they" are hanging themselves by trying to save themselves from admitting there is a God whose birth is being celebrated right now.

In an effort to clarify the meanings of the words "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Holidays", (the latter being the words "they" have for this time of year), I dug out my handy dandy Webster's 1828 Dictionary. Here's what good old Webster had to say about those phrases:

Merry=gay and noisy; jovial; exhilarated to laughter.

Christmas= The festival of the Christian Church observed annually on the 25th day of December, in memory of the birth of Christ....

Happy= fortunate, receiving good from something that falls or comes to one unexpectedly, or by an event that is not within control....

Holiday comes from the 2 words: holy and day

Holy= from the root of heal, hold, whole. Properly, whole, entire or perfect, in a moral sense. Hence, pure in heart, temper or disposition; free from sin and sinful affections. We call a man holy when his heart is more or less sanctified or purified or when his heart is conformed in some degree to the image of God and his life is regulated by the divine precepts.

Day= the whole time or period of one revolution of the earth on its axis, or twenty four hours.

Wow. Looking at it that way is amazing. They are just about the same in meaning. We wouldn't be happy or merry without the birth of Christ, and it's through His birth (and death and resurrection) we are made holy. In some ways I actually prefer "Happy Holidays" to "Merry Christmas", but like I said, it is the principal of the thing that matters here....

December 6, 2009

2010 Just May Be The Most Eventful, Emotional, Joyfilled, Bittersweet Year of My Life

My dh turns 50 this year. Do you realize that means I'll be married to someone who's half a century old? (I know. I'm only one year behind him. You didn't need to point that out.)

Our 3rd son will be graduating from high school (cruelly leaving me with only one tiny student in our little school and adding to my feelings of mid-life crises)

Our first born son will be graduating from college.

Oh! And we'll be adopting 2 daughters via marriage!! Our oldest son is getting married in June and our second oldest son just got engaged last night!

I think after this year most of my posts will fall under the category of "miscellaneous random thoughts of a brain on the edge...."