Wednesday, March 9, 2011
It's official...I have a man-child.
My son, Jack, turned 13 this week. While I celebrate his special day with joy, I confess this year has left me a little reflective and a bit melancholy. Maybe it is because I see him eating his weight in food each day. Perhaps it's because I notice that before long, I will have to look up to kiss him on the cheek. It might even be because he is starting to have insights and opinions that remind me he isn't a little boy anymore. Sadly, we have moved on from Legos and Lincoln Logs. He no longer climbs into my lap to read a book. He is no longer a little boy.
And today, as I marvel at the fact that my baby is now a teenager, I am more aware than ever than he is not mine. He's God's. And one day, not long from now, Jack will be a man. My child will be gone. And this birthday, more than any before, has that reality at the forefront of my mind.Thinking about it hurts my heart just a little, for I cannot imagine not seeing his smile every day. Not taking in his laugh. Not hearing his silly jokes. Not listening about his day. It's a reality I don't want to face. Yet I know, indeed, the day will come. Faster than I would like. And as a mother, I want to hold tight, though I know, slowly, I must start letting him go.
When I look at my son, I am filled with pride that makes my heart burst. What a heart lives in this boy. What love runs through his veins. What a man he shall be! Handsome, strong and dependable like his Daddy. Passionate and creative like his Mama. God has woven him together in such a complex and unique way, all for a wonderful purpose. In this place. At this time. For God's glory.
I remember that day when my life changed forever and I became Jack's mother. My first born, he was three weeks early, but strong and healthy. Since Jack was born shortly before 3 o'clock in the morning, I had been up most of the night in labor. Naturally, his Daddy and I greeted him, held him close, gazed into his beautiful eyes, praised God for his perfect fingers and toes, and eventually went back to sleep for a bit of rest. When the nurses brought him to me for his first feeding, I woke up as a brand new Mom. It was then that it hit me...I am raising a man.
Clueless and inexperienced, I remember feeling so inadequate for the task in front of me. What did I know of Lego's, earthworms, rocks, scooters, or soccer practice? Jack has taught me so much in my walk through motherhood. What a beautiful privilege it is to be this boy's mom. Finally, as we step out of childhood, I feel like I have this "mom" thing mastered. But now, he stands with one foot in childhood and the other in manhood. And once more, I feel intimidated by the road ahead.
That feeling of insecurity is back from long ago, for what do I know of being a man? I have not experienced the pressures of being a middle school boy, trying to stand his ground, live out his faith, and find his purpose all while avoiding bullies and discovering girls. Jack's world is bizarre to me in so many ways. Still, I know my son as only a mother can. I know his heart. I know his passions. I know the look on his face that says he needs some time and space and I know when he needs me to take him in my arms and hold tight. When I look at my son, and ponder all that he was, all that he is, and all that he will become, my heart lets out a shout of praise, for "sons are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him." (Psalm 127:3)
So, I look with new eyes on my man-child. How he makes my heart smile with his wonderful new ways. I have discovered the days of a teenage boy follow a pretty steady routine involving drinks straight out of the milk carton, dirty clothes on the floor, text messages about nothing at all, and video games. Lots and lots of video games. His friends are becoming a bigger and more significant part of his life. Some days, with his busy schedule, I start to miss him already. But then he walks through the door, with that sweet smile that makes my heart dance and says, "Hi Mom!" In that moment, all is well. For my son is home.
Looking ahead at all that is to come, I take a moment to ponder where we have been. I see where we are going. And I consider the promise of today with my son. Manhood beckons us, and so much of this new journey is unfamiliar as I carefully attempt to hold on and let go at the same time. Truly, the road ahead of us is going to be filled with ups and downs as Jack finds his way. But we get to walk it together with our God, and I see the man our Heavenly Father is creating in my J-Man. What a privilege it is to be a witness to God's great work in my son. Wonderful days of discovery await and today is only the beginning.
Thirteen years ago, God changed my life with a 6 pound 14 ounce amazing baby boy. And now, as he stands nearly as tall as me, Jack is my man-child. Faithful. Idealistic. Protective. Innocent, yet wise beyond his years. We have much to experience in the years ahead. There will be challenges, victories and defeats as he finds his place in God's kingdom.
And through it all, even into manhood, I get to be his Mom.