Tag Archives: growing up

It happened yesterday…

Jacob Trident w watermark

My boy went to college. And the tears came.

Just yesterday, or so it seemed, I took him to kindergarten and I wept openly as I left. Sobbing loudly down the halls of the school. I am sure people were staring, but I didn’t know. And I didn’t care.

There have been more tears over the years. Tears of frustration—on his part and mine. Tears of hurt and pain as we battled through the really hard days. Tears of wondering what are we going to do and how would this all work out. Tears of pride as I have watched him work so hard and grow and learn and become an incredible young man. Tears of relief and gladness as I watched him master one challenge after another. Tears of gratitude to God. Tears so bittersweet as I watched him graduate from high school barely three months ago.

And now, here we are.

College.

As I put him out of the car and watched him walk away, the flood of emotions came. Prayers out loud in the car to Jesus…Be with him Lord, because I can’t. Help him. Protect him. Grow him.

And the tears.

Tears. Oh, the tears of indescribable joy and pride and love and excitement for his future. And gratitude. So much gratitude in my heart to see where he is today, knowing where he has been—where we all have been as a family. My heart is bursting.

No, he hasn’t gone away to school. He is still here with us to support him as he studies at the local community college. There are still many unknowns. But that is okay. He is ready. He is so on his way.

He is my hero.

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Filed under Family, Jacob, Kids, Parenting

I just call it good parenting.

I remember when I was about 12 years old and I would spend all day in the summertime at the neighborhood swimming pool. I would ride my suh-weet pink 10-speed there, by myself, wind in my hair, towel around my neck, a dollar for some snacks from the vending machines, and BAM! I was ready to spend the day with my friends.

This was around 1982. When there were no smartphones and no way to really track your kid’s every move. At the pool back in the day, there were only lifeguards and the moms of toddlers and a phone, with a cord, attached to the wall.

I would stay there all day sometimes. Had me a really nice tan, too, y’all.

I look back on that time and wonder how in the world my mom let me do that. How many times have we heard our elders say: “Oh, but it was a different time then.” Okay, so now I’m the elder saying, “It was a different time.”

Because it was. It was a time when you could let your kids roam the neighborhood and ride their bikes around town. And stay out till dusk and just give a holler when it was time for dinner.

Maybe it was because it was a small town. Maybe it was because I was basically a good kid. Maybe it is because back then, you knew pretty much all your neighbors and everyone looked out for everyone else’s kids. People weren’t so busy with their own lives (or so afraid of someone else’s mama) to prevent them from calling out some child who was misbehaving. “Hey, you, I see what you are doing there! You better straighten up before I call your mama!” It really did take a village, and the village actively participated.

It was a different time. Not so, now.

Now, in the 21st century, with all the social media outlets, internet, cable television and smartphones at our fingertips, and with all the crazies out there, documented for us daily on the world wide web and the nightly news, and where we live in neighborhoods of transient people whom we barely know, we have to be different kinds of parents today.

she calls it stalking

I find myself hovering and asking questions and needing to know things and having to tell my kids things that I don’t think our mothers before us had to do. Oh, don’t get me wrong—I thought my mom was the most interfering mom ever!  She wanted to know who, when, where, and what. And she wanted me to call her and check in. Oh, the horror!! She was, and is, a good mom.

There are things happening today that did not happen when I was a teenager—at least not to my knowledge, or not in the circle of friends I chose to have. There are things I might have done, but was too scared to do because, “what if my parents found out.” I valued my reputation. I valued the relationship I had with my parents. I respected them. And I did not want to disappoint them. But I was a moody teen and was kinda sassy, and of course, I wanted to try to get away with as much as I felt like I could.  I know there were times that I made some poor choices and did disappoint them. It felt terrible at the time. I learned some good lessons, thankfully, without any long term repercussions.

I had an interesting conversation with my 14 year old daughter yesterday. Emma is so blown away by the behavior of some of the kids at her school. She has overheard conversations where young ladies are bragging about their exploits. Emma and I have talked about sex and God’s design for relationships and I have said so many times that once your reputation is ruined, it is hard to repair. Emma said, “Mom, they don’t care about their reputations. They are not embarrassed about the things they are doing. They will be talking about it like it’s no big deal and the people they are talking to are just laughing about it. They just don’t care. I don’t get it. They are just crazy.”

SIGH.

I say it’s just sad. I am so sad for those young ladies. And it breaks my heart to think about the reasons why they do the things they do.

I am thankful to have a daughter who respects herself and who understands that she is a child of God and holds herself to a higher standard. She is so much more together than I was at her age.

So as I am calling or texting Emma and reading her Facebook wall and wanting to meet her friends and their parents and the boy who wants to take her to the Military Ball and making sure our internet browser has a good filter and asking her all the who, what, when, where, why and how questions, she calls it stalking.

I just call it good parenting.

‘Cause what else is a mama supposed to do in this day and age?

We have to be vigilant. We have to pray for our kids. We have to talk to our kids and know what is going on in their lives. Even if it seems intrusive—or stalker-y. We need to make sure they know the truth.

I am not perfect and neither is she. We are both going to make mistakes. But we talk to each other and I will continue to stalk her—mercilessly. And pray without ceasing.

9 So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.

11 We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy… Colossians 1:9-11 NLT

 

(This post was linked with Throwback Thursday.)

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Filed under Back in the Day, Faith, Family, Parenting

Ooey Gooey Confetti Love

Dear Jacob,

Eighteen years ago, on this day, the most amazing thing happened and life, as I knew it, changed forever—all because of you.

We had waited for you. Prayed for you. Hoped for you. Dreamed about you.

It was Valentine’s Day.

The day that is so much about love. It was a perfect day to be born, really. Because having a child, becoming a mother, is like having a big old truckload of love poured into your heart until it is so full and so big for your body, that it explodes into a bazillion confetti hearts that flutter down all over you and cover you with love on the outside too. You just become one big ball of ooey gooey love covered in confetti hearts, all melty and messy.

Yep, it was just like that.

Jacob 5 mos oldAnd there you were, my precious boy—my heart walking around outside my body, and I was never the same.

We have watched you all these years, grow and laugh, struggle and cry, persevere and mature. You are becoming a man. And it breaks my heart and fills me with so much joy and pride.

You are an incredible gift from God. Through all your struggles, you have taught me so much. You have taught me compassion, gratitude, patience, and flexibility.

Because of you, I’ve learned that things don’t always work out the way you planned; sometimes things work out better. God’s plans and ways are so much bigger and better than mine, anyway.

You have taught me that when one way of doing something doesn’t work, you try something else. And you keep trying until you find “the thing” that does. I’ve learned how to fight for you and be your advocate.

I’ve learned that “normal” is overrated and that doing things in a way that may look completely nuts to other people is okay. I’ve also learned not to care what others think and to listen and smile and nod when people offer “helpful” advice. I’ve also learned to accept advice that is genuinely helpful.

I’ve learned that it is okay to let you do things in your own way (not all the time, of course! *wink*), because we don’t always look at things the same way. And hey, you’re a pretty smart guy, so you know what you are talking about. But I’ve also learned to push you to try things that might be scary or difficult (for all of us!). And I’ve had to push myself as well. We’ve grown together—you and Daddy and me.

Jacob casual senior pic 001You are kind, compassionate, brilliant, sensitive, persevering and hilarious. You are so strong. You have worked so hard to get to where you are, to overcome some challenging obstacles. You amaze me. I have no doubt that you will make your mark on this world and that the world will be all the better for it. I know I am.

It’s gone by so fast. Eighteen years. How did we get here? My heart still explodes with that same confetti love each time I look at you, at that face, those eyes—those brilliant hazel eyes. Just like the first time I saw you on Valentine’s Day 1995.

I could not be more proud to know you and call you my son. You are more precious to me than you could ever begin to know.

Happy Birthday, Jacob.

I love you. With a big old truckload of bursting-heart-ooey-gooey-confetti-love that is messy and beautiful and wonderful.

XOXOXO

Mom

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Filed under Family, Jacob, Parenting