Posts Tagged ‘Son’

I believe that there are blessings and curses in life, and that they often co-exist in the same event. That is the case for what I have been pondering for a number of days.

Our son had the privilege of going on a three night, four day school sailing trip. It is an annual trip for grade eight students at our school, and one which does not fail to impress, and live in the memories of it’s participants each year, and for years to come.

I was eager to re-unite with our son when he returned, to hear his stories of hilarity and memories made. To hear the stories that will go on, and even expand, as the years go by.

When he arrived, his teacher met me (before I was able to embrace him publicly, in front of his peers …) and said something to the effect of,” your son exhibited great leadership though-out the trip … he showed what a true leader he is.”

I smiled, because it is always nice to have a teacher tell you anything that is not negative … I am more accustomed to hearing, “your son did not do his homework” or “your son is falling behind in …” But the words of my son’s teacher were positive words … right?

Those words have been haunting me ever since.

Yes, I said, “haunting” …first+last

As the days have past, and those words have past through my mind, I have been hearing the story I heard when I was first dating the man who would forever become ‘hubby’ for me. The story of how his mother responded to his decision to pursue ministry leadership …

“are you sure there isn’t something else you could pursue?”

My mother-in-law knew and understood the risks of leadership. She understood that to be a leader (any leader, in any area) is to live a life of high (pedestal) expectations and opens the door to much heartache. She understood that leadership is not necessarily the best future, she understood that leadership requires followers, and that followers can be … fickle.

I now understand why my mother-in-law wished something else for the future of her son, because I wish similarly for my son.

I do not wish for him to grow up as a leader …feeling the responsibilities and expectations of others.

I do not wish for people to follow him … it adds such weight to the walk.

I do not wish for him to lead … what if he leads in the wrong direction?

I do not wish for him to be in the front … in the open one can be so vulnerable to being taken down by the enemy.

But …

I do wish that he use the gifts that God has given, and for him to use them to their fullest, utilizing every bit of talent crafted within him by his Creator. And so, I will try to modify my wishes for him. Instead of wishing he not lead, I wish that God would protect him from the curses that can come with such a gift, that he will be a blessing, and that he is able to feel more blessed than cursed by that which God has dealt him …

and that I, as his mother, would pray for him without ceasing.

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e213e03d57cc73bcce414a1c5bfe3119My mind is pondering my son, my only son, tonight.

Finally I am preparing to write my letter to him (referred to way back in my post, Father-Son Bonding Weekend) to be placed in the box with all of those letters from the special men in his life … and me 😉 .

As I was pondering my son, and the words that I want him to keep with him for all of his days, even after I am long gone, I am reminded of the beginnings of elementary school each year.

Early in September, the letter would come home. The letter with instructions for packing an emergency package to be left at school … in case of emergency. A large Ziploc bag would come home with the letter giving directions for filling the bag. A larger garbage bag, snack bars, a toy or stuffy, and a letter to comfort our child … in case of emergency.

It was always a tumultuous task to write that letter. I remember sitting at a table, paper before me, pen in hand …

I would start with, “Your dad and I love you …”

Then they would start, those imaginings of situations that might result in this letter being read by my son. And each time they would eventually come to the point of realizing that this scrawling on paper might be the last communication that my son might have from me. And the tears would fall, and words would see inadequate for all that I would want to leave for him to take into his life … in case of emergency.

And washing his hands, and brushing his teeth, and scrubbing behind his ears would seem unimportant for in case of emergency.

What would I want my last words to my son (or my daughters) be?

Then I would know, I would know with the greatest of certainty what he needed in case of emergency …

“Love Jesus with all your heart”

So when I encountered the following song by Andrew Peterson, I knew it spoke my heart, just like those letters written, just like the letter my son will receive this week,

in case of emergency …

When I look at you, boy
I can see the road that lies ahead
I can see the love and the sorrow

Bright fields of joy
Dark nights awake in a stormy bed
I want to go with you, but I can’t follow

So keep to the old roads
Keep to the old roads
And you’ll find your way

Your first kiss, your first crush
The first time you know you’re not enough
The first time there’s no one there to hold you

The first time you pack it all up
And drive alone across America
Please remember the words that I told you

Keep to the old roads
Keep to the old roads
And you’ll find your way
You’ll find your way

If love is what you’re looking for
The old roads lead to an open door
And you’ll find your way
You’ll find your way
Back home

And I know you’ll be scared when you take up that cross
And I know it’ll hurt, ’cause I know what it costs
And I love you so much and it’s so hard to watch
But you’re gonna grow up and you’re gonna get lost
Just go back, go back

Go back, go back to the ancient paths
Lash your heart to the ancient mast
And hold on, boy, whatever you do
To the hope that’s taken hold of you
And you’ll find your way
You’ll find your way
If love is what you’re looking for
The old roads lead to an open door
And you’ll find your way
You’ll find your way
Back home

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It’s that time of year again … School picture time!

These are the photos that, no matter how nice the clothes, no matter how clean the hair, no matter how rested you feel the photos will always look worse than the year before. But maybe I am just speaking of my own experience!

When my two school-aged kids brought theirs home, I looked at them not as the one who had them taken, but as their mom.

When I looked at the photo of my son, I saw the baby we had prayed would make it through pregnancy, the one who used to want a snuggle after school, the one who says ‘I love you’ every day. I saw a young man who loves football, his dad, his friends, his music and God. I saw it all in the blink of an eye and thought, this is good, oh, how he has grown to be like his dad!

Then I looked at the photo of my youngest daughter, and I saw the baby who did not stop crying until she was two years old, I saw the toddler who wanted a play date plan before her eyes were opened every morning, I saw the girl who knew how to make people smile, and who never sees differences when she meets someone new. I saw a beautiful young woman who loves people of all ages, animals, thinking about the future and her Heavenly Father. I saw it all and thought, this is good, I can see me in those eyes.

It took me back to when her grade two pictures came home, and then and there I saw within this child who everyone said looked just like her dad (including me), a reflection of me. For all those first seven years of her life I figured I had merely been the vessel that got her here, but that day I saw something of myself in her image. Actually it was almost a mirror image of my own school photo at the same age.

I remember so well looking at her photo that day and searching for my own to compare my memory with the reality of looking at her photo and mine. Once I found it, the similarities were astounding to me. This child, this child who I thought my only contribution to her being was in housing her growing unborn body, looked so strikingly like me. I stared in amazement and although I had always looked upon her image as beautiful, now I looked upon her image with awe, and with a new joy. She reflected me! She was undeniably mine!

My daughter has always been, since conception, an image of me, but there was something about seeing it with my own eyes that gave me delight.

I wonder if that is what God feels (delight) when He looks at us, His children. We have always been, since the beginning of time, an image of our Creator, but He sees Himself in us when we reflect who He is, His love, His mercy, His grace, His compassion. And when He sees, not only the physical reflection of His image, but the reflection of His being, His heart, He, like me with my daughter, delights in His Creation. And maybe He whispers, “you are good” as He did after each act of Creation.

“So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.”
Genesis 1:27

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I love the Family Circus cartoon to the left.

Bill Keane was such a talented animator who was gifted with the the knowledge that much can be said with few words, and a strong image. His Family Circus cartoon are probably my favorites of all times. He had a way of creating a picture that would not allow my eyes to move on, until I had ‘felt’ all that it was communicating.

Bill created so well this image that simply is the epitome of a warm fuzzy picture of a toddler in his warm and fuzzy sleepers, and mom seems to be still in her right mind. There is no vomit, leaking diaper, or signs of howling … in other words, it is an idealistic image 😉 .

Beyond being idealistic, it also makes me wonder …

“This is my favorite place – inside your hug.” Who do you read to be the one who is saying that? It would appear at first that the little one, with mouth open, is the one speaking the words. But then I look at the contemplative face of the mom, and think of how truer words have not been spoken by a mother.

As a mom of teenagers, I can still remember moments like that image. I can remember inhaling the scent of our little ones, enjoying the cleanliness of a child ready for bed, and relishing the feel of their little arms holding around my neck in a hug that could be confused as a death grip. I remember how utterly angelic their chubby faces, framed by feather soft hair. I remember the sound of their genuine words of affection that would seem to come from nothing in particular, just their most sincere love. I remember …

I have a secret … I am fearful that those moments are just a memory of days gone by. I am fearful that the awkwardness of adolescents will distance my children from physical hugs, touch, with me their mother.

Don’t get me wrong, I DO NOT WANT my children to be in their thirties, still living at home, and still saying that my hugs are their favorite place. That is just creepy!

But, they are a part of me, pieces of me who walk independently from me. They have been part of my body, and they will always be little (okay, as the shortest in the house ‘little’ may not be the right word) fragments of my heart traversing this life. I still feel a need for a connection to them, a conversation, a look, a touch.

For me, when I look upon this cartoon, it can only be the words spoken by the mom … “this is my favorite place – inside your hug.”

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A few years back singer, songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman invited us into his heart with his song Cinderella, inspired by his daughters. The song wooed all of us with daughters, into thoughts of our own little girls growing up so quickly, stepping from one stage of life to the next so very quickly, and reminding us all to take the time and opportunities when they are young to dance with our little girls.

But what about our boys, our sons? I know of one, almost thirteen year old son who would NOT have any interest in dancing around the room with his mother, to a song about Cinderella!

So, as I drove down the road, listening to the Cinderella song, I wondered what is the male equivalent of dancing with Cinderella, for my son? So, I looked at the lyrics to the song, and did some personalized editing 😉 …

He spins and he sways
To each play his coach says
Giving all to the football world
And I’m sitting here fretting
With the fear of him being hurt, on my shoulders

It’s been a long day
And there’s still laundry to do
He’s pulling at me
Saying “Mom, I need you

There’s a game at the field
And I’ve been practicing
And I need to know that you’re in the stands
Oh, please, Mom, please?”

So I will watch every minor football game
While he is still on the field
‘Cause I know something the coach doesn’t know
Oh, I will watch every football game
I don’t want to miss even one play
‘Cause all too soon the whistle will be blown
And he’ll be gone…

He says they’re all nice guys they just fake the frowns
He tells me his improved tackles mean more touchdowns
He says, “Mom, the game is just one week away
And I need you to make more pasta
Oh, please, Mom, please?”

So I will watch every minor football game
While he is still on the field
‘Cause I know something the coach doesn’t know
Oh, I will watch every football game
I don’t want to miss even one play
‘Cause all too soon the whistle will be blown
And he’ll be gone…

He will be gone

Well, he came home today with a dream in his head
Just glowing and telling us the CFL is where he will head
He says, “Mom, the league is still years away
But I need to practice my hitting
Oh, please, Mom, please?”

So I will watch every minor football game
While he is still on the field
‘Cause I know something the coach doesn’t know
Oh, I will watch every football game
I don’t want to miss even one play
‘Cause all too soon the whistle will be blown
And he’ll be gone…

So, that is my ode to Cinderella, for my son, because soon he’ll be gone …

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Today marks the beginning of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, in London, England.

There will be the lighting of the flame, the entrance of the athletes into the stadium, the speeches, the music, the spectacle that is the opening event.

Of course the Olympic Games are about the games themselves, about the competition among athletes and countries, about about winning medals, but, what are the values of the Olympic Games?

According to the International Olympic Committee, it takes more than being an exceptional sportsman or woman to become part of the Olympics or Paralympics. “This is why both games come with a set of core values which encompass what these competitions are all about proving that sport even at this level, is not just about your ability.”

The seven official values, which aim to embody the spirit of the events are :

There is a story that is behind the picture to the right. It is a story of a father son relationship that exemplifies all of the values of the Olympics. Beyond that, their relationship is one of love … unconditional, sacrificial love.

To me, they, father and son, epitomize the Olympic spirit, not just in regard to athletics, but also in regards to life … lived full and complete, not because of their circumstances, but in spite of them.

“You can!”

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A few weeks past we had a group of friends over to watch the Superbowl. It was a fun day of eating (too much), talking, laughing and even a bit of watching the game. One of the families that we had over, has a son named Ben, who is six. We also have a son named Ben, who is twelve.

I love it when ‘Big Ben’ and ‘Little Ben’ (as we call them, and as they call each other) are together. I am not sure what it is about Little Ben that brings out a different side, a sweeter, more nurturing, more patient side of our Big Ben. It is as though there is an invisible force between these two boys that draws them together.

Our Ben wants to play with Little Ben, and is willing to play what Little Ben wants. He also loves to teach Little Ben new things, or show him cool videos. We do tell our older kids, when visitors with younger ones are coming over, to make sure that they feel comfortable and welcomed, but Big Ben’s responses to Little Ben are tender, kind and he is eager to be with him. There is just something ‘kindred’ in how they relate to each other.

Maybe it is that they share a name, or maybe it is that they are both youngest, or maybe it is because they are both the only sons in the family. Whatever it is that brings them together like opposite ends of magnets, I do not know, but I feel energized, encouraged and pleased to see them together.

Seeing Ben and Ben together reminds me that it is not always when we are with our ‘natural’ (similar aged) peers that we shine the brightest. They do not always tap the best in us. They do not always make us better.

As the mom of the bigger Ben, I am so proud of how he treats Little Ben. I am reminded of the good that he can share with others, and I see a glimpse of who he is in the eyes of God. And, in His words, Ben is my (beloved) son, and in him I am well pleased.

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I so vividly remember Thanksgiving Sunday, sixteen years ago …

I had spent the night in a hospital, in a city I didn’t live in, not knowing why I had been having the most dreadful, take you breath away (literally) pains for over a day. I was wheeled to Sonography for an ultrasound, which revealed the ‘problem’ … I was pregnant, and the pregnancy had attached to my fallopian tube. It’s growth was causing my life to be threatened.

Once that knowledge had been attained, I was immediately prepped for surgery, and wheeled into the OR to have the tube and the pregnancy (the baby) removed. It was a day that made thanks-giving a struggle. On the one hand, I was thankful for my life, and on the other I was mourning the loss of our fifth pregnancy, our fifth child.

And life moves on …

About twelve and a half years ago I was visiting my doctor to confirm what I had already guessed … I was pregnant.

Now for most that declaration might bring a smile to your face, but, with our history of incomplete pregnancies it was just step one of a very long, very anxiety-ridden time.

When my doctor told me the due date would be October 17, I asked him to look to see when Thanksgiving Sunday would be. His reply, “October 10.” To which I replied, “I’m having this baby on that day.”

On October 9, 1999, as I bent over to tie my shoes, the first discernible beginnings of labor began. And the following day … Thanksgiving Sunday … on the tenth month of the tenth day, at ten past ten in the morning our son breathed his first breath, and cried. And so did we, with more thanksgiving than we had ever hoped.

And, today he turns twelve. He is on the cusp of all that adolescence holds and brings to a boys body, mind and soul. He is eager to physically look down on me. He is not too eager to have signs of affection shown to him in public, and has not yet reached the point of maturity that can handle hearing me tell stories of when he was younger (but if I could, there would be rafts of great and humorous tales of adventure and mayhem). He is eager for his voice to change, but has not yet started to empty the hot water tank when in the shower. He’s on the cusp.

Who is this boy to soon become man? He is the one who wants to give hugs (even to his sisters). He is a creative soul, who would prefer to build than to tear down. He is the football player who is struggling to put all his weight into it when coming up against the other team players, because he really doesn’t want to hurt them. He is the only child we have ever gotten a call from school about … apparently on top of another boy hitting (if only he could divert this to football). He is a philosopher who, while the rest of us are talking nonsense, will awaken from his silence and share his deep thoughts about something he has been turning around in his mind for a time. He is not a ‘school’ academic, but he is a most natural student of life, who will probably study far more than his report cards ever indicate. He is our only son, and in him we are well pleased.

But what do I want for him? I want him to be a man after God’s own heart.

Samuel referred to David this way. He told King Saul that because he had not done what the Lord had commanded, his kingdom, his rule that was supposed to have lasted a long time, would end. He also told the King that because David was a man after God’s own heart, he would inherit (though not by birth, so much as God’s appointing) Saul’s kingdom.

A man after God’s own heart … what a grandiose hope for an adolescent boy. But, it was as a boy, the youngest in the family (probably called the Hebrew equivalent of ‘little puke’ by his older brothers), that David was first anointed as the next king of Israel. God’s plan for David’s life was not hampered by his last of bloodline, his youth, his size or lack of formal education. God had a plan that was born out of the condition of David’s heart, and it was that one quality that made David God’s man for the job.

I pray that my son’s heart will, like David’s, be one that seeks to be in unison with the heart of God. There is no other dream or desire that I pray more earnestly for his life. It is in being one with God that, even in sin (and boy, did David know sin, and failure), redemption can be received.

“But the LORD said to Samuel,

“…The LORD does not look at the things people look at.

People look at the outward appearance,

but the LORD looks at the heart.” “

1 Samuel 16:7

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