A season of change. A season of all things new. A season of anticipation. How strange it is to be in a season of life when nothing changes, yet everything is new. How do those two worlds even collide? Yet each day, that is where I find myself. On one hand, the calendar turns the page to a new day, yet all things familiar is what I see. Old Father Time comes to steal the moment creating a new memory in the banks of my mind. And yet in the routine of sameness and familiarity lies the excitement of preparation and planning and list making.
Just a few short weeks ago – May 3rd exactly – Sidney got engaged. Her best friend of three years asked her to be his wife, and on March 17, 2019, they will wed. Travis and I love Nathan, our fourth son, as he has rightfully earned his place in our hearts and in our home. He loves our daughter well. And she returns that same, familiar affection. The wedding planner sits on her desk with fresh writing and the collection of receipts starting to gather in the back pages of the book. The decorations have begun to pile in small stacks in the corner of the basement family room. The checks are being dispersed, and duties called photographer and DJ and pastor and reception hall are assigned and committed to the celebration. This season of looking ahead to decisions and new experiences is exciting and bittersweet all in one stoic breath as I try to celebrate all that is to come. At the exact same time, I suppress the desire to wish Father Time would grant just one more season of the messy bed that holds a little sleeping girl finishing another year of elementary school. Instead, the messy bed holds a growing young woman who is a sophomore in college with a shiny ring of commitment on her finger. It holds a girl counting days on the calendar until she moves out into her own apartment in two short months.
The oldest, our Bradley, made the choice to spend his days at God’s Mountain for a second summer. Marching into his junior year at Western, this growing boy who is passionate about the hearts of teenagers and fellow college friends is spending hot, sweaty, sunny days leading the camp interns and counselors. His passion and desire to work in ministry is as authentic as his relational, God-fearing heart. Brad speaks of his future with the common theme of “I don’t know” when asked what he envisions in two short years. His love of service and giving and acts of kindness may lead him to missions work after he walks the graduation stage. He may head overseas where he can teach and use his Spanish skills. He may teach in an inner city school. Whatever path he chooses, I am certain of this – Brad will extend a heart of giving wherever his journey takes him. Compassion encompasses the core of his heart.
Somehow just a few short hours ago, Father Time moved our sweet, sarcastic and bright third child into his last year of high school. Today Trevor finished his finals and officially earned the title of senior. His days of sleeping in, hanging out with friends, playing disc golf and working his part time job are here. I have experienced the senior-in-the-house phase twice before and know all too well the feelings of pride that weave together with strong emotions of sadness and loss. I am friends with the hot, wet tears that fall too quickly during senior season. I relish this last. Just one more to move on to college. This one last year to embrace, cherish and beg Father Time to slow down. I have worn this season twice before and know the familiarity of the emotions that tag along this last year. But this boy, this third child, this sweet love of mine, he is truly the last. Take me back, Father Time, to those days filled with the pesky three year old who flushed all his brother’s underwear down the toilet and would sneak up on the counters and steal treats. Those were busy days of standing guard, waiting for the next mischievous act. The years traded that sneaky, sweet boy into a genuine, lovable young man.
The big boy body with the little toddler mind finished his last day of freshman year on Monday. My sweet little Ryan is now a sophomore in high school which leads me to disbelief. At the end of the day where his soft brown curls meet his pillow, when I bend down to say my I love you’s and take in the nosy kisses and sweet smiles, I thank God for the gift of the broken boy. My eternal baby who will never leave the safety and comfort of his mamma’s home. Ryan is not sure what to think of summer days yet. He does not entertain the teenage game of staying up late and sleeping in. His days are set, and he does not deviate from the worn schedule of routine. Just this week I made a late night run for a baby gate to put between the eating area and kitchen. The big body with the little boy mind cannot comprehend that life does not operate on his schedule and wishes. He loves to yell and stomp feet and slam cupboard doors all in an effort to express his disdain for not getting his way. His way means going on a drive whenever the urge hits. We may come home from said drive and fifteen minutes later, he decides it is time for a second drive. This type of come and go game does not work well on parents who refuse to live at the beck and call of Ryan. Hence, the tantrums and expressed emotions. Life with Ryan means constant joy sprinkled with fits of frustration and grief. Yet the life we get to live with him in our presence is so very worth the moments of sheer frustration from the boy without words.
Travis and I are like a pair of old worn shoes – comfortable, known and reliable. We so enjoy our time together and treasure the friendship, love and companionship we have built over the years. The fight for time together can be difficult due to working different shifts, but we do it to take care of the broken boy. He is our priority. Each day brings thankfulness for the strength and silly fun we have between us. At the end of the day, we have each other, and I could not ask for more.
Much love to you all!