I love my kids so fiercely, sometimes I can’t inhale air.
Parenting our four boys is the most difficult, gut-wrenching, frustrating, exhausting, awesome, joyful, incredible, amazing gift. Watching our boys create music and movies together, play pick-up games of soccer or basketball together, laugh at inside jokes together, work outside with their dad together – really. I fear that I might explode with love and happiness right here in my chair.
There’s all the other stuff too, so don’t think that I don’t hate every minute of puke and sibling arguments and disobedience. Daily I have to get on my knees, giving my boys’ future over to God, knowing that as a human parent, I alone do not have what it takes – not even a little bit – to create in their hearts an attitude of Christ. I hang onto the promise that God has a plan for our kids, and He will work out in them His perfect plan. In spite of me, with me, without me, on behalf of me – God is working in our kids’ hearts.
I’ll take every bit of the “did I not just tell you three times to put your shoes in the closet?” and endure all the rounds of “mom he keeps touching me but he touched me first please make him stop touching me” and persevere through the “he said this to me I was just kidding no you weren’t” stuff. If only they would always be magically perfect and work outside with their dad so that watching their precious actions would steal away my breath and overtake my heart with joy. There’s all that and then there’s all the mud smeared into the rug that nobody claims. But I’ll take it. I’ll take it all, and I’ll even appreciate being right here, right now, doing this thing with its grass stains and question marks.
Because here’s the deal. The six of us? Matt and me and our four boys in this house? We’ve spent so many years of our lives together working and schooling and living and laughing and arguing and learning and problem solving and crying and traveling and reading and tripping over shoes that still didn’t get put into the closet. Our oldest turns 17 in one week. In the fall? He will be a senior in high school.
I am full of joy, excitement, and hope for what God has for Asa and all of our family after next year. I realize life doesn’t end when our oldest graduates. But the truth is that life as the six of us – the way it is now – changes. It’ll never be the same, because it’s not supposed to be. This is all part of the journey.
Today, that makes me cry. The recent graduation parties we’ve attended for friends has put into perspective that this will be us next year. Then this morning, I got up at 3:30 to see Asa and 14 others off at the airport as they head to Ecuador to do 10 days of mission work. Watching his grown up self smile and wave as he went through that gate pretty much did me in.
Here’s our 4:45 am picture, right before he went inside to check on his luggage. Yes, he does keep getting taller. No, I did not brush my hair this morning.
I’m so proud of that kid, I could cry. Oh wait. I am crying. I decided to give up on holding it in, and just sit here and feel it for a while. Feel the pride, love, wonder, amazement, excitement, joy…and sadness. At the same time.
Tears. They are good. God. He is very good. Because of that, I truly can feel peace about the future of my kids and our family, however it looks.
But when I need to cry, I’m going to cry. Praise God for tears. And Kleenex.