Not Exactly Yesterday

Not Exactly Yesterday

Our oldest son had a birthday this week. I remember the day he was born like it happened this morning. The weird thing about this is while this memory from 26 years ago is immediate, I have to stop and think a minute about what I had for dinner last night. Can I get an amen from my other 50-something’s ?!?

Son #1 was actually due on my birthday. One of those biggies with a zero at the end. I think about turning 30 and how old that made me feel at the time. It must’ve been all the raging pregnant hormones! Thirty is awesome! But exiting my 20’s just felt huge. Like I was suddenly gonna wake up into a brand new level of maturity and experience I didn’t have even the day before. I think I’ve felt that way with each passing year but as I approach this next birthday that will launch me to the other side of my mid-50’s, I think I’m over feeling ancient over the calendar changes. That was so 26 years ago! Maybe!

But I digress. That mid July day in 1993 started like most of my summer pregnant days. It was four million degrees in our corner of Georgia…at least. And the humidity was just as bad. I’m sure my hair was awful as I drove my enormously pregnant self to my doctor’s appointment that Friday morning. (FYI…. I’ve slept a few times since this day and may not remember this part exactly right. My Man may have gone with me and been in the drivers seat. We may have even stopped for donuts on the way! Who knows?? ) I was just happy to have the morning off work. I planned on dilly dallying and getting to work really late. I didn’t know as I buckled my seat belt that morning just how long my delay back to work would be! My doctor gladly cooperated with my dilly dally plan. Seemed I was in labor. (I had a tendency to be in labor and not know it…please don’t hate me mommas !) He sent me immediately to the hospital, likely afraid I’d spit out this baby over the weekend and totally ruin his golf plans! My labor with this third child of mine was the roughest and the fastest. Sweet baby boy nearly came while the doctor left me in the “c section recovery room” to find me a real labor suite. The full moon had labor and delivery packed to the gills and I was far from the first one there ! There was nearly “no room in the inn”! My man had also left the room to go tell his mom what was going on. Now before anyone goes bashing these men for leaving a laboring woman all alone, all was well when they left. In the 10 minutes they were gone,however, this sweet child of mine got in a real big hurry and was almost born with no audience! Yikes! But the doctor returned just in time to deliver my bouncing baby boy!

Oh the memories! It really IS hard to believe 26 years have passed. But then I think about all that has changed since 1993 and it feels like eons ago.

In 1993, the average cost of a new house was $113,200. The price of a gallon of gas was around $1.16. It cost $4.00 to go see Jurassic Park or Sleepless in Seattle in a theater. And we had to see it in the theater because , well, no Netflix or Amazon Prime Of course we could wait for movies to come to Blockbuster, but the pressure to “be kind and rewind” or to return said movies on time was large! Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey could be heard blaring from our car radio speakers. Bill Clinton was president but had not yet “not had sexual relations” with that woman. The World Wide Web was still a tiny baby . Cell phones as we know them today were still a dream but big boxy car phones were all the rage if you were well-to-do. When new parents took photos of their babes, they held their breaths and hoped for a decent shot because they wouldn’t be able to see the picture until the film was developed. Commodore released the Amiga CD32 and Atari had the Jaguar. But the Playstation was still a year away.

And of course, there was Sears Portrait studio for all your baby’s first professional photo needs. Don’t you love how they disguised my steadying mommy arm with that amazing furry backdrop?

Today I look at my 6ft 2 son and wonder where the time went. I mean,wasn’t I just swaddling him and laying him in his Jenny Lind crib; just singing our made up “big buddy buckle up ” song every time we got in the car; just packing his little backpack for school ? But that car phone thing? That makes me feel like we walked with dinosaurs back then and I realize 26 years ago wasn’t exactly “yesterday”.

A lot has changed over the years. But one thing has remained constant. The days may feel like they’re dragging … especially when the crying seems to never end and you’ve stepped on the 110th Lego and they won’t eat their peas even with cheese sauce and they roll their eyes at you one more time…

But the years are short.

In the blink of an eye, that adorable baby becomes a curious toddler who turns into a messy elementary kid who barrels into teenage rebellion. And before you know it, he’s a grown, married man with a job and bills to pay and little furry mouths to feed. Just as it should be.

So parents of yunguns, cherish those moments . Even the ones that make you want to claw your eyes out in frustration. Stop wishing time away. Stop always looking forward to the next amazing thing your child will do and simply enjoy the things they ARE doing. Now. In this moment. We can get so wrapped up in the next best thing that we don’t even see the now best thing. And I bet that even in those pesky pre-teen years where they’re trying so hard to be the boss of themselves and they’re on your last nerve all. the. time…..even then there’s something they’re doing that’s their now best thing. Find it. Love it. Brag on it. And in the proper time, you’ll all gracefully slide into the next little piece of greatness .

So Time, thank you I guess. Thank you for faithfully doing your thing and always marching on. Thank you Time for the weird ways you cause us to think you’ve stopped because those moments are filled with delightful memories. Thank you for the times that drag and for the times that seem to move forward too quickly.

And to that little boy who grew up too fast (and all his siblings) and to all the other children who seem to do the same …. my prayer for you…

“May God bless you and keep you. May God smile on you and gift you. May God look you full in the face and make you prosper.”

Until next time…

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Still Calm and Knowing

Still Calm and Knowing

As I look at the calendar today, it’s almost shocking to me that we’re at the end of yet another school year. Our school district is on an early start/early end schedule so our seniors will actually graduate a week from Friday! We have sat at the graduation ceremony of all five of our children now. Not one of them any easier than the one before them . Graduation is a stark reminder of how quickly time passes. It seems just like yesterday we were bringing home our brand new, fresh from God newborn and yet today , there they are. Walking across a stage or a football field, ready to take on the world on their own. It hardly seems fair!

Every so often on this blog, I’ll resurrect a post from my former blog if it’s fitting. Today is one of those days. Because it won’t be long until another set of parents will be on the verge of launching their baby birds out of the nest and into the world of adulting. And we can all use a reminder of Who is ultimately in control, not only of our lives, but our children’s. So once again…or for the first time…be encouraged and calm and know that our beloveds are in far better hands than even our own.

I put them in a car to spend their first weekend away from me. It didn’t matter that the person they were leaving with was their dad. They were 2 and 4 years old and I had legitimate concerns. Would their hair get brushed in the morning and would he know how to attach the all essential hair bow in that mane of hair ? Would their clothes match all weekend? Would they eat the right things? Would they be afraid at bedtime because I wasn’t there to tuck them in? Would they sleep OK in a bed they weren’t used to? Would they play in the street or fall off a swing or skin their knees or get eaten by a pack of hungry mountain lions?? Would they miss me as much as I missed them?

And a little voice deep within my soul gently whispered to me, “It’s OK. You’re their mom but I AM God.”

It was kindergarten registration. I sat with my sweet little 5 year old boy on my lap in a tiny little chair that I’m not sure I would’ve fit in comfortably even if I was 5. As I sat and watched other parents come in and out of the room with big old smiles on their faces , anticipating the freedom that was about to ensue in their lives as their kid finally started school, I sat with tears streaming down my face. Oh I was about to go into the full out ugly cry right there in front of 24 other beaming parents and God Himself. Then the sweet kindergarten teacher came and sat next to me, patted me on the knee and said she understood how difficult it can be when it’s time to send your first born to school. I looked at her with tears welling up into big Lake Michigan sized puddles in my eyes and said ,”He’s my FOURTH child!!” Then I proceeded to release the dam of tears that was blocking my vision from filling out the mountain of paperwork required to send your precious baby to school. Would he make friends? Would he be too shy to even say a word? Would he eat his lunch? Would he fall off the monkey bars during recess ? Would other kids make fun of him? Would he get eaten by a pack of hungry mountain lions roaming the playground? (Those darn west Georgia mountain lions!! They need to leave my kids alone!!)

Then a little voice deep within my soul gently whispered to me, “It’s OK. You’re the mom but I AM God.”

We were standing out on the front porch, about to go shopping for this , that and the other when she looked up at me and very matter of factly said these words. “ I know I’m only 13, but I’m pretty sure that if I could drive, I could completely take care of myself and have my own house, pay my own bills and all that.” I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at my darling baby girl. This wasn’t a fit of teenage rage, mad at me and wanting to be away from her family as soon as possible. She was a 13 year old girl wanting me to know that she felt she could handle life on her own one day. I loved her spirit of confidence and independence but the thought of my first born child on her own, away from me, doing her own thing….forever…..well. Was she really ready to face those pesky mountain lions? I wanted to cry….she was growing up too quickly.

Then a little voice deep within my soul gently whispered to me, “It’s OK. You’re the mom but I AM God.”

The music started. It was a familiar tune . My vision blurred. Babies in long black robe- like garments with weird looking hats on their heads began marching in from the other side of the football field. Oh wait….they’re not babies. They’re full grown mini-adults finishing high school … or college. Ready to make their marks on this big old world. Ready to face life’s challenges and excitements and adventures. On their own. Without their momma’s by their sides. I’ve done this seven times now (5 high school graduations, 2 college graduations) and I still have at least 1 more college graduation to go. Will it ever get easier? Will I ever be able to watch my children pack up and leave the safety of our home without getting a big old lump in my throat? Will I ever stop having mini panic attacks when I think about those proverbial “mountain lions” waiting to pounce on my kids and devour them whole?

Then a little voice deep within my soul, One I’m way more familiar with now that I’m older, gently whispered to me, “It’s OK. You’re a good mom. But I AM a GREAT God.”

I am Mom……not God.

Let me tell myself that again, just one more time.

 I AM MOM…..NOT GOD!!!!

Ok, so I yelled it that time but sometimes I just need that loud reminder that as a parent, there comes a time when I just have to trust that I’ve done a decent-ish job as mom and let go and trust God with the rest.

When they want to drive a car…..God is riding shot gun.

When they want to go off to college and haven’t invited me to be their roomie….God is there with them.

When they have to make those first grown up decisions and they don’t want my opinion….God is waiting to guide them.

When they become parents themselves and they see Mom through new eyes…….God gently starts this process with them.

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And a gentle voice will speak into their souls just as gently and persistently as He did mine, “You are Mom ( or Dad). And I am God.”

Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!”..Luke 1:45