Praying for my Son when He’s gone

Last night was a first.  As I left my son at the middle school lock-in at my church, I thought about how many times I had walked away from him. Not walking down the hall or simply walking into another room.  I pondered about walking away from his dependence.

Sure, TechDaddy and I had left MrC overnight before with family. When he was little, he and his sister had stayed with one of my sister’s and her crew while hubby and I enjoyed an anniversary cruise.  But this was different.

In a nutshell, after almost five years of going to the same church, we are now getting involved in the youth ministry {both middle and high school}.  So when this lock-in popped up, MrC said yes purely for the opportunity to meet new friends.

So last night rolls around and my hubby and I bring our boy.  Staying to help with dinner setup and clean up for about 50 kids {pizza!}, TechDaddy and I hung around for a couple of hours.  {Don’t worry, we were in adult-mode but totally staying clear of our son.  You know, the “free-space from parents” mode.}

Then, after the kids had moved on to another activity and we had cleaned up, TechDaddy and I began our walk to the door.  Me, being a total mom, slipped over to MrC who was resting from a game of beachball volleyball.  After v e r y   q u i e t l y exchanging some “I love you”s and slipping him a buck for candy, I joined TD by the door.

And then I walked away from my son.

I didn’t feel it until later, after we got home and were spending time with Catz.  But the emptiness was thick. In my home his absence was real and heavy.  No jokes or funny quips abounded.  The sound of MrC jumping onto the stair landings was missing. And in my heart the ache was visceral.

Then this morning I woke with the reminder that my son is not in my home.  And while the rest of my family slept, I walked upstairs to his room, curled up on his bed, and prayed.

My prayers covered his heart, like the ones I spoke to Papa days and weeks and months and years before today. Prayers that begged for protection, both physical and emotional.  Prayers requesting my boy be happy and safe in his new environment.  Prayers that God would guide my son through every step and stage of his life.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.    Jeremiah 29:11

But my prayers also covered me.  That my Father would shore up my heart against the ache that comes when learning to give way to my boy’s growing independence.  The ache that hurts longer and deeper than those birth pains from over 13 years ago.

My boy is home now, happily snacking and laughing with the rest of us as we watch a movie all huddled up on one couch. And though I feel a twinge of what is to come as I continue to hand over more and more independence, I feel content in knowing that my Father’s hand is guiding my precious son and that all of my prayers are heard and stored away in the heart of the One who loves my boy more than I ever could.

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It’s all Relevant – On The Road and In the Car

Do me a favor and picture this for a moment: you’re in your car, family spread out in their own nooks, listening to some tunes on the radio, snacks tucked into a nearby cooler, pillows and other comforts stashed for when needed.  And lying ahead of you is the open road.  Ahh, now this is heaven.
The road is in my blood.  From a young age I learned to enjoy not just the destination at the end of a long trip but to savor the journey that led us there.  The glimpses I caught of trees and farms and big city skyscrapers as we buzzed past town after town all amazed me.  I wondered who lived there and what they were doing that day and could they see me as we sped on to another spot on our map.
The love of a good roadtrip has endured.  Though my family of four has always traveled together, our next excursion will be a special mom-daughter time for Catz and me as we venture to Pennsylvania for the Relevant Conference.
We have two map routes to choose from, of which I’m leaving the final choice up to TechDaddy as he’s the Safety Expert and Chief-Worrier-of-His-Two-Girls.  {Mainly, I trust his judgement.}   Both routes have us traveling through 7-8 states and around 2K miles roundtrip.That’s a lot of hours driving, but we have some of our listening options all planned out:

How do you like our selections?  Both series by Chuck Black were wonderful reads for both of my kids {perfect for ages 12 and up}.  We’ve heard all of the Odyssey cd’s so we’re starting from the beginning again and moving forward until they record a new album.  The “Jonathon Park” audio series is also great, but we’ve heard them all recently and not ready to repeat them yet.

And of course, Catz and I will spend a lot of time talking together because that’s what us girls do.  It’s also what keeps our hearts in sync as mother and daughter. And as one of those intentional activities, having our talks is something that I never want to skip.  My relationship with Catz is just too important!

So now it’s your turn.  Have you written a post about your plans for Relevant? Go ahead and link up the url to your post below so we can read more about it.  While you’re at it why not grab a button from my sidebar to put on your blog or in your post.  And be sure to visit someone else who linked up and show some love.  Ready? Go!

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When He Calls Me "Mom"

Sometimes when I wake him I forget how much he’s grown. In the dim light of morning, I see him snuggled under the sheet with only his head showing, and I think on his little voice that used to ask for snuggles after I’d read to him before sleep.

And then he wakes to my “good morning” and says “hi, Mommy” as he stretches. But the voice is now deep and the previously curled up ball of his limbs and torso emerge to reveal long arms and legs and 13-year-old hands that dwarf mine. Then he smiles, showing another departure from youth. Braces now cover the top row of teeth, altering the grin I was so used to, and in the increasing light creeping into his room I see the field of soft dark hairs above his lip and on his chin begging for a razor. My boy is growing tall and strong. Muscles are becoming more defined where once there was baby fat. I see the physical signs of his growth constantly now.
We still read together at night by the light of his lamp. And sometimes he asks “can we talk for a little while?” where he’ll share his dreams or what he’d like to spend his allowance on or a joke. And he’s growing even still, but this time it’s in manly things. My boy is growing in integrity and becoming a gentleman. My mothering is changing again as he spends more time with his dad and a little less with me. And my heart hurts a bit even while cheering him on.
It comes as a surprise, like a Florida sun-shower. Like when we’re around others and he calls me by a strange new name – when he calls me “Mom” – that I feel the growing pains sprinkling on my heart.
I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt, if I threw up my hands and shrugged and said “whatever.” This boy is part of my heart. I carried him inside of me, waited breathlessly in a sensitive pregnancy for the ultrasound tech, who proclaimed “the baby looks good” and “you’re having a boy.” For my son I learned to embrace boy culture for the first time, something new and foreign to a female raised in a house full of girls. For this boy, who is so like me in temperament that I giggle as well as cringe, I would do anything and go anywhere.
I know this is what he needs. I know that growth is good even while the hurt is still real. Without growth people become stagnant and stunted. But with it you see independence and responsibility. This man-cub is moving toward his future. I ponder over what that could bring, his “future.” Learning… falling in love… marriage… travel… children… adventure… leadership…
So as he changes so will I. Why? For him. Because I see the leader in him and the possible vastness of his reach. I see his potential and want him to succeed. Because in the growth I see goodness and truth.
Growth always brings change, and often times pain tags along, but greatness emerges from that as well. There will be more change for him even after he has left our nest to make his own. And in my heart I embrace his future for that is good.

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