Boys to Men

I know I am not the first mom to face an empty nest, so why does it feel like I am?  I knew my sons would grow up, but it’s as if I’ve discovered a surprising and disconcerting fact– Time does not listen to me!  It won’t slow down.  I can’t put it on “pause” until I’m ready for it to move on.  I can’t go back in time to redo some things I’m just now figuring out.

Okay, so I know I haven’t discovered anything new.  I know I was even warned of this by other moms who had already experienced it.  They made comments to me when my boys were babies and toddlers.  “Enjoy it while you can!”  “This will all go by so fast!”  But I don’t recall them telling me that mixed in with the pride and joy would be this unnerving sense of fear and doubt.  I know I made mistakes as a mom.  I can look back and see inadequacies and laziness.  And I don’t recall them telling me that my heart would begin constantly replaying mental videos of rocking my small boys, reading to them, and listening to their childish prayers.  Why didn’t one of those moms grab me by the shoulders, look me in the eyes and say, “Make the MOST of every single day.  I’m serious!”

This past Sunday I watched our firstborn son, Gary, participate in the graduation ceremony of the Bear Valley Bible Institute.  I think I kept shaking my head as he walked down the aisle.  Didn’t I just have him?  Then Sunday night I watched our youngest son, Carl, preach a sermon.  He didn’t need the little step stool to see over the pulpit.  He looked and sounded like a grown man.  When did that happen?  How is it possible that my baby will be a senior this fall?  And this very afternoon we will take our middle son, Dale, to the airport.  He is going to Alaska to begin a summer internship with a church in Anchorage.  Did you know it’s over 3,000 miles from here?  I don’t think a state that’s one of ours should be allowed to be that far away.  With all of these events, I just want to grab each of them, pull them close, and hug them fiercely.  I have one continual prayer, “God, please! Be with them.  Help them always put you first!

For years I’ve been meaning to write each of my boys a letter to read in the event of my death.  I’ve been putting it off because I knew it would be an emotional undertaking.  I finally did it a couple of weeks ago.  It took me five hours to write three letters.  I gave it to them on my birthday since it’s possible they could be senior citizens before I die, and I want them to know my hopes for them before then.  None of them wanted to read their letter.  Carl finally opened his a few days later.  Then Gary was next.  Dale still hasn’t read his.  He has only gone as far as opening the corner of the envelope.

And that brings me to the point of this post (finally).  As I wrote those letters and thought about what I wanted to impress the most upon my children, it amazed me how easily it was to figure out.  It all boils down to the past, present, and future.

  • Past:  I have loved them with all my heart from the very beginning.  God has loved them even longer than that.
  • Present:  My only desire is that they will love God with all their heart and serve Him with all their might.
  • Future:  I want to see them in Heaven.

With their whole upbringing condensed to these truths, it seems that parenting has never had to be overly complicated.  It’s really all about taking the time to focus on what truly matters.

Gary, Dale, and Carl May 31, 2015

Gary, Dale, and Carl
May 31, 2015

 

 

 

13 thoughts on “Boys to Men

  1. You made me cry! Excellent idea with the letter writing! What also helped me was knowing that God loves them even more than I do. He knows them better than they know themselves. And He will NEVER leave them! I knew that with all of my flaws, I was thankful that God was in charge, working to fill in the gaps by using His word and His people. Love you!!! )))HUG(((

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  2. Thank you Kathy for this, it brought even this man to tears. I will share it with Tracy. She is feeling as you are with our girls growing up before our eyes. I am sure Neal feels the same as I do too watching his sons grow up before his eyes and going through it with you as I do with Tracy. We love the Pollard family very much, we see Gary, Dale and Pollard like our own, proud to call them our brother’s-in-Christ. Caity Mae looks up to them all like her own brothers. And, of course, Chelsea cannot wait to marry Gary. You and Neal have done well. God has blessed you well for all your great parenting and Godly service and will be with them wherever they go.

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  3. This post should come with a disclaimer: Don’t read first thing in the morning when you are already hormonal!! I’m sitting here with tears streaming down my cheeks knowing that time is also slipping away with my three babies. Thanks for the reminder of what’s important. And I’ll keep praying that invent a time machine in my life time so I can go back and enjoy them all over again.

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  4. Oh Kathy, you made me cry and helped me greatly, as I have been wanting to write Zac a letter for some time now. Thank you for sharing this. Much love to your family and each of you are in my prayers. I’m definitely not ready for Zac to grow up and leave!

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  5. I was relieved at the end of this post to see all the other comments talking about “this made me cry”, because let me tell you…phew, this touched me so much. I feel as a young mother you’ve shaken my shoulders and reminded me this stage will be over one day…really, it’s going to be over one day. Thank you for the insight and reminder; even for the tears :).

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  6. That was really beautiful, and I believe what most Mom’s would want for their children. I am inspired to do the letter as you have. This is the sweetest ~ and I know that your children will forever appreciate what a mother feels for her children. Thank you for sharing!

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