I found this 17 year old picture of myself and my oldest boy Mark while looking through a scrap book earlier this week. Boy, those were the days. I was in love with this kid after about 5 seconds of him being born and I have been smitten ever since. When he was a small baby I would rock him and sing to him and just stare at him wondering how a person like me could be so amazingly lucky to be given a gift as dear and precious as a sweet child.
When he was about 12 weeks old, MyHandsomeHusband and I decided he was old enough to master the art of sleeping through the night. We got him to sleep, tucked safe and sound and then promised each other if he cried during the night we would just let him be, even if he had to cry for a while to put himself back to sleep. What can I say, other than we were brand new parents and wanted to do everything exactly right. We were sure that if baby Mark turned the ripe old age of 13 weeks, and couldn’t sleep at least 6 hours through the night we would have completely failed as parents and our bouncy baby boy would turn into an overindulged young adult, addicted to video games, cigarettes and sleazy women. These were serious times in our young married life. There was a lot on the line, as you can see.
Mark slept soundly that night for approximately for 3.25 hours and then woke up ready for his nightly feeding. He cried, he fussed and then he all out bawled and bawled and bawled.
And so did I. Big fat crocodile tears, ladies and gentlemen. My husband (who is a rock of a parent, always doing what is going to be best in the long run, and working hard to convince me to do the same) put his arm around me and tried to console his wreck of a wife.
“Honey, he is totally fine. This will be good for him.” were his exact words.
“Well, I can’t stand it.” I said. “I can’t stand it tonight, or tomorrow, or for the rest of his life. I won’t be able to handle it, if anything bad ever happens to him. Like, ever. My heart can’t take it.”
“I don’t want to sound insensitive…” he said. “… as I can see you are in an emotional state…but honey, that’s ridiculous. At least a few bad things are going to happen to him during the course of his life, you know. That’s just how life is. It’s our job to help him through it, whatever comes.”
Which is of course true.
We lay there in the dark, the two of us. Listening. Silently cheering him on in our minds. “You can do it, kid! Put yourself back to sleep! You are a 3 month old rock star, capable of amazing things. This is just the first step on the road to a fabulous life full of self-sufficiency and success!”
After 29 minutes of heart wrenching sobbing, the baby of wonder and might calmed himself down (can you believe it!) and went back to sleep for the rest of the night.
My husband and I congratulated each other on having the most amazing baby in the world. I dried my tears and told myself to toughen up, this kid was going to make it in this dog-eat-dog world and would most likely be president of the United States of America.
Who knew. 🙂
Fast forward almost 18 years and Mark’s years of living under my roof are almost up. I can’t believe it. I’ve learned a thing or two about being a mom since then. When my youngest baby was learning to sleep through the night, I only shed half a dozen tears instead of 29 minutes worth. Man, I am really tough.
This is Mark holding one of his twin brothers alongside his sister Emily.
At his eagle court of honor…
and at my sister’s wedding.
As a graduation present, I bought this big spear for Mark to take on his mission, just in case he runs into some trouble and needs to protect himself…since his mother bear will be far away and unable to step in and fight his battles for him.
Ok, not really. He throws the javelin on our high schools track team and they said he couldn’t take it on his mission. Dang, them.
I’ve loved being this kids mom. I don’t know what his future will be. I know there will still be many times when my heart hurts for him and I struggle to know if I should step in and make things right, or stand on the sidelines and cheer him on. I suppose this is the age-old dilemma of a mothers everywhere.
I came across a great quote in a book recently that spoke a lot of peace to my heart. Here you have it…
“When we have to loosen our grip on our children, God tightens his.”
Man, I am counting on that to be the truth. I have this scripture engraved on the inside of my heart these days…
“Trust in The Lord with all thine heart, and lean not to thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct thy paths.” ~Proverbs 3:5-6
Lucky for me, Heavenly Father loves my boy even more than I do, which is hard to image but something I can trust in…
Happy Mother’s Day to all of you mothers out there. It’s a pretty fantastic job title, isn’t it. 🙂