Thirteen years ago today I became a mom. Thirteen. Can you believe it? I can't. The half-boy/half-man that lives in my house can't possibly be that little bundle of blue that they handed me all those years ago. But if I look closely into his eyes, that now look directly into mine when he stands flat footed in front of me, I see him. I see that tiny baby who made me a mom and taught me that it was possible to live with part of my heart walking around outside my body.
I remember thinking, as we drove away from the hospital, how weird it was that they were letting us take this little creature home with us. Didn't they know or care that I had no idea how to take care of a baby? Did they really think I was capable of raising this child? Could this person, this tiny little being, be real? And be a part of me? But mostly I was wondering what in the world I was supposed to do now. But, lo and behold, I did okay. I fed him a lot and changed him a lot and held him a whole lot. I stared at his little face and treasured the moments in my heart.
Then he turned two. He was walking and talking and playing and being a big brother. He was smart and adorable. And still I wondered what I was doing thinking I could be a mother. But we made it through those times, too. I fed him, although he ate like a bird. And I changed him, because he refused to go potty. And I still held him close, because he was a snuggler. And I treasured still more moments with my little boy.
Then he turned five. And he started school. And I was his teacher and was glad to spend my mornings with him and his classmates. It wasn't always easy. He was what the experts call "strong willed." But we survived and he learned to read and I learned to love him in a whole new way. And I made his lunches and washed his school clothes. And laid with him every night when I tucked him in because he asked me to. And right along with him, my collection of treasured moments grew.
Then he turned 10. Double digits. It was amazing to me. My little boy wasn't such a little boy anymore. There were moments of something more. Something different. Conversations and questions and actions that weren't one bit child-like. And yet there were moments that were completely child-like. One foot in childhood and one foot climbing the fence to tween-dom. Not quite over the fence, but standing on the top rung. And so I held his hand as he climbed, when he would let me. I still fed him and had to learn to cook a little extra as he grew. And I hemmed and then let out his pants. And I still laid with him every once in a while and wished and waited for the nights he would ask me to. And treasured every one of those moments, too.
And now, today, he turns thirteen. Tall as me. Feet too big to wear my shoes (and even almost his daddy's). Opinions all of a sudden on clothes and hair and girls. (Yikes!) Phone calls and texting and wanting to be on Facebook. All things that I thought wouldn't be here quite so soon. But it's here. The teens. And all that comes with it. A teenaged friend asked me the other day how I was feeling about Josh turning 13. And I told her honestly, "I'm freaking out!" I have no idea how to mother a teenager! None. But the truth is, I didn't know how to mother an infant or a toddler or a preschooler or a tween either. I just did it. And so far we've both survived. So that's my plan. Do what I can and pray for the best. For him. For me. For us. And I will keeping feeding him, although he may eat us out of house and home. And clothing him, although buying men's clothes for him gives me a panic attack. And snuggling him every chance I get, because he still lets me do that as long as no one is watching. And I will hold close all those treasured moments while adding new ones. Bigger ones.
As we enter this new part of our journey together, I am nervous, yes. But also excited to see what the future holds. Who he is. Who he is becoming. Who he will be. And every step of the way I'll be there. Doing everything I can and everything he needs me to do to get him to 14 and 17 and 20...and, someday, to Heaven.
Happy, happy, happy birthday my sweet Josh. Mama loves you more than words can say. Even though you're a teenager now.
10 things about last night and the Newsboys concert.
1. A few weeks ago I got an email about an upcoming Newsboys concert in Spokane. Adam loves the Newsboys and so I bought tickets to surprise him with a mom/son date night. I didn't tell him until Tuesday that we were going on Wednesday. I wasn't going to tell him until we were on the way because he sometimes gets excited to the point of distraction and I didn't want him to get into trouble at school. But I decided to tell him on Tuesday, because the anticipation is part of the fun. Right?
2. I really wasn't much of a Newsboys fan. Not because I don't like their music. I just hadn't heard much of it. But I wanted to go with Adam. Their music is pretty much all he has on his iPod And he's made fans out of Julianna and Josh, too.
3. We planned to go to dinner and I let him choose. Azteca is right beside the theater and it's one of his favorite places, so we went there before the show. We had a great time and a great visit. I try to spend time alone with each of my kids often, but special outings are really good for them and me.
4. I had planned to buy Adam a tee shirt from the concert and he was thrilled. He chose a green one (of course). He was so happy with his souvenir and changed into it for the show. And he wore it to school today. (Christian tee shirt day. Christian band tee shirt day. Whatever.)
5. One thing that I love about Adam is that when he's excited, he vibrates. He can't stop moving. He wiggles and squirms and talks and grins. And you can just feel the excitement and can't help but to share in it with him.
6. Before the show, a few of the Christian radio station djs spoke about their stations and upcoming events in the area. And one of the morning guys prayed. He prayed, people! Before a rock concert! It was amazing. And wonderful.
7. Grace Campbell sang first. She has a very unique sound. Kind of alto-y and soft and sincere. Her songs were lovely and I got the sense that she's lovely, too. She was dressed in an off white sweater and floor length skirt outfit that matched her sound. I couldn't help but to think how different her look was from some of the secular female singers her age today. It was very refreshing.
8. Next was Luminate. I liked them a lot. The had so much energy and really got the crowd ready for the rest of the show. I have to admit that I was a little thrown off by the "preachy" part of it. Not because it was bad or unwanted. But because it was so unexpected. And I have come to realize that I am very cynical when it comes to spirituality. I don't know why. I believe. But sometimes I have a hard time believing that others do. Or I question their sincerity. But last night my cynicism shrunk a little about that. Jesus is out there and working in all kinds of people. I need to believe that and appreciate all those that he works through. (Speaking of preachy...)
9. Then came Building 429. Wow! Talk about energy! The lead singer reminded me of all those students I have had who can't sit still in their chairs or who are always humming or playing drums with their pencils. He was all over the place. And he is an expert at audience participation. My arms are sore today from waving my hands in the air because I really did care. And anyone who can get me dancing in public has to be pretty good if you ask me.
10. And then the big moment! They had a countdown to the Newsboys. 4 minutes. Music starts to play. 3 minutes. A little louder. 2 minutes. Louder and faster. 1 minute. Oh my goodness! 30 seconds. Adam could hardly stand it. His smile was worth the price of the tickets 100 times over. And then they were on stage. And a whole bunch of Christians began to scream like I've never heard. It was crazy! And amazing! And deafening...in a good way.
All it took was a few bars of their first song and the Newsboys made a fan out of me. They are good. Really good. And the fact that my kids (and I) can listen to some really good, rock music without hearing swear words or suggestive lyrics is a gift. Not once did I have to worry about what Adam would hear or see last night. Not once. I can't say that about any of the other concerts I've been to. (Although Richard Marx was pretty safe back in 1991.) Not only that, but the music was more than safe. It was inspiring and encouraging and empowering and faith building. I thought, about halfway through the night, that I was attending the best, most entertaining, loudest worship service that I'd ever been to. Where two or more or gathered...well, I felt HIM there last night. He was on stage with the amazing performers. He was dancing with the teenage girl and her brother (who happened to have Down Syndrome) two rows in front of us. He was with all the dads and moms who brought their kids to the concert. He was with the crazy bald guy down the aisle who danced like George Michael in the Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go video. And he was standing next to me. The 40 year old mom of three who was having the time of her life praising HIM. And there was a moment, when the lead singer led the crowd in an a capella rendition of Nothing But The Blood of Jesus that no one would have been able to doubt that something extraordinary was happening. It wasn't just a concert. I've been to plenty of those. It was worship, plain and simple. Well, not really simple. It was worship with some rockin' music and a pretty fantastic light show. And I didn't even mention that they hung the drummer vertically and spun him and his whole drum kit around!! It was amazing. I don't really know how else to explain it. It's one of those things that changed me. Changed the way I think. The way I see others. The way I see my Adam. The way I see myself. And the way I see Jesus. Because before last night I don't think I would have ever said, "Jesus rocks!" But today, and for the rest of my days, I will say with my whole heart and with a song on my lips that Jesus ROCKS!!