It was during communion at church that I saw him.
Voices sang “Center” in unison, and people formed lines to break bread and remember.
Oh Christ be the center of our lives
Be the place we fix our eyes
Be the center of our lives
Tall. How tall he is now. Donned in skinny jeans and a plaid flannel, his hair is done to a high school kids’s standard and black glasses mature his once boyish face. I lean into Bry, Wasn’t he in middle school like yesterday?
And then the tears come. Blame it on the worship, but my mama heart knows. That is our boy tomorrow. First Tanner, then Ty. As it is, they grow through jeans and pajamas faster than I can wash them. The joke is always tonight is the night you are going in a box. And that joke is apparently only funny inside our cottage walls. Make no mistake, when they yell it in public – No, mom, please don’t put me in a box tonight– crazy glares and threatening CPS calls loom. I’m kidding, I force a laugh. It’s this thing we say at home. Oh never mind. I bend low. Guys, putting you in a box is a joke. Stop sharing it with the world. But kids will be kids and so the glares continue. I now laugh them off as I pick up two pairs of next size jeans.
One of my 2015 dreams is to come alongside my boys and join them in whatever they are passionate about in that moment. Us parents know those moments change like the wind. Whether it’s Pokemon (which they totally cheat at and insist on giving me the lowest power cards), or the Chargers, or trains, or girls (don’t laugh- just pray for us now!), I want to, have to do this because tomorrow they will be the high school boy who was just in Bryan’s middle school youth group. Tall, in skinny jeans and wearing hipster glasses.
I notice when I meet them at eye level – and trust me, I don’t have to bend down as far as I used to- how loved they feel. When I ask them to teach me Pokemon rules, when I sit next to them and ask about their favorite player, when Ty orders me to sit and takes my order. I’m the chef he belts and we don’t serve burgers here. You want a burger, you go somewhere else.
I notice because when I pause my work and eat up the moments of their moppy hair and mismatched shoes and skinny legs, I see them for who they are in the moment. I know it will change overnight. As they serve me non-burger food and teach me about Snivy and science experiments, these are the priceless moments etched inside. And their dreams matter to this mama’s heart.
Mom, you’re the best mom I’ve ever seen, Ty grabs my face and plants one on me.
I love you mom. So, so much. Tanner squeezes me, his head tucked under my chin.
Years ago, wise mentor friends shared these words with Bry and I: Start praying with your kids now. It gets really awkward to do in junior high.
So we soak in growing up moments and too-small pajamas in exchange to ask them questions and kick the ball and assemble train tracks and listen to their dreams. Because tomorrow they will be in high school and it would be really awkward to start trying to get to know them then.
Especially when I’m trying to put them in a box.