How Many Days to Raise a Boy?

Yesterday I was relaxing and holding my sweet precocious little guy while he slept and thinking about how fast the days are flying by us.  It seems like just yesterday we were planning for his arrival.  Now we’re chasing him while he laughs, pulling him off of high places he shouldn’t be, and sometimes taking a golf club to the shin in all the fun.  And if it seems that the past 19 months have flown by, I look at Drew and can hardly believe that 8 years have gone by.  But yet I can’t remember life before him. 

Then I realize, we’re almost half way through the years of Drew at home.  We’ve already had the biggest impact we will on his personality, esteem, values and learning.  From here on we’re reinforcing what we’ve taught, intentionally or not.  We’re closer to the start of this journey with Ben, and I was just thinking that I’m glad for more days to mother and love on him, glad that we’re not so near the finish.

My boys and I recently

But I started debating how many years it would be before they were ‘raised’.  Is it 18 when they’re legally adults, or 21 or so when they finish school (I hope) or when they’re married and on their own, or…?  Maybe it’s none of those.  Maybe a parent’s job is never quite done, because when do you stop needing loving guidance of someone who loves you more than themselves?

Often when a missing person is an adult, the heartbreak and urgency is lost on those not close to them.  But to those that love them, they don’t need us any less.  They may need us less in the physical sense, but that’s far from everything.

No matter how old our kids get, we still are teaching them, guiding them, loving on them.  We’re still pulling them away from danger when we can, and hurting when they hurt.  We’re still getting hit in the shin so to speak at times.  And we’re thinking we wouldn’t trade it for anything, hurts and all.  The older my boys get, the more I understand the mothers who will never give up.  The more I understand that their age has nothing to do with it.  I think that is part of God’s plan too.  He didn’t tell us to honor our parents when we’re young, but our whole lives.  A parents love is the closest thing we have here on earth to His love.  It never ends.

So how long to raise a boy?  I don’t think I’ll ever be done to find out.

Letter to Myself

A few days ago I saw an old photo of a group of my friends from high school. We were young and more beautiful than we knew, so full of potential and ready to take on the world. I commented that we were really something, and was reminded that we’re really something now too. Years later, these are now women that I respect and admire. Both for things they’ve accomplished and the way they live their lives.

I looked at myself and wondered what I’d have said if I knew what the next 15 years or so would hold. I probably would have been scared and excited all at once, and in some disbelief of it all. But here are some things I would say to that girl.

Be courageous, you have nothing to fear.

College will teach you so much more than you’ll learn in class. Get out there and experience it. A little more studying wouldn’t hurt you either.

You’re not fat.

You’ll meet many guys, and you’ll learn from them what you want and don’t want in a spouse. Heartbreak will help you find the right one.

Fight for what’s right as soon as you know its right. But don’t worry, you’ll soon get pushed into it and you’ll be fine.

Enjoy that time before kids a bit more, quiet doesn’t come again for many years.

You’ll learn a lot about medicine and advocating for good care by being thrown into the fire. Toughen up- it’s hard but worth it.

Ask more questions, invade personal space a bit more, and open up yourself. Fear of rejection is no way to live. The phone won’t kill you.

Stop. Breathe. Enjoy.

Go home at 5 sometimes.

Hug your Dad more. You don’t have to agree on anything but loving each other. That’s enough.

Push Austin. It might not have helped, but don’t give up. You’ll have less regret and guilt, and you already have enough.

Enjoy that last movie with Austin, and don’t drive straight home. Find a way to spend a few more minutes.

Just keep trusting God, He won’t let you fall.

Look around at your friends. Some will be gone, some will become close again one day, some will come later and become family, while some will seemingly disappear once Austin does. You’ll learn from them all.

You’re stronger than you think. You’ll survive more than you think you can handle, and you’ll do more than just survive.

….. Now that I think about it, I should probably remind grown me of these same things…..funny how our younger self and our older self are so much the same, maybe just a stronger version. At least I hope so.

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