I grew up with a mom and three sisters so my dad was the only male influence in the house and the one who couldn’t get into the bathroom sometimes for days on end. Living with five girls had to be a challenge for him. Somehow he managed it and even found ways to keep every strand of his curly hair in place before we left the house on an outing. I say this because that more feminine culture has made a difference in who I am and I’m delighted about that.
Today is my son Doug’s birthday. He’s my firstborn, (I also have two lovely and brilliant daughters, but that’s another story), and the day Doug was born started a kind of fascinating epic journey in my life. Here was this precious, incredibly smart blonde-haired boy who managed to wrap me around his fingers and toes before I even knew what hit me. As a baby, he was so curious, “reading” magazines for hours at a time absorbed in the pictures, loving any opportunity to discover the world outside, especially the insects and birds. He was an introduction to a world I didn’t know anything about. All through the pregnancy, the doctor had boasted of his ability to predict the sex, (this being before they could actually do so) and had said it was definitely a girl. Then, as his arrival became immanent, the doctor again said, “It’s a girl.” Two minutes later, he looked at me and said, “Guess what? It’s a boy!”
I guess all of us who are mothers are fascinated by the amazing opportunity that comes to us when a child is placed in our arms and in our care for the first time. We’re awed by what God has done, totally immersed in the miracle of that moment. I felt that way with all three of my children, but it was this first experience that awakened a part of me that I didn’t know existed. It made me realize the awesome responsibility of being someone’s mother and part of it was exhilarating and part of it was downright frightening.
Over the years, my son taught me many lessons. He helped me learn about the world from a masculine perspective and helped me see it with new eyes. He turned up the light. One of my favorite times in his growing up years came about when he started dating and going out with friends. He’d come home from a movie or a party or some event and sit on the end of my bed and tell me all about it. He was so capable of describing the details and it was such a wonderful time of sharing for me. Later when he went to college and studied poetry and literature, it provided other ways to share how he thinks and how he sees the world. Something that still captures my heart about him.
Today he manages a bookstore, such an appropriate position for a guy who used to read books with a flashlight long after lights out had been called at home. Every now and then we share something about our mutual interest in writing and those moments are a gift to me.
So, Happy Birthday, Doug! I love you, BIG time! And to all the parents out there who have cherished sons and daughters, I say let’s give great thanks for them, for all they have done to guide us and help us become more than what we would be otherwise. Since all of life is about relationship, we know the ones entrusted to our care are given to us on purpose. They are never an accident, never an after thought, but a divinely created blessing.
I often think about the relationship Jesus shared with us about His Father. He always wanted us to understand that love is the reason, that being there for each other is the gift, and that nothing can ever change the joy it brings. Honoring our children isn’t new. Even God said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
To all our sons and daughters…blessings and joy and gratitude forever!