The Final Year

It’s finally Spring y’all! Flowers are blooming. Birds are singing. Rain is falling. The sun shines brighter. And, I’m over here, facing reality. My youngest child is a junior in high school. In about 13 months, I’ll watch him graduate and walk across the stage, getting his diploma.

Being a mom is all I’ve known for 24 years. From the moment I held my oldest son, being a mommy has been my focus. It hasn’t been easy! Three boys in seven years. The diapers, teething, feedings, colds, ER visits, we’ve done it all. All three boys are taller than me now. Two are adults. And my youngest is counting the days to being out of high school.

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At times, I want to throw a rope around them and make them stop growing! I want to hold on to those carefree days of childhood. I think back to our homeschooling days when we would take our lessons to the nature park and draw what we saw, look at the flowers, and make up glorious stories. And to the times we took vacations! And all the batches of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies I made! And having a houseful of kids, making lots of noise! And when our home split in two, all of us had to find our footing again. But, with the grace of God, we did

Instead, we raise our children to become adults. To explore the world on their own. They make the big decisions on their own. And we pray for them as they step into the world of adulting. I wasn’t always a perfect mom, but I perfectly love my boys. And, when I need something, my boys are there. Fixing the brakes on my car, house-sitting for me when I travel, helping me move, whatever I need, I know they are there.

So, in this last year with kids, I hope my kids are going into the adult world with the important things echoing in their ears:

1.       Always serve God.

2.       Treat that special lady in your life with love and respect. 

3.       Be nice to those around you.

4.       Be grateful for your family.

5.       Follow the Shepherd and hear only His voice. All other voices in your life should be encouraging you to hear Him.

6.       Life gets hard at times, but never become hard against life or against people.

7.       Forgiveness is a way of life.

8.       Joy comes from deep inside you and it will give you strength to carry on

9.       Cling to your church family. They will hold you up with prayer, and meals, when you need it.

10.   Never forget that your momma loves you, prays for you, and is your biggest fan!

Gwendolyn Irene

When They Get Quiet.

I’m a mom of boys. I just adore them. Those boys keep me hopping! They wrestle around and act without thinking. The last 23 years have been filled with high energy, ER visits, and lots of laughter. I know more about cars and Marvel Comics then I ever thought I would. Seeing the world through their eyes has been interesting and never boring!

But, the one thing I wasn’t prepared for was the quietness. As a woman, I can talk. A lot! I talk out my feelings, what I’m wearing, how I’m thinking. All of it. But, as my boys hit the teens years, the conversations slowed down. My little boys no longer ran to me with everything they were thinking. They could sit and not say a thing. As the mom, I wanted to talk! But, the more I pushed, the quieter they became.

I read the articles. I Googled how to talk to your teenage son. However, I was always amazed how my open-ended questions could still be answered by one word! So, finally, I prayed. Of course, I should’ve done that first, but sometimes, I just think I can handle it on my own. And I was simply led to a verse.

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

Be still? Me? Didn’t God know I needed the conversations? I needed the connections with my boys?

But, I did it. I quit asking so many questions and just waited.

And you know what? They started talking. I started hearing words again. This time, though, it was about the things that were important to them.

The midnight conversation about a Play Station game.

Asking me to watch a TV show with them, then tell me why he liked it so much.

“Watch this mom” as he tumbled across the yard.

When I quit asking the questions that were important to me, I found out the things that meant the most to them. I discovered the things they liked. I heard the names of girls mentioned. I found out the teachers that were liked and the ones that weren’t. I listened to the hurt during holidays when they had to divide their time between two homes. I also loved the laughter that came at the silliest things.

By being quiet, I learned what their favorite cookies were, who they liked hanging out with, and which classes they struggled in.

But, another thing happened. I learned to trust God with my children. The relationship changed from raising littles who needed me, to having young men who needed to make their own decisions and choices. Those decisions weren’t always easy, and the right words weren’t always said. In the quietness those, I heard their heart. And I saw it.

Coming to change my air filters, fix my car, or mow my lawn.

My boys are now 23, 21, and 16. I’ve been a single mom for nine years. I’ve learned how to talk to my kids. For one child, texting is the way to go! For another, standing by him when he’s working on my car works. And, then, there’s the one who will talk nonstop for 30 minutes, then not say much of anything for three hours.

Each boy is different. Each has a different love language. Each sees things differently.

But, some things don’t change. Because when I get quiet, I’ll still get a conversation about the Marvel Universe and which movie will be made next and why it’s important. And in those laughter-filled-unimportant-small-talk-moments, I see a glimpse of my little boys, running around the playground again.

Gwendolyn Irene