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Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

This is the story of a boy called Faithful. Not because in the beginning he was, but because God told me so, to call him so, He would make him so.

03-08-2009 03;39;49PMMy son’s science fair project one year was to determine whether 1 out of 4 children will have the recessive eye gene.  Both sides of the family tree have groups of 4 or more, so off we went to collect data.  Now keep in mind, science fair projects are 3rd grade projects where we live.

I bought a paint brush, a sponge, and red apple stickers.  My son painted the tree trunk and the appropriate amount of branches with the paint brush.  He used the sponge to create the green, leafy area of the tree.  He took the collected data and labeled each apple brown, blue or green, green being the recessive color.  Our family tree proves that one out of 4 children will have the recessive gene.

If  you study families with 4 + groupings, you can start determining birth order personalities.  It’s easy to see in families of either all boy or all girl children..  For example, there are 12 grandsons in my husband’s family—no granddaughters.  

benscbbeachThen I noticed  Biblical birth order personalities reflected the same traits, especially with the first and second born.

Esau knew how to please his father: “ Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau”(Genesis 25).

The older son in the story of the Prodigal son, was always with his father and knew how to please him.  “’My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me” (Luke 15:31) ‘The first born had worked hard for his father, never disobeying his orders (Luke 15:29)

That is so like my first born.  It’s so easy to go by the rules.  Being compassionate is different.  That’s hard for the first born.

The second born sons, wrestle with obedience, rules, and right choices.  Jacob was forever trying to go around the rules.  Because of that, he had to run away from home, married 2 wives—one he didn’t want and one he did.  Someone tricked  him just as he tricked his brother.

The Prodigal son was the same way.  He shunned the rules, ignored his father’s heartache, and rebelled in any way he could.

Do any of you have a son like that?  One that wants to skirt the rules?

benclow3My son, Faithful, is like that.  All  my boys have spirit names: Perceiverof Truth, Joyful, Fire and Power of the Holy Spirit, Love – and this son, Faithful.I remember asking God, “Why Faithful?  I’m not seeing that.”  And God answered me in the quiet, in the confusion, “Because he’s going to witness about my faithfulness to him, how I never abandoned nor forsook him.”

What hope!

I’ve noticed that children diagnosed late, 2nd and 3rd grade with dyslexia or Central Auditory Processing Disorder(CAPD), spend years breaking patterns of frustration.  These patterns of frustration develop when a child sits in the classroom, doing what everyone else is doing, but doesn’t understand why he’s doing so poorly.  

Children with dyslexia don’t realize they’re seeing words differently.  My son has CAPD.  He hears perfectly, until you add background noise.  Then his ability to hear goes down to 25%.  In 3rd grade he was hearing 2 out of 3 words correctly. Guess which word you don’t hear with “Don’t do that!”

Often, people with CAPD have difficulty learning grammar and math.  They don’t recognize patterns right off the bat.  I determined that if you don’t recognize patterns in math and grammar, then you probably don’t recognize patterns of behavior.  We discovered that with a slow pace in math and grammar and lots of repetition, a CAPD student can be just as successful as any other math student.  It just takes more time.

He doesn’t hear tone.  If you can’t hear tone, you can’t hear those subtle warning signs in a voice that says, “Hey, you need to stop or you’ll be in time out.”

If you can’t hear tone, it’s more difficult to determine what someone really means when they say, “You’re such a pig.”  Boys show affection with wrestling words.  What a quandary—friend words or fighting words?  We spent years practicing in the car how to respond:  “Wow!  See that zit on your nose.  That’s bigger than Mount Everest; Is Dumbo standing behind you or are those your ears?”  We gradually moved to more sensitive issues—issues that dealt with self-esteem, like how to handle peer ribbing when you answer a question in class.  It could be a great answer.  It’s just that someone’s going to tease you about it.  We learned how to handle that, too.

I really don’t consider it a disorder.  I think people just hear differently, and this is just one of the different ways people hear.  When God sent every away from the Tower of Babel, it makes sense that not only would he change the languages they spoke but how they people hear language.  After all, God is multi-dimensional.

Let’s go back to our stories, though, for a minute—let’s get back to God’s Faithfulness.  The prodigal son finally realized rebellion wasn’t a good choice.  The result?  His father welcomed him home with open arms.  Jacob repented to his brother, told him what he did was wrong, and offered to pay back what he had stolen.  The result?  Peace was restored.  He was blessed.  You never heard another word about any real trials in his life from that point.

I’ve seen the second born in so many instances display the personality traits listed above.  Then I see them become the most in-control, go-by-the rules young men and women, with hearts full of compassion because they understand the struggle.  They’ve lived it.  Through God’s faithfulness, He brought them out of it.

100_27_0110God created personalities.  He knows exactly what is in each of my sons and why.  He takes the blinders off my eyes to see the amazing things he put in each of them.  Each son struggles in his own way, with his own challenges.  It’s up to me as a mom to not be blinded by the response to those challenges.  It’s up to me to teach them about the wonderful things in them and help them see those same things.  Sadly, on some days, that can be a huge challenge to me, too.

I might falter, but I keep reminding myself of God’s promises to me and my children:

“For you created my inmost being;
       you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
       your works are wonderful,
       I know that full well.

 15 My frame was not hidden from you
       when I was made in the secret place.
       When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

 16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
       All the days ordained for me
       were written in your book
       before one of them came to be”(Psalm 139:13-16)

There are moments in raising children, that we love by faith alone. There are moments of great failure that we hope by faith alone. The greatest inheritance I can give my children is Faith, not only that they have great faith within them, but that God has the greater faith – and when they feel like giving up, like they have failed too much – that He has more than enough for both of them. All it takes is reaching out and falling into Him.

 

 

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scbfav“How do you like my haircut?” I asked one day when I picked my son up from kindergarten.  “Do you like it?”

 I learned two things that day.  First, never ask your sons if they like your hair cut, your shoes, or your lipstick!  Second, don’t ask Perceiver of Truth anything unless you want the ugly, honest truth.

 “Don’t ever do that again,” he answered, picked up his back pack, took hold of my hand, and walked with me out to our red Ford Ranger.  You can have a truck if you only have one son.  We traded it in for a mini-van when son #2 rolled along.

Perceiver of Truth doesn’t hedge, distort, exaggerate, or misrepresent, or tolerate others hedging, distoring, exaggerating, or misrepresenting. 

 My shining crown of motherhood earned a smudge when he was about 9 years old.  I hedged.  I misrepresented the truth.  No prevarication is a good prevarication to Perceiver of Truth.

 We took our 3 sons to Disney World for 4 days.  Sea World was also on the must-do list.  Number 2 son, Faithful, wanted to see Shamu, the Sea Whale.  He was so excited.

 Due to the cost, I had to chose between Sea World and Epcot Center.  I admit—I love Epcot Center.  Spending Perceiver of Truth’s Birthday at the little, outdoor café in Paris watching fireworks was to be a highlight of the trip.

 What to do!  I was in an emotional muddle.  I didn’t want to disappoint our little guy about Shamu.  A solution presented itself.  A truth-hedging solution.  Epcot won!  Under The Sea with Shamu the Sea Cow was a huge hit.  Faithful was fully satisfied.  That Sea Cow was enormous.  Even I was amazed.  Faithful never knew the difference.

 But Perceiver of Truth knew the difference.  He was appalled by my lack of . . . truth.

Logic infers that if one is a truth advocate, one must be able to control the flow of truth.

05-29-2009 08;10;38PMInformation doesn’t ooze from them or come busting out at the seams.  Gossiping is out of the question.  There’s no manipulating Perceiver of Truth into spilling the beans about him or anyone else.  Information about their life comes out if you wait. . . .wait. . . and suddenly, you are having a casual mother-son confabs.  Late-at-night talks, car talks, let’s-talk-about-life talks. You find out the quandries they’re grappling with.  Their shields are down, so they actually hear your ideas.  It’s a magical mom moment!

Perceiver of Truth is animated in conversation.  Animated is not to be confused with emotional.  Blunt, direct people aren’t particularly emotional people.

 Sometimes it’s hard communicating with someone who isn’t emotional.  You can’t gauge their reaction to your conversation.  It can be unnerving, not being able to read someone.  I always said that if I didn’t know my sons’ love languages and spiritual gifts, I probably wouldn’t know they loved me because I wouldn’t  understand why they behave the way they do and value it.

 Perceivers are called to be in leadership positions, to handle all the different emotions and egos bustling and boiling around them.  They’re not easily offended, emotional, or get hung up on the little things. 

 Perceiver of Truth was a great soccer referee and coach because he called it as he saw it.  If a coach hollered at him, he unemotionally handled it.  He doesn’t hold a grudge.  It is like water off a duck’s back..  For example, when our second son’s wrist was broken during a soccer match, he was the sideline ref, calmly waiting, watching, while the coaches did what they were supposed to do.

  Later, he recounted the entire chain of events with humor, amused because I was on the sidelines, enacting an impersonation of a duck in a carnival duck shoot, walking back and forth, back and forth. 

  I wasn’t about to walk out on the field.  When the coach called, “I need a dad,” dad went.  However, I recognized the boundary line I was not allowed to cross. It would have disappointed my son’s sense of manly honor.  There’s nothing that tears up a boy’s pride like his mom running out on the field, whether it is to tie his shoes or see if his arm is broken.

 gogglemanPerceiver of Truth aptly saw my struggle, was somewhat amused by it, too.  

 The center referee later told me he called the foul against the player who had shouldered my son who went up for a header, which caused him to fall the way he did, breaking his wrist.  He laughingly said, “I knew I better call it that way or _______(Perceiver of Truth) would kill me.”  He sure didn’t know my son well.  My son would have wanted the honest call.

 There’s nothing more refreshing than truth.  Sometimes there’s nothing more appalling than truth!  It’s our job as mothers to teach how to use truth as a sword for honor, not to wound.

 We started with baby steps.  So if you don’t like mom’s haircut, and she stupidly asks if you do, you might just want to say, “I love you, Mom.” 

Recognize, cultivate, shape, call to action–that is a mother’s job

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Some of my readers might recognize this from late June.  I’ve updated it with twirling pictures from the Big Event!

The bride was dancing with her father.  Halfway through the dance, the planner motioned for me to join my son. Graceful with words–only in writing. Graceful in movement–definitely not. But I danced with my son. Weddings are for watching, not for words. What can anyone say on a wedding day that is more meaningful or more remembered than “I do.”

IMG_7040 copy_0012“Are you ready to twirl?” he asked.

The son twirled the mother. That said it all.

The last time we had danced was when he was much smaller. We were in the kitchen. We always danced in the kitchen. All kinds of dances. Waltz dances. Made-up dances. Twirling and dipping dances. I led. I dipped. I twirled. He followed.

My son had grown up. It was his wedding day. He led. He twirled. I followed.

After I returned to my seat, I watched all my sons dance. The little ones danced raucously. The second and third, cautiously. They danced to The Cha Cha Slide, The Cupid Shuffle, and The Electric Slide. When I looked out later during a slow dance, my 14 year old was dancing. . . dancing slowly. . . .then he dipped his pretty dance partner.

IMG_7041 copy_0006Did you read that?—He dipped her. My husband and I would occasionally dance and dip in the kitchen, but my sons? When did he become so suave and smooth?

My second son had returned to his chair when his brother walked over. “Did I see you dipping out there?” I laughed, impressed.

The second son jumped out of his chair, stunned. “He was dipping? What was he doing dipping?” he asked furiously at his younger brother. “When did you start dipping? Where’d you get the skoal can?”

A little twirling! A little comedy! Such is the life of a mother with sons!

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joyfulWhen we brought the youngest one home from the hospital, our third son asked, ‘What’s his special name, Mom?  What are we going to call him?”

 Then he rattled off all the boys’ special names I’d given them.  They were a combination recipe of love language, spiritual gifts, and just plain old what God had put on my heart as the special ingredient that was the core of who He created them to be.

 I am a firm believer in what you speak is what you get.  As mother’s we need to take every opportunity to speak hope, love, and blessings over our children.  

 For years, every New Years Eve, my resolution was not to talk so much.  When I got hold of Don and Katie Fortune’s Discover Your Children’s Spiritual Gifts and discovered that my ability to communicate was a gift, not something to be ashamed of or hide, I started liking who I was.  

 I want my sons to like who they are—not a false sense of build-up, but to understand that God put everything in them, designed them to feel the way they felt, laugh the way they laugh, and solve problems the way they solve them (Psalm 139).  

truth There’s a double-edge to each gift, though.  Just as a sword can be used to protect and promote goodness, it can also be used to exploit and promote evil.  That’s where our job as mothers comes in to play.  Our job is to help them recognize, develop, and use their gifts in a way that brings joy to life.

 Our words do just that. 

 Sometimes, it’s hard to pull out the good words, especially when we don’t see goodness shining in our children at particular moments or points in their lives.  That’s when we speak faith over them:  “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).” 

 I started speaking faith in little ways, by the nicknames I gave the boys.  I thought I would introduce them to you by these names, instead of always using the oldest, youngest, 3 of 5, 2 of 5, or the second, and so on. 

loveshellsJoyful, the 3rd son, who was five at the time, said, “What are we going to call him, Mama?”  ____ is Perceiver of Truth. _____ is Faithful.  I’m Joyful. _______ is The Fire and the Power of the Holy Spirit.”  What’s he gonna be, Mom?

 Hopeful, I answered, “Peace?”

 “Oh, no, Mama, He’s Love,” and he said it in a way that pulled out that loooove, as if he were in awe.  He was right.  The littlest guy is our Human Resource Department.  He pulls everyone together. 

 Maybe your son or daughter has a personality trait that is driving you nuts.  Make a list, then try looking at it from a different angle.  Go to dictionary.com.  Use their thesaurus.  Find antonyms for those pesky traits.  From a different angle, maybe you’ll see how beautiful that trait is.  Then, start whispering about the beauty of that trait.  As it grows into a beautiful gift, you’ll be shouting about it!

If you want to like the results, speak the results you want to see first!

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BCMboysroomFor 23 years, I have been in The Boys’ Room, readying my sons for church, weddings, graduations, or any other event that required them to dress up. I was in charge of making sure each boy had on the right shoes, the right pants, the right shirt, and a tie and jacket if necessary. I’ve endured a barrage of discontent emotions, language that bewailed the crime of dressing up, threats of dissent. What have I been missing all these years stuck in the “boys’ room?” I found out this weekend at the wedding of my son.

We arrived at the beautiful Cheekwood Botanical Gardens in Nashville, with a van loaded with 5 tuxes and one silver blue Calvin Kline dress with a Bolero Jacket, five pairs of black shoes and a pair of silver slippers. My oldest son was in charge of his own wardrobe. That is a sign of the fire and power of independence.

My two little guys, carrying their own tuxes, and I, carrying food for the Guys’ Room, two yummy trays—one filled with a selection of Subway Sandwiches and another with all the toppings and sauces. We stepped off the elevator to the right. . . there, through a glass wall were young men in various stages of undress (lots of boxers) changing into their chocolate-brown tuxes. . . . A little speechless, I swung around and slowly backed toward the room. A burst of guys’ giggling and laughing—yes, they still do giggle at that age—greeted me. I couldn’t decide whether to be mortified or amused when I turned my back. The glass window I faced was like a mirror to their room—guys still in a bunch of boxers.

The groom, my son, saved my dignity and retrieved the platters of sandwiches and toppings. Since that was the only elevator and the weather outside registered on my van as 98°, I walked with my back turned and my eyes closed for a while.

bcmgirlsroomI dressed in the Girl’s Room.  At first it was like entering a new world.  Would I belong? It was a different world, with different colors, different language, different accessories available. No subs in sight! Clothes weren’t thrown around the room, but tidily set by each girls’ bag. I was a little awed.

There was a knock on the door. “Help,” called a male voice from the outside. I answered the door. There stood a groomsman, holding his sleeve out, a sleeve with some pizza sauce from one of the sub sandwiches.

“Tide stick?” he asked. Feeling a little guilty—I hadn’t thought about the consequences of a pizza sub, I turned around and asked, “Anyone have a Tide Stick?” I try to carry one in my purse, my car, my kitchen, but not today. .I did have bandaids, hair spritzer, Advil, children’s Motrin, extra socks, a camera charger, a Dr. Pepper, brown thread, needle, and scissors.

drshollspict The Girls’ Room  had Tide Sticks, emory boards, and Dr. Scholl’s For Her Rub Relief Strips. It really does prevent rubbing and blisters! Where had this been all my life?

Then I heard the most amazing thing—girl language. Little girls and grown-up girls all going about the tasks of getting ready. All kinds of words, words murmured in encouragement to the four flower girls. The bridesmaids wore the most beautiful, strappy red heels—and I mean heels. Without fuss, they dispensed Dr. Scholl’s miracle product and went on. I started un-wrapping my dress.

mlbdresspict2It was finally time for me to put on my dress. I needed someone to help me zip up the side because of the material. Nobody groaned, “My eyes. . . My eyes. . . .I’ll never see again.” Kind words, encouraging words, nurturing words, words from the Girl’s Room. Words that affirmed that being a girl, not matter the age, is really quite simply, wonderful.

What had I been missing all these years? I can imagine the words in the boys’ room. The fussing from the younger ones about the shoes, the tie, the clothes. The older ones probably were not so direct. They probably cracked jokes, dressing up their discontent with humor. Nuturing, encouraging, kind words? Not unless someone’s mama brought them in.

They were frustrated. They hadn’t tried on the tuxes when they picked them up (my 4 other sons did because they were with me). As a result, they wore pants hitched up to their chest under their shirts and vests. My mother the day before had hemmed my husband’s tux 4-inches. The store suggested he find someone to hem. Hmmmm. Chaos in The Boys’ Room.

The older ones, the groomsmen, provided companionship, stoic, supportive, probably like soldiers in battle. They weren’t getting ready for a soccer game or war. Those in The Boys’ Room were definitely out of their comfort zone, while those in The Girls’ Room were in their element.

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mllkwedding.jpgDo you remember the moment you said, “I do” and the world became just you two? You had ideas about what the rest of your life as going to be like. Right? You had the dreams, the expectations, and love. You had a sweetheart’s love, your parent’s love–you knew what that was like. However, you didn’t yet have within you that mother love for your child, that mother love that brings something into your life that opened the door to so much more than you dreamed or expected. Did you ever realize a heart could love the way it does, a mother for her child?

My oldest son is getting married in two days. I collected information from family to write a poem about “the rest of your life” after you said, “I do.” I’m trying to muster up courage to print it for the rehearsal dinner. Yes, I know it’s tomorrow night. I’m going to bravely post it and see what you think. Creating a video for the rehearsal dinner is one thing; a poem is definitely another.

 

What are you doing for the rest of your life?

What are you doing for the rest of your life, Beautiful,” he asked.
“Spending it with you,” she smiled, smiling his favorite smile

Dreams, Expectations, and Love
reshape, re-form
as the rest of your life unfolds

Papaw laughed, saying, “We didn’t know nothing when we got married”
but their house filled with love,
a daughter, a son, twins, 13 grandsons, and great grand children.
Who thought a house
could hold so much love?

“My happiest Days?
A Mama’s Trinity:
babies born,
                          college graduation,
                                                                   and weddings,”
                                                                                                   misty-eyed Grandmama wistful explained.

His mama gladly
put girly, girl dreams aside
to find joy in boys and their toys:
Whoever thought snugglebuggles and Nurf Gun Wars could bring so much joy
or
          Learning to hug
in all the love languages,
the huggable language of each son!

Who knew?
                       his daddy said.
                                                      “Wiffle ball,
                                                                              sock wars,
                                                                                                       and Friday Three Stooge Night
could be so much fun,
                                                or watching soccer
under the moon and the sun.”

“Recitals,
                    Recitals,
                                       Recitals,
color, movement, sound,
my girls dancing,
                                    praising,
anticipating each American Girl season,
 learning, loving, serving the Lord
                                                                     at home and in 3rd world nations,”
mused her mama.

Hide-N-Seek
                          in the dark,
boys sitting on kitchen counter-tops
                                telling stories big and little,
                                                                                      little and big
and laughing,  a joy unanticipated over 30 years ago,”
his Aunt Sherry said said.

Her daddy’s love,
                                     unconditional,
threw pride out the window,
                                                            ballet now hand-in-hand with the NFL,
Pretty Pretty Princess dressed him up in jewelry, too.
Living life with the toilet lid down—

What are you doing for the rest of your life?
You really haven’t a clue
about the wonderful details and moments inside the plan
God has in store for you!
Big and Little
Little and Big

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door3How do you know when your son has found the girl? Granted, Isaac’s father and his father’s manservant knew before he did, but usually that’s not the case.  I do have one true blue technique that will head off trouble in the long run, though.  Any girl that walks through the front door, the kitchen door, the garage door, or even the basement door, whatever doors  you have, open your heart as though she is the one.

 Opening your heart achieves two goals:  if she is the one, you haven’t started off on the wrong foot.  If she is not the one, you have planted good seed.  We should always treat others as though they are our favorites.  Just like God treats us!

 I can tell you when a girl is not the one. I didn’t need to see this happen twice to figure this behavior pattern out!

 My oldest son was a camp counselor at a wonderful Christian camp for a few years.  It is a camp all my sons have attended.  I love how it affirms and deepens their faith by being in an environment where they witness and minister all week long.  During the summer, they have Canoe Camp for the older students.  Often the counselors participate.

 One summer, my son and another counselor, Canoe Girl, admired each other.  I don’t think they went “steady.”  “Steady” is what the old folks did.  They didn’t have a commitment.  What they say today is they’re “together.”  I think I like steady better.  However, from what I understand from studying this species behavior “together” can mean big commitment or tentative not-quite-commitment commitment.  

door4The canoe campers did what they did best, canoed.  Understand, there was not hot water, no bathrooms, cooking over a fire—it was roughing it in the wild with adults keeping a watchful eye every moment.  They canoed all morning.  They canoed all afternoon.  He canoed with her.  Sigh!  Always with a third canoer.  One such canoe companion irritated my son.  The irritation grew, greW, grEW, and  GREW until he couldn’t take it any more.  He abandoned the canoe. . . . and her to the irritant. 

 Lesson?  If the urge to get out of the canoe is greater than the urge to stay in with a girl, then she’s not the girl.

 Another test is the family endurance test.  He brought Canoe Girl home for Sunday lunch one weekend.  We lived close by the camp.  Our other sons were quite small then, 4, 6, 9 and 12.  This hadn’t happened before.  A real girl of interest, coming into our home. 

 Every boy watched.  The youngest ones giggled, trying so hard to behave and failing miserably.  Suddenly, bathroom humor popped out, burping bathroom humor.  It was downhill from there (I have always said, you can take them out, but you can’t take them door2home).  She didn’t leave screaming, but she never came back. 

 My oldest son is getting married next week.  He would never leave her in a canoe with someone else.  If he left, he would take her with him.  The Family Endourance Test?  She did not leave screaming, and she came back.  The boys love her!  Me, too!  From the moment she walked through that door!

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momboysbarn.jpgBy now, you’re probably wondering if Bluecottonmemory is just about relationships. After all, that’s what my major posts have been about for a couple of weeks. Bluecottonmemory is about raising sons. The subject Relationships  is just an incredibly poignant part of my life right now. You see, my oldest son is getting married next Saturday. I’m leading up to that, so that is where my heart and mind are. I’m so blessed to be able to write about life leading to that moment. Next week, posts are entitled, “What do you think about her?” and “Prayer to my daughter-in-law.” For now, I’m going to lighten up the relationship discussion. I hope you will laugh with me.

The benefits of having 3+ sons is that you get to use everything you learned from sons one and two over and over again.

 My oldest son at age 10 said, “I’ve never had a truly happy day in my life.” He then declined into bleakness, broodiness , and moodiness. My first response? “I’ve got pictures and video to prove you’ve had happy days!”

My second response dealt with my confidence as a mother. What had I done wrong? What happened to the young man who made the sun shine when he walked into a room? The young man filled with quiet confidence? The one who thought I hung the moon? This blunt, direct boy who could see into the heart of a situation could find no happiness in the life I’d given him. How had I let him down?

He eventually put his brooding days behind him. The sun shined again. However, when he emerged, he was more of a man. I no longer hung the moon. He realized I was only human. How utterly deflating!

My second son, more passionate in his responses to life, communicated emotionally. Believe me, when one broods, one does so quietly. There was nothing quiet about this 10 year old. Big emotions call for big words. He was. . . atrabilious—irritable, bad-tempered, splenetic, more commonly called peevish. I remember thinking, “Whoa! What have I done? Where did this come from?” What happened to my hard-working guy who had compassion for the underdog? Keep in mind, the underdog never lives in your house –a brother is never the underdog, at least not at this age. However, he was so passionate in his displeasure in life, I didn’t see any similarities between brothers or ages.

Have I said yet that I learn best through experience and repetition?

 My confidence as a mother took quite a beating. There were days the sun shined and smiles lit my world, but they were as rare as an opossum found alive on a road. He’s maneuvering out of that stage. He’s still passionate in his response to life, but more tempered. He’s starting to understand his compassionate nature more, not letting peers take advantage of him. He actually smiled pictures this year!

When my third son, my joyful son, mischievous, giving, hugging son stopped smiling, stoppered the joy, then it hit me, “It’s a stage!” It wasn’t me—it’s a stage. I think my soul leaped and danced with joy. The backpack of guilt was thrown down! He’s still journeying through the dark tunnel of this stage. His joy is bubbling back up more often, more mature, more manly. I no longer hang the moon. He’s realized I’m only human. However, I can see the end to his tunnel journey.

My fourth son is entering the tunnel. He entered adoring me, thinking I hung the moon. I can see him pulling away, though.

 However, I understand it is a stage. It is a huge stage in terms boy to man. The mother-son relationship metamorphasizes during this journey. Snugglebuggles fade to the occasional hug. I practically have to tackle my sons for hugs. I heard on a news report once that just a touch can release happy phenomes in a person, which is why hugs are so wonderful.

“Stop touching me, Mom,” I’ve heard sons 2 and 3 say. One’s usually sitting in the front seat on the way to school. I’ll usually pat their arms, or, OK, I’ll be honest, try to tickle their necks or inside the bend of their arm at stoplights. I just say, “You need happy phenomes to have a happy day—happy phenomes from mom.” That’s a little nutty. However, being the only girl in a house of guys, I’m allowed a little nuttiness.

I’m ready for that tunnel when the baby starts to go enter. I’ve got a little over a year, so I’m going to every minute of the boy, of someone believing I hung the moon.

"It is no small thing when they, who are so fresh from God, love us" Charles Dickens, The Old Curiosity Shop

"It is no small thing when they, who are so fresh from God, love us" Charles Dickens, The Old Curiosity Shop

Now that I understand the behavior pattern, I have got a plan. With a plan, I can face any challenge. Especially when that challenge is backed up by God. This gave me hope in the confusion. Whenever I was in doubt about my son’s behavior, I would pray Psalm 139:12-16:

  •           “For you created my[sons] inmost being; you knit me[him] together in my [mother’s ]womb. I praise you     because I[he] am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My[His] frame was not hidden from you when I[he] was made in the secret place. When I[he] was woven together in the depts. of the earth, your eyes saw my[his] unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book.”!!

God knows what he put in them and why their behavior manifests the way it does. He designed and engineered them to work the way they do. When we ask, he gives us the appropriate manual for how they work. Thanks goodness He always knows what is going on!

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benMy second son came in the kitchen late one winter afternoon. He was a freshman in high school. He pulled up a stool at the counter. I was doing dishes and cooking. He was dazzled again, by the sweet girl who had dazzled him in the 8th grade, the lovely girl who prompted the “You’re a Cake” lecture. They had “broken” up way back in the old days of the 8th grade. To be honest, even though they had broke up, they still admired each other.

There he sat, across from me, telling me how much he cared for her. He wanted to marry her when he graduated from high school.

All my sons have different communication “techniques.” The oldest is seriously logical, the second emotional and passionate, the third humorously logical, the fourth passionately logical, and the fifth – well, he’s our trash talker – quietly humorous, logical, easy-going.

Understand, too, 14-15 year olds communicate differently than they did when 3, 6, 9, 11, and post-16. Fourteen-fifteen year-olds take verbal stances that challenge. They like to turn their face to a point as if their face were carved in stone. It’s a very emotional stance. That emotional stance is like a wall that won’t be breached with logic.  He was deeply convicted, defensive, and, in his estimation, mature enough to make this decision now, today.

I didn’t tell him he would think differently in a few years. That’s a useless argument. I didn’t tell him he was too young. That would have been like throwing gasoline on a fire.

Instead, I asked, “Are you man enough?”

The wall dropped. The emotions dried up. He didn’t say a word. Well, really, his heart probably fell to his feet. That’s what happens when truth hits you whether you like it or not. Especially when you don’t see it coming the way it did.

“Are you man enough,” I asked. “To take it to God and ask Him, ‘Is she the one you created for me?’ Do you love her enough to accept a ‘No” from God if He tells you she’s not the girl He planned for your life? Because if God says, “No,” then that means you are denying her greater happiness. Do you love her enough to let her have the happiness God made for her? You’re also denying yourself greater happiness, too.”

He walked away from our discussion emotionally subdued. I read his answer in his eyes. He didn’t want to take it to God in prayer.  He didn’t want to risk a “No” from God.  I could read it in his eyes.  That was along, slow walk away from the kitchen.  I imagine it is when you’re not ready to be what you want to be.

He’s prayed about every girl he’s liked since then. Sometimes he says God says ,”Yes.” But I think he doesn’t hear God over his own voice. He’s working on hearing God and not what he wants-not directly. He’s learning through experience in the relationship field. He moving towards accepting the truth in prayer.

The character of a man isn’t created in a day. It grows, just like an oak tree, until it’s tall enough and strong enough to withstand the storms. When he meets the girl God made for him, he’ll be strong enough and man enough to listen to God’s answer!

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One of my sons didn’t have a girl friend until he was 17.  However, a little girl did ask him to be her special friend the first few weeks of first grade.   He told me that right when he got in the car.  I replied, “Oh, how sweet – that someone wants to be your friend.”  I knew life had definitely changed when he said, “She didn’t mean it that way, Mom.”

 “I have a crush,” the youngest one said after a soccer game in second grade.  It was very rare he ever mentioned admiring girls.    He spent the entire season trying to set her up to score, passing the ball to her directly in front of the goal.  She couldn’t convert!

  Another one admired one particular girl from age 4 to 8.  He’s is faithful . Then he admired another one for an entire year.  In the fourth grade, he put his courage to work and told her.  I believe she ran away screaming. 

 One little girl had a crush on another son in preschool.  It continued for awhile.  She always took such good care of him!   At a birthday party, he finally submitted and agreed to marry her.  Alas, their schools drew them apart – long distance relationships are so difficult! Sigh!  He “went out” with his best friend in the seventh grade and broke up because she was mad at him all the time.  He doesn’t like conflict.  I’m sure most of you understand that when you “go out” with someone, you’re not really going out.  Most of the time, you’re not really even talking.  I remember asking one of the boys once, “Does she know you’re going out?”  What’s a mom without a little humor?

 However, one son probably had a girlfriend in the hospital nursery.  He fell in love when he was 5.  He remained dazzled for a few years.  She moved away – Sigh!  Long distance relationships are so hard!  In fifth grade, he  “went out” with a girl for about four weeks – until Christmas when he gave her a little stuffed animal.  She promptly broke up with him.  She wanted to get back together around St. Valentine’s Day.  He was considering it, so he received the, “Fool-me-once-shame-on-you;-Fool-me-twice,-shame-on-me” lecture.   In his seventh grade year, I created the first of my very visual “relationship” lectures.  I call it “The Bubble Gum Lecture.”  It goes something like this:

 You are like a beautiful piece of Hubba Bubba .  (You might want to go to the following site just to get in the mood http://www.hubbabubba.com/hbw/index.do).  When you open that piece of Hubba Bubba, your nose is overcome with the full-bodied Grape, Berry, Watermelon, Island Punch, Strawberry, or the Outrageous Original scent.  You have expectations of what that piece of gum is supposed to do – all healthy and appropriate expectations, of course.  Keep in mind, that this piece of gum symbolizes you.  This is what you have to offer the girl that God made for you.

 As you get older, when friendships are made and then broken, you grieve—maybe not crying and sobbing, but getting angry and put out.  Then when you start “going out” with girls, every time you “break up,” your spirit grieves—your pride might be wounded; there’s hurt and anger involved.  As a result, every time you break up with a girl, you become like a piece of gum, a little more chewed up, more of your flavor chewed out, until you, the piece of gum, resembles the chewed up piece of gum under the O’Charley’s table. Ugh!  Yuck!

 What does this have to do with the pretty little girl God made for you to marry 10 years down the road?  Well, let’s say you were offering her your “gum”  (gum = heart).  Your heart has been pretty beat up—broken, let down.  Maybe you have a bad taste in your mouth because girls—too young to understand how to treat someone in a relationship—have not been faithful, treated you well, or maybe they just admired your dashing good looks.   Will you trust her?    Maybe you’ve lost your confidence, and you don’t feel valuable because girls haven’t treated you like you were valuable—only another notch on their boyfriend belt.  Maybe you didn’t treat the girls in your relationships well – they were just a notch on the girlfriend belt.

            Broken relationships turn people into chewed-up pieces of gum.  God has made a great gift for you—a girl who will be like a fresh, new piece of gum who will value you, adore you, and make you happier than you can imagine.  He also made you a great gift for her.  Don’t let your future wife down.  Imagine opening a box and finding a chewed up old piece of gum—Let her receive the wonderful, beautiful who piece of Hubba Bubba that you were created to be!

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As I grew into a young woman, I wanted to be many things:  Courageous like Joan of Arc, Creative like Charles Dickens, Witty – definitely not like The three Stooges.  Never did I consider a stick.  The other day, one of my sons wrote that his mom was “A stick that can’t break.”  Mothers of sons definitely pull a different type of courage out of their tool box!

My 10 year old wrote a book of poems for mother’s day in a school project!  I typed it as he wrote it – The English teacher in me is so impressed with the language and how correct everything is.  The mom inside is awed.  He provides some clues about moms of sons.

 Caring about me, that’s why I love you!

Nice, loving, caring serious – that’s what you are to me.

 

You taught me a lot like making brownies, teaching me to tie my shoes

lifting me up.

 

When you’re mad at me I know you still love me.  When I fail you tell me

 to get right back up and try again.

 

I know you are a perfect singer.  That’s why I love you so much

With all my heart.  When I’m away I know you’re thinking about me.

 

When I grow up I hope I still can write poems like this.

 

You’re the best mom in the whole wide world.

 

Mommy

Loving, caring

Teaching, cooking, singing

Caring about me all the time

Awesome

 

Me

Younger, learning

Playing, jumping, riding

Brother, student, teacher, cook

Caring, loving, kissing

Older, teaching

Maryleigh

 

Personification:  My mom is like a stick that can’t break

Alliteration:  My marvelous mom makes me brownies

Rhyme:  My mom as looking at me because I was too high in a tree

Simile:  My mom is as strong as an ox

 

Limerick

 

My very nice mommy is cool

She teaches everyday at school

So she quit to teach

She went to the beach

But now she rides a mule to school

 

Marvelous

Awesome

Ridiculously cool

Yells sometimes

Likes to knit

Exelent

Impossible to break

Great

Hopeful

 

Cooly stoic is a must-have emotional tool for moms with sons – especially only sons.  When a snake gets in the yard or house, cooly stoic teaches a positive lesson to the jaw-gaping audience.  One day, a small garden snake found its way into the living room of our house.  We lived in the country, so turtles, owls, you name it, they showed up on our door step.  A snake in the house was a definite attention grabber, ramping up the emotional race between abject fear and adventurous excitement.  The boys were all agog! 

They called their solution, mom.  They never doubted that I could solve this problem.  Flight was definitely my choice on the inside.  Fight was the only alternative.  I calmly walked into the kitchen, grabbed a glass mixing bowl, filled a Ziplock bag with ice, and returned to the living room where I popped the bowl over the 8 inch snake, covered it with the ice bag, and left it until my husband came home.  The ice cooled the now dormaint snake.  The cat sat beside the bowl, watching, hopeful. The boys watched, grew bored, and wandered away from their adventure.

Brave on the outside – courageous – flinching, shaking, wanting nothing more than to stand on a chair and scream on the inside.  A stick that cannot be broken.  Some days, that aptly describes a mom of five sons!  I think my son just told me that I became more than I ever dreamed.

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