Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Seeing Eye-to-Eye For The First Time

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."
3 John 1:4
(KJV)

Does it make anyone else sad to watch how quickly their children are growing up?

I'll be the first to admit it.
I am not having an easy time seeing the boy we wished and longed and yearned for...
for so many years, grow up so fast.
My, where do the years go?
How do they fly by so quickly?
It seems like last month that Kevin and I were preparing a nursery,
and I was watching Kevin put our brand-new crib together.
We were so full of hope and so anxious for Zach to arrive.
We talked about him non-stop and panicked each time I had a twinge of anything that remotely resembled a pain near my belly.
After so many years of infertility struggles, waiting, praying, longing....
it was so hard to believe that he was really on his way.
Our very own baby.
Never in the history of time could there have been two hearts any more full of love and happiness.
I'll never forget when they first laid him in my arms.
That feeling.
Indescribable.

The years have come and gone...way faster than I would have liked them to.
Each day has been a Divine miracle.
I have never lost that original sense of wonder...
that initial feeling of peace....
that brand-new overwhelming ocean of love.
Every time I look at Zachary, I feel the deepest sense of gratitude to God for allowing me to be his Mama.
Being handed the gift of filling this role day-by-day is, hands-down,
the sweetest and most precious endeavor that has ever been committed to my trust.

Sometimes, it hits me just how fast he is really growing up
and how he is so much more like a man than a boy these days.

Where is this little boy?
So dependent...reaching up to me as I cooked supper,
sitting on the counter helping me bake goodies,
crawling into my lap for a story and to be rocked to sleep?

Through the years, there has been a certain moment I have been dreading.
Don't get me wrong.
I wanted it to happen.
Because, of course, I want Zachary to grow and prosper and thrive.
I wouldn't hold him back for anything in this world,
and I couldn't be more grateful for God's blessings upon him.
I dreaded this one particular moment because I knew in my heart I would fall to pieces
when it happened, and I knew the reality would hit me hard.

This monumental moment....this realization I've been dreading
 happened one day while we were standing in Burger King waiting for our food.
I turned around to say something to him, and there it was...the moment.

I stood there.
Words paused.
Heart aching.
Too sad to speak.

There I was...staring at our sweet boy....
eyeball-to-"melted-chocolate-brown"-eyeball.
Not me towering over him,
but he, my equal.
Us, we two, on parallel footing.

He had caught up with me.
We were the same, exact height.

Our sweet boy, for the first time, was as tall as his Mama.
I found myself looking him square in the eye.
No bending down.
No dropping my eyes in order to look into his.
He was standing face to face with me, and I was looking straight ahead.

I teared up, just like I knew I would.
Zach was quick to notice.

"What's wrong, Mama?"

When I finally found my voice and was able to answer him, I said,
"Zach, you are as tall as me!
We are eye level."

"Oh, Mama!" he teased.
"I'm just growing up."

"I know", was all I could muster.

He will only comprehend this feeling one day when he has a little one of his own,
and the reality of swiftly passing years washes over him like a tidal wave.
Then he will know.
Then he will remember.
Then he will understand.

I remember how Dad used to cry....a lot...when I was growing up.
He hated to see me grow up so fast.
It broke his heart when he walked me down the aisle and knew I would never live at home with him and Mom again.
It used to make me sad to see him cry like that and to feel that I was the cause of his tears.
Just as I couldn't really understand and relate until I was blessed with a child of my own,
Zachary won't fully comprehend until he is walking in my shoes.

Seeing straight-on eye-to-eye with Zachary didn't last long.
Now, he is taller than me.
Now he has to slightly look down to look me in the eye..
I declare, sometimes, I think this boy grows overnight.
He comes out in the morning, and I will just look at him, and it is so obvious.

I miss the days when he would come to me in the night and tell me he was afraid of the dark.
I remember how I would get up and put one hand on each of his little shoulders,
so much lower than me,
and follow close behind him as we walked down the hall.
He was okay as long as he could feel my touch.
I knew when it was happening how very precious those moments were.
I was painfully aware that they would not last forever.
I knew he would get past needing me in that way.
I miss him being little enough to hold.
I long for the moments when his problems could all be solved with just a kiss and a hug.
There is no going back.

When we first moved into this house, he was just shy of his very first birthday.
I walk through these rooms now, and I remember.
All of those sweet, baby days.
He cut his teeth here.
Learned to walk.
Laughed 'til he could hardly catch his breath as his Daddy ran with him up and down this hall....
begged and pleaded, "Daddy, just one more time", until Kevin was too exhausted to move.
He started his homeschooling journey here...inside these walls.
Learned to read.
We lived here when he graduated Kindergarten with his little homeschool group.
We have journeyed from Kindergarten to 8th grade here.
My prayer is that we will continue this journey to the end of 12th grade.
Zach spent hour after hour with his Nana here...
reading, listening to stories, playing board games,
dragging her to his room to watch Veggie Tales and Winnie the Pooh.
He grieved here 'til I thought his little heart would break when the Lord called his Nana home.
This is where we lived when he gave his heart to Jesus...
where we have prayed together and worked through issues together and learned more about Him together....where we've laughed until we've cried and cried until we've laughed.

Today, he and his Daddy, and me, sat at our kitchen table eating lunch.
As we ate, we played a game we often enjoy together.
Zach spoke.
"We've made a lot of memories at this table, haven't we?"

This boy is so reflective...such a thinker....so deep.
I continually marvel at the depth of wisdom God has instilled in him.

As the years pass, he is becoming more and more of a friend...
to Kevin and to me.
He loves to come out of his room at night, as I try to sleep in the living room recliner,
and talk to me.
He opens his heart.
Could I ever put into words how much I treasure these moments?
How much it means to me that he trusts me with his heart...his inmost secrets?

I tell him to tell me anything...everything...always.
I want to know what he is thinking....
whatever it is....
good, bad, surprising, or not so much...
all of it.
I do not judge.
I want honesty from him...forever.
I don't want to miss a thing that he chooses to share with me.

I can't believe he has now surpassed my height.
And I can't believe the close proximity of our thoughts as he grows.
We are steadily reaching the point of seeing eye-to-eye in more and more ways.

Soon, God willing, Zach will be as tall as his Daddy.
It seems like yesterday, he barely came to Kevin's waist.

As he grows in stature, he grows in understanding.
He has always been mature for his age...I think that comes with the territory of being an only child.
I suppose we have always spoken to him, as if he were an adult.
But, it amazes me how much he relates to Kevin and me on so many levels.

I used to be so frustrated at God for allowing us to wait so long for a child of our own.
I don't feel that way anymore.
Because, I am so thankful it is now.
I am grateful from the depths of my soul that Zachary is still young...
and at home with us.

If God had sent him when we thought He should have, 
he would already be grown and on his own.

So, I cherish these moments....even though I would give so much to go back to when he was little.
I miss all of that.
All of it.
But, how grateful I am that it happened.
I wouldn't trade those memories for anything you could offer and my heart ever goes out to those with barren wombs who are still waiting, longing, and yearning for a child of their own.

No matter how much I miss it, we cannot go back.
This is a new season...of motherhood, parenting, life.
As much as I miss the former season, I am powerless to return to it.
It is now, and I must embrace this beauty.
This "new".

I watched him last night when he didn't know I was looking.
His heart was so heavy.
There are things going on in our lives that are weighing us down.
I hate for him to feel it, too.
There are just certain things that cannot be kept from him.
I long to be able to lift it off his shoulders.
I want to protect him from every conceivable hurt.
I know that is far from realistic, but it doesn't stop me from wanting to.

As I watched him, I broke down and cried.
Seeing him struggle...hearing him question...knowing he's hurting...
it tears at the mother-heart in me.
It makes me want to fix things.
To rise in his defense.
Gone are the problems that are fixable by mere kisses and hugs.

I sat there and cried, and I prayed...
to the One Who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think.

As Zachary grows and matures, I am learning more and more about the love of God, our Father.
Because as we pity our children, so the Lord pities us.  (Psalm 103:13)
I am understanding more and more clearly how His great heart must ache when we hurt.
(Hebrews 4:15)

As I stand by and long to make Zachary's problems go away,
I realize that even though I can't always do that anymore,
he is coming to more and more fully trust the One Who can solve every one of them.
As his relationship with Kevin and me deepens, so does his relationship with the Father of us all.

I sometimes feel remorse over situations that have hurt him deeply.
I wonder why God allowed certain things to come across his path.
I wonder if we should have done things differently and not subjected him to certain elements that have seemed to inflict so much damage and pain into his young life.
But, as I am tempted to second-guess life decisions we have made,
I am reminded of something Dad used to often tell me as I walked through my own hurts while growing up.

"Christian character is forged in the crucible of pain", he would say.

Had things been done differently, Zach may not have reached the spiritual depths he has attained.
I have to remind myself that "All things work together for good to them that love God..." 
Romans 8:28.
One thing I know for certain....this boy loves God.
With all his heart and soul.
And that is one thing, God willing, 
that we will always see eye-to-eye.

31 comments:

  1. My teenager is almost done with school. Your post resonated with my heart today. Thank you for this.
    #ALittleR&R

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    1. Thank you so much for your sweet visit. May God bless and comfort your heart in this season.

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  2. As I read this, all I could think was how great of a man he will soon be. :) It is bittersweet--I watch it with my own boys. But if we raise them right--which, clearly you have--they will be such great, Godly men someday. And THAT is something! :)

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words...they were a comfort to me. God bless you and your own sweet boys. You are doing such a great job with them.

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  3. Oh, Cheryl, that was a PRECIOUS post!! It brought tears to my eyes. You are doing a wonderful job with him. I remember when Katie got as tall as me. We've been pretty close to the same height for a while now. She may be just a hair taller. I remember it being very emotional for me too. Oh, how time moves so quickly by! Continuing to keep your family in my prayers. Thank you for your friendship.♥

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    1. Oh, dear friend, you are SO right! Time does march on so fast, and we are powerless to slow it down. I can't thank you enough for your kind words, your dear friendship, and your faithful prayers for me and my family. I am praying often for you, too, and I can't thank God enough for bringing your sweet Katie home to you safe. God is so good!

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  4. Cheryl, you've got to warn me when a post is going to require multiple kleenexes!! Oh, how precious this post was. How much I nodded my head, and felt my own heartstrings being plucked. Yes, a mother's heart. I so understand. My *babies* are now 32 and 28, and some days I miss them so terribly I can scarcely stand it. I miss their faces under my roof, I miss their voices, I miss the fun and yakking and silliness. I miss the serious conversations. Life moves on, but it's always a tad bittersweet.

    Your Zach is a precious young man, full of stature (literally!!) and wisdom and character. If it's any comfort, I also have regrets over the things that I feel I brought into my sons' lives, but God covers a multitude of wrong decisions and misjudgment. He is the Lord over THEIR journeys, too. And so, He will bring good out of it all for them, too.

    And, might I just also say this to encourage you. Though my sons have moved into their own lives, there is a closeness that has never left. We are still great friends. We still talk, and laugh, and spend wonderful time together. And I have come to realize that in some ways, nothing has really changed except location. Our hearts are still seeing eye-to-eye.

    And ponder this, Cheryl, for it has helped me. One day every moment that I have missed them, missed spending time with them, will be swallowed up in eternity. We will have FOREVER to enjoy each others' company. And, can you even imagine how great it will be to also invite Jesus to the party?!?!

    Hugs to you, you dear sweet mama. And a big bear hug to that young man of yours. May the Lord bless you, and Kevin, and him always.

    GOD BLESS!

    "Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward." (Psalm 127:3, NASB)

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    1. Oh, precious friend! THANK YOU for all you said here....thank you for understanding my heart....thank you for sharing yours with me. I can't imagine how much you miss having your boys home with you, and it is such a comfort to me to know that your bond continues to deepen, even though you no longer live under the same roof. Thank you for your continual love and kindness towards Zachary. You are right....God is Lord over their journeys, too, and He has allowed things to enter their lives for His Own reasons. That was such a comfort to me to read that. Oh, yes! What a day that will be when we are gathered home to Heaven and our dear loved ones are with us for eternity....all under the same "roof" forever, never to be parted again. You always lift my spirits and pick me up so much with your dear words. Thank you for that wonderful Scripture, too. Much love to you always.

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  5. Wonderful post. So much wisdom and heart here, sister. We're so on the same page this week. My baby is on an eight day mission trip to Costa Rica with her school right now. I penned a post yesterday about how I prayed with her before she left and compared it with one I did four and half years ago, her first day of junior high school… Time does surely get behind us in a hurry.

    Your life is blessed by God to have had your amazing dad and to pass along that wisdom and heart to your young man…

    Praying for you and yours in this season of crucible.

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    1. Oh, my, I know this separation is tearing at your heartstrings, brother. I am so looking forward to reading your new post. That is so touching about how your prayed with her and reflected on that previous prayer. Where do the years go? You are so right...Dad was such a dear blessing and Godly influence in my life. Oh, I miss him! I can't thank you enough for your consistent encouragement and prayers for us. God bless you and comfort you as you miss your sweet girl.

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  6. I smiled as I read these tender sweet reflections of a loving mother Cheryl.

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    1. I am so thankful this brought a smile to your face, Wanda. God bless you for stopping by.

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  7. Cheryl, What a cutie he is!! I love what you said - that you recognize that God brought you Zachary at the exact perfect time! Such a sweet post! Such a wonderful momma he has :)

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    1. Oh, thank you SO much for your sweet words, Caroline! I appreciate them so much...God bless you.

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  8. God is so good and Zach is HIS child as well as yours. May Zach find the deep and tender love from the inner springs that flow from the belly. He will be of great comfort to you and your husband now and as the years go by. Thank you for sharing with us here at Tell me a Story.

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    1. Yes, what a glorious blessing that Zach is HIS child, too. That was such an encouragement to me to be reminded of that fact, Hazel. You are SO right, he will be such a comfort and already is in so many, many ways. God is so faithful. I have never loved HIM more. God bless you in a special way.

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  9. Oh Cheryl I feel this daily...as you I prayed for so many years for my Liam and he is growing way too fast...when you only get one bite of the apple so to speak it is hard. He is 5 and doing so much on his own..."no mommy, I can do it myself". How many times a day do I hear that??!

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    1. Oh, Desiree! Bless your dear heart! I know you know how this feels firsthand. We are SO blessed to have these precious boys in our lives and homes, and after so many years of waiting, praying, and longing, God has given us the desires of our hearts. They grow to need us less as the years go by, but thank the dear Lord, the bond ever deepens. I am so thankful for your visit and kind words. God bless you!

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  10. What a deep precious love we have for our children. They will always be our "babies". When I hug my son, I wrap my arms around a strong solid man in uniform. Most of the time I'm hugging a bullet proof vest. My head rests on his chest. He has gotten so tall. He use to depend on me for everything. He use to be so timid and fearful at times. He was such a "Mama's boy". Now he has another life, a life of his own. Being in law enforcement requires him to be a strong MAN, and he is. I was so proud last week when he was awarded Officer of the Year! Where has my little boy gone. I am so proud of him and for the peace of mind God has given me. Only by God's help was I able to let go of my little boy. God has given His angels charge over him to keep him in all his ways. God has miraculously freed me from fear and worry that use to rip me apart. My prayer has always been for God to keep my children safe from all harm. My daughter is still home with me. This is our last year of homeschool. She should be home with us until she marries. I pray for her each day too. Maybe being a girl, she has given us less to worry about. I am so proud of my children, and so thankful to God for them each day. Lord, continue to keep and protect my children day and night.
    Loved this post Cheryl!!
    Love ya

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    1. Oh, Chris! This was so precious...it just touched my heart so deeply to hear of your son. You have a special relationship, and i know it made you SO proud to see him with that award. What a blessing! I am so thankful your daughter is still there at home with you...maybe she will wait for a few years before marrying and hopefully stay there with you. :) I am so thankful for you, your friendship, love, and support. God bless you abundantly! Love you, too! :)

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  11. P.S. Zach looks so beautiful and precious in those pictures!

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    1. Thank you so much, Chris. He is so dear and such a blessing. :)

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  12. What a darling. No wonder you're proud of him. Stay blessed!

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    1. Thank you so much, Lux! So happy you stopped by...I so appreciate your sweet comments. God bless you abundantly. :)

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  13. I love this, and I think all mom's can relate. My 12 yr. old is just about as tall as me, and I think "what happened?!" :)

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    1. Thank you so much, Jo. I know what you mean...it is like you blink your eyes, and they have grown an inch, and you have to stop and wonder what on earth happened. It is one of the hardest parts of parenting to realize that they grow up so fast. God bless you and your sweet family and make every moment of your lives special and sweet. :)

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  14. It's such a bittersweet journey isn't it.

    I can't help but tear up when I pause and see how quickly my children are growing up.

    Thanks for sharing and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop.

    Wishing you a lovely weekend.
    xoxo

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    1. Me, too...I cry at night thinking about how fast it is all going by! Through it all, God is here, and He is faithful. So very thankful for your sweet visit and the wonderful link-up. God bless you!

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  15. Oh Cheryl this is such a wonderful post, I can't tell you how much it meant to me. We have had our periods of infertility and then God bless us with 5 children (1 already gone to be with Him). Our oldest is now married and has children of her own and our youngest is now 7. My baby is growing up so fast and I am with you it is something I don't want to stop but I don't want it to happen. When our daughter got married it was a wonderful day but also a really sad time for us as parents, sad that a time in our life was gone and was moving on. It is good that she is married and has a wonderful Godly husband but as parents it is difficult. Thank you for sharing this at Good Morning Mondays. I am praying that what you and your family are going through will be made lighter with God. May He bless you all as you deal with life's issues and may you rest in His abundant grace and blessings. Thank you friend and blessings.

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    1. Oh, Terri! You are always SUCH a dear blessing and encouragement to me...both on your blog and here, too. I can't imagine how hard it was to let your sweet girl "go" when she got married. I am SO thankful she has a Godly husband. It just touches me so deeply to know that you are continuing to hold us up in prayer. I just can't thank you enough, dear friend. Much love and many blessings to you.

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  16. A very touching post. I cried as I read this.

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