19 candles…

Dan 19 Happy Birthday

Nineteen filled the card as he sat in that chair from all the birthdays past and the five of us around the table, we laughed. And then I hugged him.

My dearest third born, my baby boy.

And in the fading light of an April afternoon, if I closed one eye a bit, I could see him, all chubby kneed and knee high to a newt.

And his brothers. My three sons.

And I remembered the Birthday Bucks. One for each year. All I could afford. Plus, homemade cakes and homemade parties. And lots of little friends, all noisy, wiggly.

Single mom, short on cash, endowed with a generous gifting of creativity.

Richer in love.

And faith.

So Birthday Bucks became one of several new traditions in a household down one parent, yet headed by the Father of us all.

Pirates and hedgehogs and sea monsters showed up.

And we sailed away on Blackbeard’s ship, constructed from a neighbor’s cast off refrigerator box.

Plus, army guys barking orders and puppy dogs’ tails, with snips and snails…

And even once a dragon, an ice cream castle and ladies fair!

Party themes hard pressed from a heart that longed to provide sweet home memories while soothing little hearts broken.

So gifts of time and love provided much more than money could ever buy. Netting a windfall of fun.

And precious moments, all tied with ribbons of grace, weaving hearts together.

And now, 19 is the baby, with shoulders broad, and brothers turning 25 and 22.

Yet sometimes, I finger the little clothes that framed dimpled faces or a baby blanket that wrapped a bundle snuggly warm. Mementos napping in the Baby Box.

And a thousand tiny images, like sweet onesies clipped to a line blowing in the summer breeze, warm my mother’s heart and there are moments when I long to have it all back, for just one more day.

To have and to hold little hands, sticky fingered, and little hearts tucked safely under the covers after bedtime prayers. To spend long summer afternoons by the town pool, until the sun went down and the fire flies twinkled bright…

To pass around the popcorn for another Disney video as one by one, the sandman came and sleepyheads, cradled in weary arms, where taken to bed…

Sweet lived-in, loved-in moments. Each one a precious gift. As close as my heartbeat…

But so is now. And truly now is all we each will ever have.

So I hug tight the current moment, party in progress.

Savor grilled salmon, asparagus and boiled red potatoes with dill butter, more than those fish sticks and mac and cheese!

Candles and cupcakes and birthday song singing.

With new members welcomed round the family table and Dearest Husband putting his arm around my shoulder and love love love oozes through all of this wonder…

Miracles of love and life…

Second son way out West, would have Skyped into the party but had to work. Oldest son and his wife ready to join him, to finish school.

My birthday boy, my baby, announces: “My brothers are my best friends and I miss them. If they are all there, I’m going too, Mom.”

And I smile, open my hands.

Mothers, we hold our children’s hands for just a moment, their hearts forever.

Counting my blessings…so many blessings.

All the way back, no matter what. Each one, each moment of my life, a lesson from the Father’s hand. To help me learn to love…

And while my heart may skip a momentary beat, it rests secure.

Knowing that God, the One who held me through countless nights of nursing croup, will hold them no matter where they may roam…

That He who guided me as I trained them up in the way they should go, will be faithful to complete the good work begun in these young men…

That the Lord who loves me so much He gave it all up for me {and for you} loves my three sons much more than I ever could.

Waving goodbye from the window — goodbye to that long ago life of single parenting little boys – my dearest blessing {a truly godly husband} holds me slow and silent and we thank God for this gift rare, of breaking bread with grown children, together.

Trusting that Jesus, who was with me on the day it all fell apart after one last argument and through years of great, sorrow-filled challenge, is here now in the sweeter times and forever will be …

and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Matthew 28:20

~sheila

Linking with:

Moms the Word

The Better MomTheBetterMom.com

 

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26 thoughts on “19 candles…

  1. absolutely beautiful sheila! brought tears to my eyes and a warmth to my heart! so wonderful. love you dearly! thank you!

    • Thanks for your comment, Jenn. And in every moment still are new lessons to learn, or relearn. He is our Patient Teacher, carefully shaping us to be just like Jesus…loving purely, unconditionally, selflessly. And there are days when I realize I have such a long way to go in this journey of learning to love…and being like Him. And then I count my blessings for his gifts of Grace, Mercy, Patience and new opportunities to try again…Be blessed this day!

  2. And to think there was another single mother raising three sons while I was a single mother raising three sons…our three sons being the exact same ages!
    “We hold our sons’ hands for awhile, we hold their hearts forever.”
    And we held hands while one son was off to war in Afghanistan. and we’ll hold hands in prayer on Easter Sunday when one son departs on board an aircraft carrier until next year.
    For we know that no fragilities of war, no depths of oceans, no winds of change can ever separate my three sons.
    Semper Fidelis!

    • AMEN! May God hold all of our young men in His hands, hearts united even though they may be miles apart. I will pray for you son in the Navy and Praise God for the other’s safe return.
      Thanks so much for sharing.

  3. And to think that there was another single mother who was raising three sons as I was a single mother raising three sons; our sons being the exact same ages.
    “We hold our sons’ hands for awhile, but we hold our sons’ hearts forever.”
    And we held hands while one son was off to war in Afghanistan. And we’ll hold hands in prayer on Easter as one son deploys on board an aircraft carrier to the other end of the world until next year.
    For we know that no fragilities of war, no depths of oceans, no winds of change can ever separate my three sons.
    Semper Fidelis!

    • From one single mom of three sons to another…how did we ever do what we were called upon to do? JESUS!! Some days were so hard, as I am sure they were for you, but I hold each and every moment closely in my heart. Those darkest days were some of the sweetest ones with the Lord. God bless you and your sons always…Thanks so much for writing! Please stop by again.

  4. This is beautiful and you’re going to make me cry! My baby is 20 and my oldest is 24 and is getting married in a couple of months. It all went so fast. Wasn’t it only yesterday that I was holding my newborn baby in my arms and chasing his older brother?

    I am so thankful that I can trust my Lord for their futures! Thanks so much for linking up to Making Your Home Sing Monday! By the way, the new linky party is live and ready for your posts! 🙂

    • Oh Nan, it was only yesterday. And then we blinked a few times and they were grown big and out the door. I am two years into the empty nest and there are still moments when I need remind myself ‘those days are but a memory now.’ And how sweet it all way, even the hard parts. And I miss them. Thanks for stopping by…And YES, I did link up this morning.