Quarter century young…

A man stands before me, 25 years tall, yet he’ll always be my baby…

Took 27 hours to bring my firstborn into a brand new world, shiny bright, loud and cold — breaking the womb’s soft, still darkness as dawn broke the eastern sky.  And from my hospital window that morning I saw the majestic Hudson glistening below, the Palisades’ straight back cliffs rising high above the river.  Saluting Heaven.

Time, like the river, has flowed ever onward throughout these past 25 years…

And those days of my son being small enough to sleep in my arms are long over, having passed into the arms of his beautiful, young wife.

Yet the memory of his warm little bundle, held close to my heart, lingers.  And I am 27 once again on an early summer morning.  He is sated with the sweet milk of mother, asleep in my arms.

He twitches gently, my gift from God, before a tiny smile curls his lips.  Angelic face flushed in sleep, he slumbers for two hours by my side as I compose a column for the weekly paper I had worked for before stepping into the new role of mother.

The words penned that morning talked about baby firsts…tooth, step, word.  About shiny red bicycles and scouting trips and school plays yet to be.  About all my dreams of what the future might hold.

And the years have come and gone, with all those lovely things coming to pass.  And some unlovely things as well.  House divided, yet remained standing. Rock solid foundation. Learning to love through the good and the bad.

Thank you, Jesus.

And the good work He has begun in this man, and his brothers, He will be faithful to complete.

This 25th birthday party was also a time for saying so long.  Son and his bride head west by month’s end.  Joining his brother already there.  And my youngest, well, he’s off too.

“My brother’s are my best friends, Mom.  I really miss them.”

And just like that…the nest will be completely empty.  The nest I fashioned by the Father’s hand as best I could on my own, clinging to His promise that he gently leads those with young.

So Birthday Man and First Daughter light the candles and we all sing.  And he blows them out, really slowly, sense of humor extinguishing the flicker of flames.

And we laugh as he plays the quarter game, with quarters like confetti spread around the table. Twenty five for his 25th.

Grandma has worked her heart out preparing scrapbooks and photo albums.  Ever the intrepid, ubiquitous photographer, her finished photos never seemed to find the light of day. At least we never saw them!

“So this is where all the photos from all the years have gone!” quips Birthday Man.

And we gather together, lovingly gaze at what has been, remembering things long forgotten.

Looking at all the days passed, when sons were little and life was such a whirlwind, and my mother’s heart longs for just a peak over my shoulder.

To watch them sleeping soundly. See them doing homework.  Hear their laughter.

Three brothers running in the backyard.  Playing under the deck with all their trucks and tractors.  So much mud that day!  Had to hose them off before letting them in the house.

To hold tiny hands again, wipe smeared peanut butter and jelly from little faces…

Pick them up in my arms and hug them tight, whispering to their hearts how much I love them.

Wishing I could hold time in a secret place, able to revisit tender moments of childhood.

But time is kept by no one, and we need to make the most of each and every precious moment.

And so I am thankful for now. These moments of the present.  This gift of love.

We laugh some more, reminisce about the silly stories from old.  And look forward to the future, with hearts open to receive all God’s new blessings.

And I praise Him, our Father who delights to give His children gifts, good and perfect from above. Cup running over with blessings past and blessings yet to come, and my heart is full, gratitude spilling over.

I smile at my Birthday Man and his wife, wish them well, hug them tight before sending them on their way. So far away. With a blessing for a strong marriage and even stronger faith in God. A life of purpose, passion, peace and joy; good health and happiness and someday…babies of their own.

Who will sleep in Grandma’s loving arms and I’ll marvel when their angelic little lips curl in smile..

And my heart feels weepy but doesn’t dare show it.  Not until later, when Dearest Husband takes me for a long drive on a dirt road newly discovered. A road lined with trees so tall and lush that I cannot glimpse the clear blue sky, mere slivers of light filtering softly through the foliage.  Holy hush is broken only by the gurgling of a brook. And I am awed and comforted by God’s beauty. And thankful for my husband and his wonderful suggestion.

We wind up in the quaint, historic village of Cold Spring.  By the river.

And he puts his arm around my shoulder as a late afternoon sun, still warm, starts to slip behind Storm King Mountain. A man on a bench strums his electric guitar and music fills the air.  We sway to the gentle rythyms and Dearest Husband, he holds me tight when tears and prayers mix, watering seeds of hope and new life, the next chapter, future generations.

One thousand generations with good Jeremiah 29:11 plans, righteousness yet to be.

And the river, flows…

~sheila

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12 thoughts on “Quarter century young…

  1. You have such a writing gift. You always convey God’s heart through such rich, beautiful imagery. Thank you for sharing your memories of your son, as you ‘send him off’. You have a beautiful family, and it’s wonderful you can ‘set him free’ while acknowleding the heartache. I am just at the beginning of my journey with two little sons. May I always love them deeply too, and cherish the moments of their youth.

    • Absolutely cherish your gifts from God. And the moments, they will be fleeting. Perhaps not in the middle of the mess, but in looking back. So live every moment fully, thanking God for all of it. May He bless you tremendously as you raise boys into men. Thank you very much for your kind words…

  2. Oh how many family celebrations have taken place around that table … and how many more to come!

    Your son said it all when he said, ‘my brother’s are my best friends …’

    May that give you peace in a job well done.

    • Thanks so much, Linda. I appreciate your words. From the time they were very little, I always told them, “God has made you brothers and God has made you best friends.” He is faithful. I never could have done any of this without Him…

  3. They were beautiful photos of precious moments that we can only hold in our hearts that God has made big enough to keep them fresh and new for you. God’s gift of writing and His gift of love has been shown so tenderly through your words. I thank you for sharing all your deep, personal thoughts. I am grateful to be your friend and thank you for the many lessons you have taught me.

    • I do love him, so very much. He truly is a gift from God and we are each other’s dearest friend. A very special surprise later in the game. God is so good. This year has been a curious mix for me of being a newlywed as the nest empties. But God’s grace carries us through. Thank you for visiting and for your comments. I look forward to visiting your site!