Flu


They spent the days of his convalescence reading together and taking slow, leisurely walks in the sunshine. She remembered the days of his beginning, when they first brought him home. He fit so perfectly in her arms then. She distinctly remembered the curve of his baby cheek. And how he would cry if she left him. This brief illness had reduced him somehow–brought back some of that vulnerability. He wanted to be near her again. What began as inconvenience had grown into something beautiful. The slow pace of the past couple days reminded her how tender she had once been.

And now she is shocked by his shadow beside hers–the bigness of it. And she wonders…Where did the time go?

New Eyes

“This is amazing!”

He was looking through his new eyeglasses for the first time—hands gripping ear pieces as if afraid of losing this new view of his world.

A couple weeks before we had stood at the end of a long hallway in the pediatrician’s office and he attempted to read the eye chart on opposite wall.

My jaw hung heavier and heavier as it became ever clearer how poor my son’s vision is.

these old eyes are beautiful…

He had little difficulty seeing objects that were close…but those in the distance were fuzzy—indistinguishable.

His world was very small…defined by limited vision.

“These things rock!”

but now he is seeing clearly for the first time…

His excitement made me smile–wistfully. How much had those eyes missed while seeing only what was directly in front of them?

He read the license plate numbers on surrounding cars out loud to me all the way home. And the signs on all the business establishments. He discovered new vocabulary words and noticed old landmarks for the first time.

“I can see the bark on that tree!”

“What else can you see?”

He paused momentarily and assumed a somber tone.

“I can see the future. I can see that Teddy is going to pester me about my glasses.”

I laughed heartily and embraced the joy that comes with these new eyes.

And I wonder…

Am I too old for new eyes?

Can I change the way I see?

The answer is as plain as the glasses in his face.

I cannot change the way I see my past.

But God can.

I need some new spiritual lenses.

My world has been so small…defined by limited vision.

I want to see with eternal eyes.

Through the lenses of forgiveness and gratitude.

Through trust in His plan.

And confidence.

Confidence that He is always at work in me.

At work now.

At work then.

I want to see the big picture—not just what is directly in front of me.

I want the joy of new eyes.

As I am training these eyes to see, those fuzzy indistinguishable images are gaining clarity.

Will you please pray?

Joy comes in the seeing.

Three Buttons

“I love you, Jeffrey.”

I could see his pale face squinting up in the rearview mirror. Tears overflowed, and his small voice choked.

“No, you don’t! You would trade me for…for three buttons!”

Three buttons?

This smallest child, so easily bruised, had just made himself into an inanimate object.

I wanted to wrap my arms around him, console him, reassure him that a button could never replace this living breathing boy that I love.

But I was driving. And I was tired.

It has been this way since school began. Emotional outbursts. Pushing limits.

Why does he do that? Oldest son asks me this morning after Jeffrey has been deposited safely on the school grounds.

I ponder.

Everyone needs a safe person, I say. You know, someone you can say anything to? I guess that’s me for Jeffrey. He’s still adjusting to the new schedule. He’s tired and a little stressed. He knows that he can say anything to me and I will still love him.

Sheepish grin spreads across face in rearview.

So, does that mean I can treat you any way I want?

No, that’s not what it means. We need to help him learn to control those emotions a little better, that’s all.

Oldest son hops out at his school.

And a new day begins.

Now, I sit here, and ponder these things.

How to gracefully help smallest son through this transition?

Three days ago we looked out our window to see two little fawns grazing in the meadow. Their youth was evident in the white spots sprinkled across their backs. Beautiful, they helped themselves to grasses and fallen apples, mindless of their spellbound audience. I searched with my eyes for their mother, but she was not to be seen.

This worried me, and I put out some goodies for them along the fence line, in case they returned.

This morning, who should be standing in my yard but mamma doe. Her soft brown eyes searched mine as I stared through the window at her.

She was there all along.

As I step away from the window, I think of those two sweet fawns. Frolicking, exploring, experiencing their world. With mamma hidden a short distance away. Always there within reach just in case she is needed.

But far enough away that they learn what independence is.

In my Bible study this week (What Happens When Women Walk in Faith by Lysa TerKeurst), I was reminded that God never leaves me. Whatever adventure or trial I face, He is right there with me. Perhaps I cannot see Him. Perhaps I cannot even feel Him. But I can be assured of His presence.

Just as that mother deer watches over her babies, God watches over me.

And my children.

I need to have the faith, and the courage to let my little guys figure some things out on their own.

Waiting behind the apple tree is not an easy place for me. I’d rather stow away in their backpacks and jump out the moment a challenge arises.

They are in His hands, and I will gratefully leave them there. In the mean time, I will thank Him that I am their safe person…that they trust me to love them no matter how ugly they are to me at times.

The treats I leave by the fence will remind them that I am here; sweet words and hugs, gentle admonitions, and understanding.

But I don’t think I’ll leave any buttons.

The Ferryboat


The island stood alone in the distance. The faint glow of the lighthouse’s lens circled around and around, drawing all eyes in. When the ferryboat arrived we piled in, a skiff filled with different colors and voices and thoughts. An enchanting boat ride ensued, complete with miles of uninhabited beaches, shimmering water and wild ponies.

This family vacation felt like paradise, especially when I looked into the shining faces of my two young sons. My little guys were like coiled wire, ready to spring at any moment. Exploring the lighthouse grounds, combing the beaches, jumping in the waves…the only regretful part was that it had to end.

When the ferry returned for its cargo, we all obediently filed down the plank once again. The island spilled its contents haphazardly into the little skiff; we all sat tangled together, a mass of arms and legs and sun kissed skin. My little one sat on my lap, his brother to my right, subdued into silence by the motor’s lullaby. I felt the small body in my arms jostling about. I was aware of the flashes of light reflected off the pristine waters as the sun receded into the indigo bed below it. My heart was filled with thankfulness and quiet joy.

The kinship of the ocean drew me to the faces of the others. Their expressions held the peacefulness that I, too, felt. A mother, in middle age, sat with her teen-age son, shoulder to shoulder. The fullness of his forearms and upper chest jiggled with the rhythm of the skiff on his still developing frame. They were seemingly unaware that their bodies were touching, sitting impassively side by side. His coloring was hers, his eyes, her eyes.

I buried my face in the hair of my young son and breathed him in. He smelled of salt and sand, of sun warmed flesh. My heart swelled with love for this little boy. I wondered if we would grow into this mother and son who were jostling about before me. Will there be a time when his kisses and hugs will not flow so freely? When we will sit dispassionately beside one another, side by side bumping through life?

The answer to my question is reflected in the shrug of my older son’s shoulder as I reached over to gently touch him. Recently he said to me, quite seriously, “Mom, you have to stop this hugging stuff.”

With only the slightest hesitation and with a lump in my throat I responded, perhaps a little too emphatically, “Never! As long as I live I will never stop wanting to hug you and kiss you.”

I gazed at the mother and her adolescent son again from under the cover of my lashes. They seemed happy, appeared to be comfortable sitting there aside one another.

I would have worried had the teenage boy been sitting close to his mother and cuddling her as my littlest was doing me. After all, isn’t it our job to fledge them well? To send them soaring from the nest while we stand patiently alone?

Alone, like the island until the ferryboat arrives to fill it full of life and color once again.

Wings

I let him go…

reluctantly.

Whispered prayers on my breath.

Sorting through what is me…worry…insecurity…fear.

And what is Him…strength…security…assurance.

Faithfulness.

Trust.

So hard when it involves my child.

I watch. Over interpret a word…an action.

Were they intending to wound? Was he wounded?

Where is my Anchor; where is my Strong Tower?

I am, He whispers…

So, I let him go.

Reluctantly.

Placing my worries

under His wings until my child is returned.

This letting go, this growing thing,

is about more than me.

I wait.

He returns…face bright with victory…

friends beaming at his side.

Rejoicing.

And even the birds are singing with my heart.

For my beloved is finding his wings.

As much as there is fear,

as much as there is a desire to cling and grasp and spread my wings over him,

He will never learn to fly if I do so.

There is another’s wings who cover him.

Amazing wings that give room to soar.

Thank you, Lord.

“I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.” (Psalm 89:1)