When I look at him my eyes see a young man; but my heart sees the little boy who during an ER visit for stitches in his chin looked up with terror on his face and crocodile tears in his eyes with great sobs gasp, “I …ahh…just… ahhh …wanna give… my ahhh… mommy a huugg.”
We’ve spent the past couple of days upstairs, his domain during his junior and high school years, going through closets and drawers. His idea…the sorting through of clothes he no longer wants to keep, tossing out long forgotten, broken toys that have avoided the trash bin by hiding in the crevices along the back wall. Pointing out to me the things I can pass along to his nephews, things he wants saved, organizing one last time.
Why do I have this catch in my lungs? It’s not like a hard blow…you know the kind that knocks the breath out of you; still I find it difficult to breathe normally. Just the thump, thump, thump beating in my chest as the time draws ever near for him to report to Fort Leonard Wood.
I’d been trying to get pregnant for two years when I found out that I couldn’t have anymore children. I was devastated and at the age of 23 had a complete and radical hysterectomy. Two years later I was a single mother with a partial education. Over the next ten years…life moved on as I quenched the desire for more children, joined the Navy Reserves and got an education. Funny how God works things out isn’t it? Off and on through the years I had prayed for a child. I could raise another right along with Richard, by myself. Problem was…all I knew was that I was praying to the God that lived in my great grandfather’s Bible.
Then Jimmy came along and introduced both Richard and I to the Lord. First Richard was saved, then me…then marriage. Can you believe it? Nine months after we were married on a Thursday night we found ourselves rushing to the hospital and in the wee hours of Friday morning a security guard told us the only baby doe in the nursery was a baby John Doe. We had a son! We had a son!
I can see that day as clear as if it happened yesterday. I can feel him the first time I held him, I can smell that sweet fresh baby smell just after bath time, I can hear his first “dada,” his “first I wuv you.” I held him for six months straight! I just could not imagine that God would bless me so abundantly, so quickly after I became a believer.
Sitting here, I see snapshots in my mind of pee-wee football, an ATA World Championship, golf, bowling, hunting and fishing excursions with his dad and brother (along with the stories of the one that got away) band and choir competitions, more football, more martial arts…wins, losses, triumph, heart break... I never realized time was slipping through my fingers.
As we had senior pictures made, ordered invitations, cap and gown…I told myself I was ready for this, but then I was still expecting to pay for college and thought he would be home regularly to at least do his laundry. I never expected the Army! We had talked about it when he was in the 9th grade and again in 10th. I was military…it was good for me…but my war was Desert Storm…this one is different, more difficult, more casualties.
As he excitedly talks about his future, about boot camp, AIT, and with a bit of hesitation... the possibility of being deployed to the war zone... and then coming home after four years and becoming a police officer…that catch in my lungs returns.
I have prayed for him his whole life, even before I knew he would be mine. I am a woman of faith, I know God has a plan, He has the bigger picture. We raise them to be independent, make their own decisions and then they go off and do it!
My question is…did it happen over night or so gradually that I didn’t notice until just now? My baby is a man…thump, thump, thump another day closer to boot camp…another day closer to MP school…another day closer to that first duty station.
What is it they say? HOOAH….Army Strong…
Oh my! Army mom!
Thump… thump… thump.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” ~NIV