This Valentine’s Day, I’m thinking about my first-born, and how he will be moving away from home sooner than I’d like.
I’m normally not this sentimental, but today I’m doing something a little different; I want to share a letter I wrote to my son. I believe there is a beautiful Mama out there who needs this.
To My Son,
I don’t know why, but I have been emotional lately as I consider what little time you have left at home. Soon you will move out and start a new chapter of your life, and it’s a bittersweet feeling. It’s so strange, because I’m not normally a touchy-feely kinda gal. I wonder if people will think I’m being silly and dramatic. This isn’t really who I am.
And yet, I have never experienced a child leaving home.
So maybe this is exactly who I am.
As I prayed for God to help me get ahold of myself, He reminded me that I am a writer. So here I sit at my computer, trying to figure out how to get all these thoughts and emotions under control. I had no idea that a mother and son could have such a close – and healthy – connection. Raising a boy has been such an amazing experience! I know you’re not one for the mushy stuff, and I try not to force those things on you very often. But if you’ll indulge me a moment, I’d like to share just how much being your mom has meant to me.
Every day I see the greatness God put inside you. I take no credit for who you have become. I just tried to be faithful, to seek His truth and wisdom, to spend plenty of time on my knees on your behalf. You’ve always been an introvert who covets your time alone, and yet lately, you’re really trying to reach out and make friends, both male and female, and experience the value of relationships. While you hate being in the spotlight, you’ve forced yourself to make speeches because you know it makes you stronger. You’re not ashamed to sing worship songs in front of your peers at church. All these efforts stir my heart with pride.
You’ve come a long way, and there is so much I appreciate about you. You went from a cute little video game nerd to an active leader in JROTC and the High School Ministry at church. I admire your devotion to your family, how you want to be strong like your father, how you want to make us both proud. I admire your efforts to use your intelligence for good, to work hard for your future goals, to overcome your failures. You don’t mind not being the best at things like football or drill team, yet you still do your best, knowing you will never be considered the best in those areas. You are a deep feeler, and though you rarely speak of those feelings, it tears you apart to see your loved ones suffer through hard things like death or divorce. I love your sensitive heart and cannot wait to see how God uses this trait in your future. You honor your parents, you serve in church, you help when family is in need – all traits that are lacking in many teens these days. As I watch other moms struggle with their children, I feel so blessed to have a son like you.
And in those areas where you fear, where you struggle to believe that you are enough, I say, fight for it like the warrior you are – don’t let anything hold you back from where God is leading. Face those scary things with boldness, accept that it’s okay to make a few mistakes, refuse to believe the negative words this world might try to say about you. Hold onto the truth and promises of God’s Word, and never stop seeking Him in all things. Stand firm in your faith and strong with integrity – that is the true measure of a man.
What will I miss when you’re gone? Watching you step out onto the field wearing blue and gold, proud to be part of the football team although you don’t play much. Seeing your excitement as you talk about calculous or science stuff I doubt I will ever understand. Laughing at your Tim Hawkins jokes, quoting Star Wars lines, watching Lord of the Rings for the hundredth time. Hearing your boyish noises as you tell stories about things that happened at school, youth group or the sound booth at kid’s church. Discussing what you read in your morning devotions or how you’re learning to hear God’s voice. Listening to Pastor James MacDonald on TV while we drink our coffee in the mornings. Family vacations, silly faces when I insist on selfies, embarrassing you in front of your sweet girlfriend.
And so. Much. More.
So many of my prayers these days start with “God, what do I still need to teach my boy?” But He always calms my panic and assures me that He’ll take care of you better than I ever could. I’m able to smile, and reflect on what an incredible experience it has been to be your mom and watch you grow. You make me proud every day. As you go on with your education, your career, and then your own family, I will always consider it a privilege to be your first love.
You will forever be my Tiger. My Bud. My Paladin.