It happened again.
That prickly, achy, heart-pain that we ponder and then set aside, chalking it up to something called “grief over a normal life that we will never know”.
The first time I ever really experienced these sharp moments, was in the airport. I had finally pulled by sheer will-power, all my family thru the check-in process, and we were sitting finally in the waiting area. As I sat gathering my breath, I watch a young mom walk past- head high and forward, not even looking behind her to see if all her ducklings were following, because they were, all 4 little ones in a row. It had never occurred to me till that moment, that keeping track of mommy was a normal instinct- and one I had never experienced as a young mom. I thought all young moms fell in love with child leashes. :) I never really have the time to think about it much during the school years, too pre-occupied with the 4 hours a day in the car plus homework stress, and everything else that comes with getting all my kids thru their various special needs. But it comes hard at milestone moments, like graduations; or with casual comments like “you should take your girls with you shopping if you want to have Real fun”, or “just get your boys to help you” Man- I sometimes have to bite my tounge on the comment- “I’ll let you take the kids shopping- and I start my stopwatch to see how long it takes before you call to get rescued.” Lately the grief has been watching young men who used to be the ones that my kids would not go to church to endure- grow up enough to go on missions, (or return). Usually I manage to sigh, then push it aside, trying to pretend that it is gone and conquered, as I focus on the needs at hand and the laughter and joys that our family manages to sprinkle abundantly between the daily struggles.
And then, another sad letter.
This time it was from my younger son to me. He gave it to me last night. It was written as part of the activities that the Scouting/Young Men leaders had arranged for all the boys to do toward the end of their week-long Stake Camp last week. You know, the kind that is supposed to be designed to increase the teen boys’ spirituality… here, I’ll show you. (names have been smudged by me)
And everything rushes in. I have to keep the tears set aside, it is too hard on my kids, so I fall back to my routine… Spending the day with a prayer in my heart, and hunting for good moments to think about.
And there was good too- he said he wished they had handed out the letters from the parents first, because it gave him a lot to think about, and he intends to hang it in his room by his bed. I had a hard time finding the quiet inspiration to write this one. I finally managed it at the very last night before they all left. But as I re-read it, I realize it was truly inspired- and very healing to my heart as well as his.
Let’s see if I can copy it over to here.
To my Wonderful son.
Look at how much you have grown!
This has truly been a handful of hard years- Especially in school. I have watched and prayed as I saw 4th grade hit hard enough that sitting in the principle’s office was preferable, and 8th grade become intolerable… But you need to know that you have really moved forward, letting yourself learn to do hard things.
Such things as 7th grade when you really took off, jumping from 4th to 8th grade math in a year- and much the same or more for reading and writing skills. And I will always remember the huge growth of courage and endurance that you and your sisters showed to get thru the Temple Cultural Celebration! Wow! what an accomplishment!
Now you are getting old enough that it will start feeling like the world is asking you to grow-up and move forward faster than you are able to go. Do not be afraid. The Lord knows you personally, and has set up a plan just for you, to help you get thru this time of your life.
It might always seem hard- because Heavenly Father is working to raise Warriors who can stand with him thru anything– but he also knows how to mix in good moments to lighten the pathway. Your family will always be there, to help bring smiles and hugs when needed, and keep your eyes open for the tiny bits of beauty in nature and moments of tiny miracles- These are His way to tell you you are on the right path, and help you get thru the rough spots. And when all seems dark- Look to the scriptures and the prophets, they are the light in the lighthouse, to guide you past the danger zones.
Always remember I love you. And someday- it will surprise you (but not me) that you have grown up to be a mighty Tiger that cannot be taken down, except for hugs.
Yup- the grief is back in the closet. It may be important to show this letter to the proper leaders for future safety and such, but mourning is not part of my day anymore today. In the mean time- I think I am ready to wake everyone and get ready for the Sabbath.
Talk to you soon!