Thursday, April 17, 2008

Just rip my heart right out of my body. Thank you.

Last Tuesday, our oldest daughter turned nineteen. Just rip my heart right out of my body. Thank you.

Not too long ago she moved in with my mom because I think my mom needed some companionship. And we're squished up like sardines in this little house. And just like sardines, sometimes life with a big family in a little house stinks. When you're independent, you just need your own space for a while.

It's been really hard not having her here. I really, really miss her. The past year or so we've gotten along better than before. I think we've both matured a great deal. Yeah, it took me until I turned 40 to mature. Go figure. Life with kids keeps you young. Really young.

I didn't know anything about raising a teenager, and she didn't know how to be a teenager or how to grow into a young adult. Now we both know. Poor thing. She's always been my experiment on raising kids. I've made so many mistakes with her. But she is a humble girl and very forgiving. Just rip my heart right out of my body. Thank you.

Just a few days ago God really, really got on my case and showed me that by not trusting Him with her life and her safety, I was hindering His ability to work His will in her life. Well. Just rip my heart right out of my body. Thank you. I won't get over that one for a while. I'm a control freak. Some days, I think I'm just a freak. But that's a post for another day.

She has grown into a fine young woman, and I am excited to see what God will do with her life and through her life. Right now, however, she's a little concerned that she will never get married. Her daddy isn't so concerned, however. But to a nineteen-year-old girl who has never had a date (on purpose!) and has never been kissed (on purpose), and who is waiting on God to send her The One, well, sometimes it's hard to be patient. I just tell her that I've prayed so hard for God to protect her for her special someone that it might be working a little too good. She doesn't like that answer much.

But, alas. My tender heart will soon be torn from my body again.

This Saturday our boys will turn the rip old age of seventeen. Just rip my heart right out of my body. Thank you.

This means only one more year until they are eighteen (see? I can count!). I am not so sure where all of the last 17 years have gone. It seems as if only yesterday that we were rushing to the hospital to see if my water had broken. Unfortunately, it had not. However, since I went to my exact due date with no signs of labor anywhere in the near future, the doctor decided to keep me. Good choice. You have to know that my body never works the way it is supposed to. No preterm labor or going into labor a few weeks early for me. No sir. My babies came into this world full term, weighing 6 pounds, 7 ounces and 8 pounds, 1 ounce. That's 14 1/2 pounds of baby. Yeah, that would explain why I looked like a beach ball was stuffed inside my clothing. It felt like every organ in my lower body had been ripped out and shoved back in.

Their birth is a post in itself. Just suffice it to say that I experienced both normal delivery and a c-section that day. I never even dreamed something like that could happen. Having both a normal birth and a c-section on the same day felt as if every organ in my lower body had been ripped out and shoved back in. However, as my boys have grown closer to adulthood, it's as if somebody has ripped my heart right out of my body. Here's what I talkin' about.

Turning seventeen means that they'll be making choices about their lives or carrying out the choices they've already made. But first, they'll be getting their license to drive. Lord help. Just rip my heart right out of my body. Thank you. One child on the road is stressful enough, but three . . . well . . . good thing I ain't a drinkin' woman.

Speaking of life choices. Here they are decked out in their police gear for their Explorer group. They are in this group because they plan to one day become police officers, snipers, FBI agents, Secret Service guys. It's funny. When my dad died, they were both pallbearers. My mother-in-law bought them new suits to wear. Black suits and white shirts. It was a hot, hot summer's day. Since my dad was in the Air Force, he received an honor guard (I guess that's what you call it). As the fellow was playing Taps, I looked up to see one of the boys standing outside the tent, hands clasped in front of him, standing with his legs slightly apart, with dark sunglasses on. He really, really looked like Secret Service. Just rip my heart right out of my body. Thank you.

I don't know what field they will end up being in. Which ever career is the most hands-on with guns, search-and-rescue, they're sure to be there. Anyway, the Explorer group is sorta like on-the-job training. That starts at age 14. And at age 14 they were there. And have been for nearly every meeting for the last three years. They practice real-life senarios at their meetings with a duty belt, real handcuffs, and something called a blue gun. A blue gun is a replica of a Glock. It weighs the same and is the exact same size. Only. It is one solid piece of rubber. No bullets for this gun. Thank you, Jesus. My heart can remain in its rightful place for the time being.

Now, what I want to know is watch'cha gonna do when these two come for you? Best just stay out of trouble. Just sayin'. They are strong, strong young men. I'd post a picture, but I don't want to be accused of causing any heart attacks amongst my readers. Trust me when I say I do not allow them to be outside without a shirt on. We have enough trouble keeping the girls at bay.

Their plan is to go to college, then apply at the police academy. One of them is thinking military but says he won't do it if I don't want him to. It's just such a scary thing for me. I think I wouldn't mind so much if he waits for a few years after completing high school or goes to college. I would like him to be a bit more mature before enlisting. Just rip my heart right out of my body. Thank you.

This interest in law enforcement goes back as far as I can remember. It might have something to do with their life-long interest in guns. Or the fact that they are very concerned about people doing the right thing. Anyway, when they were in 5th grade, their first year being homeschooled, we signed them up to be on the 4-H BB team. They were naturals. And we've got the trophies, both team and individual, to prove it. I was always so proud when their names would be called out of hundreds of participants. Only. It was really hard when one of the boys would do well but not the other. Just rip my heart right out of my body. Thank you.

It was a hard lesson for this mama to learn. Life isn't always fair and equal to the children in the same family.

Now they are members of the 4-H shotgun team. They shoot skeet. My boys had never shot skeet before. They hit 22 out of 25 clay pigeons at their first practice two weeks ago. That's scary. They talked their mama into shooting last Thursday. Mama had never shot skeet before either. Mama hit 14 out of 20 clay pigeons. Hmmm . . . Bertha May was happy. She finally got to shoot something. Only. Bertha didn't get a trophy. Bertha got a bruise on her right shoulder. But she was happy.

Here they are being wallflowers at a 4-H dance last year. Occasionally they will join in a group dance like 'Cha Cha Slide', but that's about it. There will be no dancing on their part that involves a girl. We've really tried to raise them to be gentlemen, and mostly they do a great job. The day they bring home "the" girl . . . well, Lord, just rip my heart right out of my body. Thank you. But please put it back in with enough love for her too.

Just allow me to say this: any girl who breaks either of their hearts, well, they just better remember that mama once shot 14 out of 20 clay pigeons. And she won a coaches' match one time at a BB match. Mama don't play. You better not either when it comes to my boys.

Raising twins has been an amazing experience for me. The hardest thing has been knowing that, one day, when they're all grown up, they will both be leaving me at the same time. It just ain't fair! My only sons will be venturing out into life simultaneously. Just rip my heart right out of my body. Thank you. Do you think I'll get it back when they are married and have me some grandbabies?

Here is a little quote that I found today that describes pretty much how we've tried to raise our boys:

Bring up your boys with both love and wisdom; and turn them out as men, strong limbered, clear eyed, stout hearted, clean minded, able to hold their own in this great world of work and strife and ceaseless effort. ~ Mary Lowe Dickinson

God has been so good to me. Although I wanted nothing more as a young girl than to grow up, get married, and have babies, I never could have dreamed how much He would give me. But it does come with a price. The Bible says in Luke 12 . . .For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required. Living the life I've been blessed with certainly is no picnic. It is hard, hard work. Many days I find myself wanting to lay it down and quit. But I cannot. This is the cross God has given me to bear and bear it I will, with His help, strength, and might. Being a mom requires long, hard days, and many, many heartaches. But the rewards are immeasurable and innumerable. Life with kids is the greatest, hardest, most rewarding, most heartbreaking, scary, fun, amazing, frightening thing I will ever do in my life. At least for now. When they're all grown, who knows what the Lord may have in store for me. But I hope it will have to do with kids, even if they are someone else's.

I hope that one day, when I stand before God to give an account of my life, I will be found to have born much fruit for Him through my children. Every material possession that I own may one day burn up in smoke or be destroyed in a tornado. But that will not matter. What matters most is if my children are saved and serving God.

Y'all have a beautiful day. And thanks for reading.




Deborah said...

I have sooo missed reading your even make me smile while you are ripping your heart out!! hmmmm...that didn't sound right did it?!

We are THAT Family said...

It's nice to meet you. Thanks for visiting me. I enjoyed reading about your heart being ripped out of your body!

Deborah said... are missing in action again...
I've been tagges for a meme...and I'm now tagging you, so hope you read this. Visit my blog for info.

Deborah said...

Well...I know you are still out there, because there are new pictures...but I don't see any new posts.......

Laura ~Peach~ said...

oh and did i mention along with all the other things we are alike in MY 20 yr old son is a cop!... the blue gun is cool but the 40 caliber glock is AWESOME and when the boys take you to the pistol range it is just ... makes ya feel 10 ft tall!...they are not much older than my 16 soon to be 17 yr old who claims she is, "going to be a lawyer... so there will be at least one honest lawyer out there"
ohhhh rip my heart right out :)