Wednesday, March 9, 2011


While we try to teach our children
all about life,
Our children teach us what life is all about.

~Angela Schwindt
Our youngest son is 18 today, and I've been filled with an odd mix of emotions all day. Memories gush forth from the halls of his childhood, tumbling over one another like water droplets from an Adventure Island tube slide. I must say, mothering this boy has been a delight. 
He was truly one of the most beautiful babies I've ever seen, 
 with a smile that could win the heart in an instant.


No one understood how a toddler could be such a mature comedian.
But he was.

He was a moody little critter,
but no matter how he might sometimes scowl, 

there was always a smile just 'round the bend.
And when he was little, he didn't mind so much
having that smile captured in photos.
That would not be the case for long.
He liked baseball, but wasn't enamored with it
like his older brothers had been.
Sometimes I wonder if he just played to humor the rest
of the family.
He's like that. 

Now, football, he LOVED.

And he loves the outdoors. A lot. 

By the time he was 10 or so, he wasn't so fond of the camera being pointed in his direction.
But he still tolerated it for my sake.

He has always adored his family. 

Even when he got cool. 

His love for weaponry started very early on,
which made gift-giving from brothers pretty easy. 

Chili's was his favorite restaurant,
so that's where we went on our Mama-Son date. 

And he just kept getting cooler and cooler. 

When he showed an interest in playing the bass,
I gave him my 1977 Music Man Stingray. 

He always studied hard and learned quickly.

And he turned out to be quite the natural at the bass.

He's always been comfortable alone.
He jokes that he just plain doesn't like people,
but we know that isn't true. 
He's just comfortable in his own company.

In the teen years, once in a while I could get him to smile for me even with the camera in my hand.

Sometimes his thinly veiled tolerance showed through
just a teeny bit,
which only made him more handsome (and like my brother).
He was not fond of his "big hair". I was.

Alas, the big hair was not to be. 

  His love for football continued into his teen years,
and he even got a chance to play a little high school football.
His sister loved cheering him on
(as did we all, but we didn't have cute uniforms).

Occasionally he just wasn't in the mood for pictures.
Kind of tough on a mom who is a photographer.

He has never liked being the center of attention,
although if anyone deserves it, he does.

One thing is for certain: he loves his little niece, Baby Belle.

As the youngest member of Despite Distance,
he is known as the Thunder. 
(Still thumpin' that Music Man.)

He is more amazing than words can describe, our Mattie.
I don't think I could ever do enough for him to show him
how much he means to me.
There aren't enough backrubs.
There aren't enough plates of chicken fettuccine Alfredo.
There aren't enough awesomely cool guns or knives
or Zippo lighters or pocket-watches.
There aren't enough hugs.
But I will never stop hugging
and trying to express how much I love him.
And how grateful I am to be his mama.

Time will keep marching on, but nothing will ever fade this love of a mama for her baby boy.

And he will always, always be my baby boy.

His Heart

I wrote this for our 15-year-old daughter, who strives with all her heart and courage to be the girl God wants her to be. She is dedicated to that promise, but that doesn't mean life isn't hard sometimes as she wonders if someday her prince will come. These are the words I imagine he might whisper to her heart, might even now be whispering to Heaven each night while the moonlight dances across her face.

His Heart

Each morning with its new sunrise,
My young heart softly speaks your name
In a prayer-like seeking some would call
Some kind of silly children’s game.
Though it’s anything but childish
As you echo gently in my mind;
I know you’re out there somewhere
Like a precious gem for me to find.
I don’t have to know your name to know
You were created just for me,
So for now I’ll just keep waiting
For the treasure I know you to be.

I’m sure no one around can grasp
What only our Creator knows:
You are being fashioned for me,
My divinely formed and perfect rose.
The fear that someone else will come
And turn your eye and take your hand
And pluck my rose before she blooms
Is nearly more than I can stand.
I want to rush to claim you now,
But I know rushing in is wrong;
For now I know that I must trust
That God will keep you safe and strong.

I know it’s hard, my love, but please…
Our season will yet come to be.
I promise you the tears you’ve shed
Will all be worth it—wait and see.
Each moment that goes by will bring
Us closer to the day we’ll meet;
It’s hard to even dream such joy
Or guess how quickly hearts can beat.
I’m praying that somehow you know
I’m waiting for you patiently,
And I hold to the unspoken promise
You’ll keep waiting there for me.

What's in a name?

My name means consecrated to God. That probably explains how a girl who went through the craziness I did just in my first 15 years can still be sane enough to be sitting here typing this today. And while my level of sanity may be up for debate, I think it goes without saying that I have been immensely blessed. I pray that my life bears out being consecrated to God.

Our first son was named Jeffery (God's peace) Morgan (bright sea). Jeff was named after his paternal grandfather, which adds a dab of hilarity to the fact that the boy who would tell his Sunday School teacher he hated her and kick a church elder in the shin would be named "God's peace". Perhaps it is because he would need heavy helpings of God's peace throughout his life. As for "bright sea", I can completely see that image in our science museum educator who loves all things marine (as does his daughter Morgan--another fun irony).

Then came Luke (bringer of light) Steven (crown). It isn't hard to see that every moment of every day, Luke brings light to the Crown--his savior Jesus. The most compliant child I've ever known, he has grown up to be one of the strongest people I know, always shining and standing like a beacon drawing people to a closer relationship with Christ.

Jamie Lee (meadow) returned to Heaven after only 11 weeks of earthly growth.

Our beautiful Heather Rose, named for two lovely flowers, was born with Beta Strep she couldn't conquer and would bloom only in Heaven.

Next was Trevor (prudent) Joel (the Lord is God). I remain convinced that our "middle child" was placed strategically in birth order as the fulcrum of the family. Our balance beam, he is the perfect blend of strength and wisdom (which also goes back to the "prudent"), bearing out in word and deed that the Lord truly is God.

The last of our sons was born Matthew (gift of Jehovah) Gary (spear rule). While his first name was chosen because of its meaning, we had not researched the meaning of the name Gary because he was named after my brother. I find it rather comical considering his love for weaponry that Gary means "spear rule". The story behind his being named Matthew is that the day I had the sonogram where I found out he was a boy, a thoughtless parent at a flag football game asked, "You disappointed it's another boy?" I sobbed like a baby that anyone could think I wasn't ecstatic that he was a boy. I went home that day and found him a name that would remind him every minute that I consider him a gift from God.

Our last child was Rose (flower) Michele (who is like God?). She certainly is a beautiful flower who lives out a precious humility acknowledging that there is no one like our God. Not only is she both witty and wise, she is the loveliest person, inside and out, that I've ever known.

So what's in a name? A lot, I would say.