Here we are in November already. I’m not sure where the time goes and why it has to go so quickly, but it just reminds me to stop and appreciate the moments along the way.
With that being said, my son and his girlfriend came in town this past weekend. Duane and I got to hang out with them on Saturday at the Renaissance Festival, and then on to dinner after. These moments I truly treasure.
For most of my sons childhood years, I was a single mom. As I reflect back on those years, I can’t help but smile. Drew was (and still is) my world. Everything revolved around him.
I obviously had bills to pay, so was very fortunate to find a day care that he thrived in. And luckily it was only a few miles from my job so I could get to him quickly if I needed to. But he loved being with the other kids, and seemed to especially enjoy the teachers. Maybe because I took him with me everywhere, but Drew always liked talking with adults. He was always very comfortable with them.
Maybe because it was just the two of us, I’m not sure, but Drew was also always very independent. As soon as he learned how to work a microwave, he was heating up spaghetti for himself. (Not something a mom is proud to admit…)
One night I woke up to the TV being on in the living room, so I went to see what was going on. It was about 3am. Drew was sitting up, stretched out in the recliner with his legs crossed at the ankles and his hands folded behind his head, watching television. I asked him what on earth was he doing and happily he said “Watching Gumby Mom!” LOL.
I’m thankful for so many fun memories like that. He had a knack for making us laugh! My dad shares about the time they were in the car and Drew asked him “Why is there a TOY in Toyota?” Always so cute. I always love hearing the fun stories my parents have with Drew.
Not always easy
There were often times that I would stress about money, or my job, or not being able to do certain things that I wanted to for him, but I look back and realize how big our God is. No matter what we were going through, God provided what we needed. Emotionally and physically.
I swear that Drew had a sensitivity for making others feel better too. It was as though he knew I was having a rough day or was worried about something that he would either give me a giant hug, tell me how much he loved me, or make me laugh. He was and is an old soul for sure. So even when I was trying to mask my anxiety or try not to let it show, he sensed it I guess.
Somehow I always felt better and realized what was most important was right in front of me. As strange as it may sound, I’m grateful for the time of being that single parent and having the opportunity to bond so closely with him.
That guilty tug
As he grew older, I felt guilt for not providing the “traditional family”, so found myself trying to overcompensate. Drew loved playing baseball during Little League years, so I did everything I could to make sure he didn’t miss out on anything. School activities, after school activities, sports events, you name it, I wasn’t going to let him miss out.
But then came this Select League after Little League that was more than I could afford and included travel that I likely couldn’t manage, so I had to let him down. We just couldn’t swing it. I felt so bad, but he was such a good sport. He never made me feel like he was sad or missing out at all. Instead he found a different sport to play. Then after sports it was FFA, and then on to being in a band. So he kept going!
Being on a tight budget and me not really liking to cook, Drew never complained about eating chicken nuggets, pizza, or the other easy and inexpensive (not to mention so unhealthy) things. Again, not a proud thing for a mom to admit. But once in a while we would splurge. I got a 50% discount at the restaurants in my companies portfolio back then, so we’d treat ourselves with a steak or crab legs as often as we could.
Early teen years were all about mischief around here. Drew thinking he was being sneaky or doing things I didn’t know about. But there were always little trails left behind, and I was quite the Sherlock Holmes when it came to figure it all out. At first I would typically stress out a bit, but I’d calm down and usually get a good chuckle out of it and gave him an A for effort.
He was quite the creative one. Never doing anything too horrible, but always testing the boundary. And usually coming clean later, even though I had already figured things out. I’m sure it was fairly typical kid behavior!
Those tough years
As with most relationships, we hit a brick wall right around 17. He wanted to be considered more of an adult and I wasn’t ready for that. He had always been somewhat independent, but as with all kids I suspect, we had our struggles.
There is something tough about our children wanting to grow up and have some independence, and then us, trying to be a good parent and worrying about them. It’s not easy. We got through it, but it took a while. Hurt feelings, anger, silence, sadness, all the feelings that go along with struggles like this.
We came out of it without any permanent damage I think! lol But seriously, it was a lesson in communicating, listening, being quiet, and having compassion. For both of us.
Now that he is almost 27, living on his own in another city, and in a long term relationship with a wonderful girl, I can breath, smile and feel proud. Proud of the man he has become, grateful for the lessons that got us to where we are, and thankful for the people that were there to encourage and keep me going when I wasn’t sure if I was doing a good job. (My parents get a big nod here. I can’t imagine having to do any of that without them nearby!)
I also have to thank Duane for handling things the way he did. He came back to my life, and entered Drew’s when Drew was 14. Somehow Duane knew just how to love us in all of our brokenness.
Parenting isn’t easy, and I made mistakes. But looking at the man standing in front of me, I am reminded that God held our hands through it all. As much as I’d love to have had things easier (for both of us), I know that He gave us what we could handle, taught us a lot, and brought us to exactly where we are supposed to be.
Thanks for letting me get a little sentimental after getting to spend some time with Drew and Sadie this past weekend. I don’t get to see them nearly enough, so I am appreciative of every moment.