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Posts Tagged ‘sons’

I love being a boy mom. My husband’s family is full, full, full of boys and we continued the trend with two of our own. But, I’ll be honest, there were days I wondered what it would be like to have a daughter. I imagined tea parties, dress up dates, chick-flicks and drama queens. I never missed the drama queen part, but I know, from being one, that daughters have a special relationship with their moms. I can dream about sweet and happy times because I never had a daughter. And I have friends with daughters – so I’ve heard horror stories, along with the good times. But God heard what I never even expressed and now I have two daughters…daughters of my heart.

Don and I prayed for these girls way before we ever knew them. We prayed for our sons’ future wives…that they would know and love God, desire to serve and follow Him; that they would be prepared by their own parents to be the wives my sons would need. I asked God to give me daughters I would love with my whole heart, and who would love me in return. I learned a lot about mother- and daughter-in-law relationships in my own marriage and I hoped to be the type of “other” mother my girls would want to spend time with…and that I could encourage and love them as I would want to be.

God is so good!

Kids_NTB_concert_2017Three years ago my first born married his sweetheart…someone we had known almost her whole life. Though they started dating after David’s high school graduation, he and Tristen had been friends for many years. They are a lovely couple and we are so blessed to have Tristen in our family. She loves and supports my son wholeheartedly, and embraces life’s challenges with a bravery I find inspiring. I love her so.

This June, my youngest son Sean will marry his girlfriend. They started dating while in high school and have worked hard to make their relationship a priority. Ellie is a beautiful young woman who seems to enjoy hanging out with our crazy family, even as we argue such earth-shattering topics as “is a hot dog a sandwich?” She’s the quietest one among us, but gives amazing hugs and listens well. I love her so.

Now I’ll have two daughters. Girls I didn’t raise but have loved for so many years. Those two girls took me for my first pedicure and introduced me to sushi, so careful to help me pick out something I would like. They love ethnic food – just like me, and they’ve helped my boys get outside their food comfort zone. They laugh with us, cry with us, eat my food and even though neither one are particularly sports fans, they endure hours of McGarvey family sports watching. They have been a part of family road trips since my concert obsession began, and the three of us have already had one girls’ day out to Galena. Much more fun to come.Girls_Galena_2017

I’m so grateful that God heard the silent cry of my heart for daughters…and He selected the perfect ones for me (and my sons’ too, of course).

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He started it.

It’s been on the edge of my consciousness since October 30th…the day he got engaged. But after his Instagram post yesterday, the reality is clear: my little boy will soon be moving on to begin the next season of his life as a husband and someday, a father. His moment of nostalgia concerning our backyard made me cry. Because I remember…oh, how I remember.

Compared to this age of camera phones, selfies and Instagram, I don’t have the photo evidence of the hundreds of hours they spent playing, digging, swinging, kicking, catching, tackling, working, mowing, painting, and even sunbathing in that little piece of ground outside my kitchen window.

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We moved to our little house 22 years ago this month. I was 8 1/2 months pregnant with our last baby boy and the backyard was hidden by a few inches of snow. The big reveal didn’t occur until spring but once my oldest boy’s feet found grass, he had his lifelong playground.

The only fences were put there by our neighbors and through the years we retrieved many errant balls and Frisbees which managed to fly a little further than intended. It looked a little different back then – a huckleberry bush grew up right in the middle but we cut it down after too many purple stains all over clean clothes. (“But Mom, I had to slide. The throw was coming home!”)

We’ve recently returned to a small garden plot after many years of open ground. Our attempts in those first few years were feeble at best. But we tried and we ate our produce: radishes and few tomatoes our only successes.

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A  swing set was the first addition to that little backyard. It was a popular destination for our neighbor’s daycare kids. It had a little basketball hoop attached and I’ll never forget the image of my little guy shooting ball after ball after ball up at that hoop. He hardly ever made it but he was only 18-months-old. That “I won’t quit” attitude was already pretty well-developed even then.

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That backyard was the site of some world-class kickball games: Parents vs Sons. Those little boys thought they could beat their mom and dad and eventually, when they learned teamwork and cooperation (and their parents got old and slow), they triumphed more times than not. We had to quit when the ball almost always went over the garage into the woods along the trail. Instant home run but poison ivy threat for anyone who had to retrieve it.

We added a basketball hoop along the driveway when the guys were barely old enough to bounce one, but it became the scene of a few more Parents vs Sons pick up games. I’ll never forget the look of shock on my boy’s face when I deliberately fouled him to keep him from scoring. “Mom! You pushed me…on purpose!” Why yes, Son, I did. Welcome to playing sports with your mother.

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But my favorite memories are of a little boy who used that backyard as his getaway from real life and allowed his imagination to transport him. I had a front row seat (actually, an open window) as I watched him hit wiffle balls which became walk-off home runs in his mind’s baseball game scenario. He’d catch the winning touchdown pass in the closing seconds of his football game; he swung his golf club and put that imaginary ball in the cup for a hole-in-one every time; he scored the last second three-pointer to win his basketball game. All played within the boundaries of his imagination.

In my mind I see little boys bent down examining tiny green radish tops and blonde heads bent together whispering under a huckleberry bush. I see the outline of a diamond track in the grass from the hundreds of little boys’ feet trotting out base hit after base hit after base hit. I see the phone line swinging back and forth after endless attempts at catching pop flies hitting that pesky line through the middle of our “field.” I hear giggles and arguments, made up sports broadcasts and shouts of victory. I smell the air and the grass and the dirt that envelops my little boys after an afternoon in their backyard.

I tried my hand at landscaping throughout the years but between my disinterest in weeding and maintenance and the endless little feet using my hosta as “home plate,” it never really turned out well. I should probably plant something now that the yard is quiet but I just can’t find the inspiration. That backyard is meant for little boys and imaginations.

The swing set and basketball hoop are long gone and soon, so will my little boys, one to life with a new bride, the other to life after college. That backyard is a sacred place – where God watched over two boys as they grew from babies to men – where they learned sportsmanship and attitudes, teamwork and inspiration, confidence and humility – where their imaginations took them wherever they wanted to go.

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