Most days, I feel young. Like run across a field, dance in the flowers, young. That wasn’t the case yesterday. My eldest offspring, the eldest of my Gremlins, turned seventeen. He probably thought his mom was back to being a whack job as I stared at him with a mixed look of love and trepidation. I know he doesn’t get it but some of y’all might as I tell you what was going through this lovely brain of mine.
At first, I thought about the first moment I held him at the ripe ol’ age of nineteen. I knew I was going to do whatever I needed to do to create a life this mewling, scrunched-up face baby deserved. It was a pivotal moment in my life. That’s the moment I began to learn what it meant to love someone unconditionally. As a later-in-life Christian, I’ve heard the preaching about being gay is a sin and all that jazz, but you know what? If my son told me he was gay, I wouldn’t banish him from my home. I wouldn’t stop loving him. I would hug him and be the mom he needs me to be. Who am I to judge? I’ll leave that for our Father when the time comes. There is enough hate and judgement in the world that I’m not going to cast any stones. I don’t believe that’s why we’re here. How can we preach to people about the gospel in one breath, then spew judgement and hate in the next? It doesn’t align, folks. It. Just. Doesn’t.
I learned to love because of my child. It made me re-evaluate every decision in my life. I was with a man who didn’t value me. Who made me feel small and question my self-worth. Did I really want to raise my child with the relationship I was in as an example of what people in ‘love’ looked like? I didn’t. Maybe some people judged me for walking away, but as I sit here typing sixteen years later – it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I met a man who valued what I had to say, who treated me like I was worth more than what I even thought I was worth, and he treated my child like he was his own. We’ve been married fourteen years, and we’re still going strong. Our house is filled with laughter and love, which is how it should be. I may fail at everything else in life, but my family life isn’t one of them.
So, that’s why I had the silly, love look on my face before it turned to trepidation. Trepidation because the thoughts started flying through my mind of what I was doing when I was seventeen. Man, we’re so dumb at that age. We think we have life figured out when the reality is we don’t have the first clue. Next year, he’ll be stepping into this vast world as an adult, paving his own way through life. That is scary.
I thought about my children growing up. I thought about how fast time slipped past me like a thief in the night. I’m trying to soak in every single moment with my kids before they leave my nest to create their own. We can chase the dream of rising to the top of a corporate ladder or of building an empire, but no matter how much money you make, you can’t buy back time. You can’t buy back the moments you missed while you were traversing across the country for your job. Moments are precious. Cherish them. Always.