Monday, April 18, 2016

Beavers, Motherhood, and the Art of Building Dams


When beavers gather twigs, mud, and branches, they do the most random thing with it.  They throw it into the rushing waters.  One would think that every piece would be carried away, but God gave beavers the instinctive ability to engineer the materials in just the perfect way.  When beavers build dams, their materials don’t succumb to the mighty river.  When beavers build dams, just the opposite happens:  their collection of branches and muck actually slows down the flow of the river. 

Motherhood is a sacred gift.  When I was younger, I thought I had all the time in the world with these babies.  I didn’t realize the collective moments would go faster and faster.  When Asher came three years ago, I knew better at how deceiving the daily clock could be.  I cherished each moment, knowing it would be my last run at mothering a newborn and baby.  I was right.  Time didn’t mind its manners this time around, either. 

Here is my gathering of twigs in an attempt to slow down the river that is carrying my babies…my young men…into adulthood.  This is my simple collection of random pieces of wood thrown into the rushing waters in an effort to create a pool of remembrance amid the mighty roar. 

{Asher, 2 years, 11 months, and 20 days}
Asher loves to lick.  He will come up to me and either lick my shirt or my arm.  Instead of telling him he isn’t a puppy, I just give him a kiss right back, knowing that I’ll blink and he will be too big to sit on my lap like a lap dog, licking away. 

His words right now slay me.  There is nothing better than toddler-speak.  “Ah, don’t tick me!”  I lean in to tickle his baby soft belly and he screams, “Ah!  That ticks!!!”  His favorite line at the dinner table is, “It’s too tasty!”  This means that he doesn’t like the food.  Asher will scrunch his nose and utter our new favorite line. Another adorable line is when he wants me to carry him after his bath to go find clean clothes.  “Hode Jue.”  I don’t care what it does to my back; I’ll hold that one until he stops asking.  Tomorrow, the river will carry him towards better grammar, but today I will relish in these precious phrases. 

Yesterday, Asher painted the bathroom walls with his stuffed animals that had been dipped into the toilet water.  Right now, he is sucking on his big toe.  Tomorrow, he will once again choose to pee in his terry cloth training pants instead of the potty.  It’s probably a good thing that toddlerhood sails straight down that glorious river. 

{Sam, 10 years and 7 months}
I love to peer down into my ten year old’s baby face, all splattered with brown freckles.  I breathe in childhood and exhale innocence.  Sam exudes comfort.  He is easy to be around and never judges a soul.  He is my gentle giant, my kid who dwarfs everyone else out on the soccer field.  He cried the hardest when we had to put our golden retriever down.  Hysterically.  I am pretty sure God gave him an extra big heart to go with his extra-large frame. 

When baby-niece-Addison came for a visit, he wanted to hold her the most.  He still asks for a baby sister.  He has a special affection for little girls. They melt him.  It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if God gave him six or ten daughters one day.  He would be a great girl-Daddy. 

Hearing him play “Amazing Grace” on the guitar while I am cooking stirs up something deep inside.   Coming from a rich gospel music heritage, I see God’s imprints of harmony and melody on this third born.  His laid back style doesn’t love to practice for hours on end, so teaching him to be diligent with a God-gift is in the works.  One of the sweetest parts of motherhood is seeing the splatter of gifts on your children and watching them develop, hopefully, for the purpose of glorifying the Giver. 

Perhaps it is selfish, but I do hope the river carries Sam towards the musical worship of Jehovah.

{Eli, 13 years and 3 months}
The sweetest end to my days happens in Eli’s room.  He still loves for me to tuck him in, pulling the red Arsenal blanket up to his chin.  We make sure his favorite animals are close by…Dave, Bruce, Shifu, and Kipster.  Some nights I pray, and other nights, he talks to our God.  I like it better when he does.  His ever present joy seeps into his Abba adorations and it always makes me smile.  I have a feeling that God smiles, too.  

If Eli only had one gas to breathe, it would be soccer.  If he only had one food to eat, it would be soccer.  If he only had one pillow to sleep on, it would be soccer.  I’m worried he might change his middle name to Messi.  Center midfielder is his position.  In many ways, it can be the hardest position, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.  Good midfielders have to be feisty, smart, and creative.  That sums up my second born to a T.  Center mids have to be able to see the field in a visionary way.  As this soccer-sight develops, I pray his ability to see continues to develop in the spirit realm, as well. 

I love that Eli will tell me details.  If I ask about his day, he will tell me that a teacher gave him a snack (little charmer,) that he ran a 5:35 mile in track, and that he invited another person to join their project because that kid needed a place to go. 

Eli’s river is named Delight.  No matter what God gives him to do, I am sure it will be done with joy.

{Cade, sweet 16 in less than 2 months}
He’s making me cry buckets right now, and he doesn’t even know it.  It’s hard on a momma’s heart when that river starts moving faster and faster. 

Saturday, I birthed him all over again.  The pain felt like it, anyway.  We hopped in the swagger wagon and I drove him around to various businesses, looking for summertime work.  I took him job hunting.  (I just need that to sink in for a bit.)  As we drove, the labor pains got stronger and stronger and I fought the tears as I pushed out a one hundred and forty three pound young  man.  I put him in a slingshot and sent him off to manhood.  Just like that. 

Shockingly, what was birthed was beyond my imaginations.  All of the prayers, spankings, crying out to God for wisdom on raising him, begging God to pour out His favor on this firstborn, the late night vomit fests, the math and history/baseball and basketball competitions…it all seemed to come together in a moment of exhale.  What a precious, wise, kind, Godly, funny, and uber-intelligent young man he is.  He is a joy to be around.  I know not everyone can say that about their teenagers.  I’ll call myself one blessed Momma.   

Watching Cade play high school baseball has been so much fun.  He usually gets to start the JV games in center field.  A center fielder covers more grass than any other position.  I wonder how much grass he will cover once he graduates…what college and calling will whisper his name?  I’ve lost track of the amount of hours he has put into this one passion, so seeing him get to live out his dream has been so satisfying.  I’ll wash blue and white uniforms all day long just to see that grin on his face. 

We bought his first tie.  Red with blue dots.  Timeless and steady, with a hint of fun.  Just like him. 

I trust Cade’s Maker.  I trust Cade.  Float away, young man…float away.

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