One foot forward – update on Nate and then some

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img_20111025_111305Originally published Oct. 25, 2011 –

There’s nothing more annoying than someone stealing your spotlight.

Not to be outdone, my tibia decided it was sick and tired of Nate’s ACL getting all the attention. So yesterday my left leg became encapsulated in an orthopedic boot for the next three weeks and I’m only to walk a total of one-two hours A DAY. That’ll teach Nate and his so-called ACL repair…OY!

Seriously though, my oldest OS is doing so well.

The Hubs went to visit him during a business trip and they bravely went to New York City.

It’s scary enough walking around the Big Apple as an able-bodied person but as you will soon see in this video clip, my OS took on NYC like a BOSS.

I love how the lady by the curb doesn’t even step aside as Nate comes barreling through. Nice. Thank you Mobilegs for making such a great product, your crutches have made such a difference in my son’s recovery.

img_20111009_1132461That awkward Cinderella moment between brothers – the shoe fits!

When Aaron and I were at West Point, I observed brotherly love in a fresh way.

Five years ago, almost to the day, Nate had his first ACL surgery.

Aaron and Ike attended to Nate in the manner fitting of a then 12 and 10-year-old.

One of the post-surgery highlights was when the two guys competed each day to see which brother could collect the most wee-wee from the urinal. Such a proud mommy moment.

Thankfully everyone has matured. My orange haired, freckle face almost 15-year-old stayed behind for driver’s ed but loaded up a box of treats for Nate replete with a funny card. He spoke to him regularly and showed sincere concern.

It was my middle OS that displayed such a servant’s heart, I found myself nearly thankful for Nate’s injury.

When Nate’s surgery was scheduled first thing in the morning, Aaron cheerfully awakened to join me at the hospital.

Anything Nate needed, Aaron offered to help.

Anything I needed, Aaron was equally joyful to do.

Fill Nate’s ice machine, get him fresh water, fluff his pillows, Aaron literally poured himself out to his brother and he was remarkably patient with me.

My boy sacrificed his own Fall break to help Nate and then only three days after getting home from New York, Aaron was the patient. He had wisdom teeth surgery!

It was my middle OS that displayed such a servant’s heart, I found myself nearly thankful for Nate’s injury.

When Nate’s surgery was scheduled first thing in the morning, Aaron cheerfully awakened to join me at the hospital.

Anything Nate needed, Aaron offered to help.

Anything I needed, Aaron was equally joyful to do.

Fill Nate’s ice machine, get him fresh water, fluff his pillows, Aaron literally poured himself out to his brother and he was remarkably patient with me.

My boy sacrificed his own Fall break to help Nate and then only three days after getting home from New York, Aaron was the patient. He had wisdom teeth surgery!

img_20111010_1011532It’s not the best quality picture but I captured a tender moment when it was time to say goodbye.

Of course, the lacrimal glands were activated as I hugged my boy’s neck.

We had such a treasured time together.

There was another WP mom picking up her son by Grant turn-around and she wiped tears from her eyes at the sight. Aaron carried his big brother’s laundry and stuff as Nate crutched back to life at West Point. Yes, I was crying.

But then I really lost it as Aaron accompanied Nate to the barracks.
Nate was limping along on his Mobilegs as Aaron carried Nate’s stuff back to his room.

Two beautiful, godly young men and brothers displaying love and gratitude.

They are there for each other.

They share joy and sorrow, struggles and success.

Neither distance, nor disability of any kind or length, nor differences will separate my three OS from each other. Ever.

Let it be so.

Five Minute Friday – Focus

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Here I am workin’ it in my “progressives” hanging with my Soldier, Nate and my goofy, orange hair, freckle face OS Ike.

I swallowed my pride this year and got bi-focals. Thankfully I waited until they began calling them, “progressives” so I was able to feel better about myself and another sign of my mortality.

I wanted to get “progressives” because I wanted to see. Yes, I have high expectations.

It was annoying to put in my contact lens (I just wear one) and then run all over the place to get my “readers” for more up-close things.

My world opened up more easily with the new glasses because I was able to see up close and far away.

Sometimes I would really appreciate spiritual progressive lenses. I see things in my personal life that are blurry. They don’t make sense, I want resolution and selfishly, I want peace and restoration. Or at least MY version of what that should look like.

And then it’s frustrating because I can’t see far away, what will happen next, how things will turn out. Turmoil close to home, with people I care about. Turmoil in the Middle East. Terrible things going on so I try to slip on any pair of “glasses” I can find but  there is only one prescription that works.

This is the kind of focus we need to remember in times of trouble.

I go to God’s Word and ask Him for help. He has perfect vision and sees all things clearly. Motives, background, history, past, present and future, it all makes sense.

Today I’ll continue to do my Bible Study in Psalms. Father, help me FOCUS on YOU in this unclear earthly world.

To participate in Five Minute Fridays go here, it’s really fun.

Ponderings from a three year old about 9/11

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At dinner last night (Sept. 10th), I read a story to my orange hair, freckle face almost 16-year-old OS. It was about how Ike processed 9/11 as a toddler. I was surprised back then that the horrors of that day had impacted him so intensely. I’m glad I have been writing for so long because I might have forgotten these moments. First published in the July 2002 issue of P31, a ministry of Proverbs 31 Ministries, I share this again with you on this very significant day.

A sweet little boy with very real questions

In the 12 years I have been a mother, I have learned parenting is not easy. I’ve learned that kids often like to discuss difficult subjects out in public or when I’m driving a car. I’ve learned that little minds think about tough subjects. This has become clearer to me since the events of the last year have given my youngest son, Isaac, much to ponder.

It all began on a seemingly innocent trip to Wal-Mart. As we approached the entrance someone caught Isaac’s attention. A dark-skinned man exited the store and walked near us when Isaac asked, “Is that Osama bin Laden?” So many times my children have surprised me with their spontaneous questions. Hoping that this man hadn’t heard the question, I varied between wanting to burst into laughter and erupt into tears. Isaac’s question jolted me like an electric shock.

Part of me wanted to quip, “Um, Isaac, I don’t think he shops at our local Wal-Mart and uh, Isaac, if he does, forget the crackers, let’s get out of here!” But instead I assured him that the mild man in slacks was not Osama bin Laden.

But he wasn’t finished. About a week later I was putting on makeup and Isaac entered the bathroom. Without any warning or prompting, Isaac wanted to know what we would have done if we had been in “that” building. He wondered whether we would have been hurt. He recalled seeing an image of a woman with a bloody bandage on her head running from the big building. I gently reassured him that we would have been ok.

The grocery store was the most recent location for Isaac’s curious mind to activate. But before we even approached the door, out in the parking lot, Isaac asked me the most intense question I think anyone has ever asked me. “Does Osama bin Laden believe in God?” he inquired.

So how does a mother answer that question?

Just so you know, we don’t have the television on all day and I can’t remember the last time I talked about the war before bedtime. He’s your typical boy who likes horses and dinosaurs. He plays soccer and is building a fort in the backyard with his middle brother. We have “snuggle parties” in the middle of the night when he crawls into our bed. The best response that I could come up with in the milliseconds available was that Osama bin Laden might think he believed in God but he didn’t know Jesus. Isaac is a little young for a Christian apologetics class and I’m unsuited to be training him in the differences between Islam and Christianity. I felt fairly confident that Osama bin Laden had probably heard of Jesus but that he did not know Him personally.

Three sugar boys a long, long time ago

With each one of Isaac’s questions I feel so privileged to be his mother. If I weren’t there, who would hear the stirrings of his heart? If I were too busy or disinterested, what would Isaac do with the adult-sized musings occurring in his pre-K brain? Whose hand would he have been holding when he thought he saw one of the world’s most evil men? If I weren’t available for his questions, who would listen? What kind of answers would he receive?

With each question pouring from his soul, Isaac gives me the rock-solid response. One of the most important jobs I will ever have is raising my kids. The biggest assignment I’ll ever be given is to teach and show my sons the love of Christ and to instruct them in righteousness. In Proverbs 7:1-4 we are reminded to keep God’s words with us at all times.

We are urged to impress God’s commandments upon our children in Deuteronomy 6:7. Before our feet even hit the floor, our Heavenly Father desires to be on our minds and in our hearts. There are no provisions in the Bible as to when we get a break. When my orange-haired boy with soft cherry lips asks me about evil I must be ready to discuss the greatness of God. I need to look for open windows into his soul. God doesn’t mention the car or mall or store as being places where I can slack off as a mom.

I’ve got to show Isaac in my actions and words how to seek the face
of Almighty God, Creator and Sustainer in times of trouble
and tumult. To counter the attacks on my son’s spirit,
I’m required to instill in him the security of believing in
Jesus, the just and awesome One who triumphed over sin and death.

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.

I wish my son’s innocence had not been interrupted by the events of September 11th. The rubble that has cluttered my precious boy’s mind needs to be replaced with peace and beauty. The provocative questions asked by my son make my resolve to be a good mother even stronger. Crackers and cold cuts, makeup and mealtime, sunrise and sunset, Lord, please keep me ready.

Appreciating Nate

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Sandwiched between a Soldier and an orange hair, freckle face OS = pre-sushi joy

My Soldier came home for the weekend. To find him fast asleep in his bed Saturday morning felt like a bowl of slightly melted, premium vanilla ice cream with warm butterscotch and multi-colored sprinkles on top.

We ate sushi at our favorite place and stuffed our faces.

Oh my, Nate is a funny fellow.

And he encounters so many characters, there’s never a dull moment. I honestly think if the whole Army officer thing doesn’t pan out or the West Point degree with a major in comparative politics amounts to nothing, my oldest OS could hit the comedy scene with his own schtick. And his material would all be true, no exaggeration necessary. While at dinner, Nate demonstrated how his pastor, a WP grad himself, is a BIG fan of gestures. Basically every sentence is punctuated with a dramatic bodily motion. I thought a piece of rice was going to fly out of my nose!

We promised Nate we would eat here if he drove nine hours to come home = totally worth it!

My oldest OS’s stories about sunflower seeds are equal parts disgusting and delightful. I’ve been hearing sunflower seed stories for years now. It’s a smart Soldier’s alternative to chew or cigarettes.

These two people had no idea how the Lord was going to change and bless them. Three olive shoots and almost exactly 25 years later, we are still a work in progress but rejoice over what Jesus has done in our lives.

Before we ate dinner, Nate got our family’s attention and offered a toast. The Hubs and I will be married 25 years on Wednesday. The toast and acknowledgement of our pending celebration were just more signs that our OS is a man.

But you know what is really cool? He still lets me call him “Baby.” Not gf “Baby” but mom-speak “Baby.” He allows me (sometimes) to place my head on his broad back and just be near him. When I grab his biceps, which seem to get more muscular each time I see him, he flexes for added bravado. He is patient with my shenanigans too. In other words, he lets me be his mama. He’s not too cool, well-traveled, intellectual or strong to still grant his mother a moment to remember, savor and appreciate.

The car drove away this morning, too soon. A weepy mom stood on the driveway, her heart full of love and thanksgiving which btw, will probably be the next time we see him. Thanks Baby for letting me scoop up more memories. Until next time,

“The Unveiling” part two of birth, beads and a baby

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I’m not sure when I gave the Hubs his birthing necklace. My hunch is immediately. Who could blame me? Wouldn’t you? The authentic “African bone” pieces were carefully selected by my flea market friends in their humble country showroom. Corresponding beads tastefully matched the turquoise orbs in my own necklace. And the manly black beads of alternating sizes, well it was nearly Zulu warrior-esque. Mark must have felt a surge of testosterone when I handed him the silk bag. He deserved this gift and I couldn’t wait to see his response.

18 years later

Now 18 years later, the Hubs describes the moment as “awkward” and “conciliatory.” Btw, “conciliatory” is a word he most certainly cannot spell. But what was he to do? He draped it around his neck and hoped for the best.

“I believe this moment is equally ‘awkward’ and ‘conciliatory.'”

On August 30, 1994, I went into labor while at work. I had lunch with a client at the Chili’s on Glenwood Avenue and warned her that I was having contractions. As the lunch progressed, so did labor. I paused through the pain and eventually called the Hubs and told him to meet me at the doctor’s office. Shortly thereafter, my client called to tell him to pick me up from the restaurant. I wasn’t going to be able to drive.

We floored it to the OB/GYN where it was abundantly clear Aaron would soon join the world.

Before leaving work, however the Hubs called my mom and told her to get to the hospital urgently. My mom was working at a department store in the jewelry department. Note the irony. Though she had many baubles to choose from, none would suffice. My mom told the Hubs she had to first go home. She didn’t have her necklace.

And you know what she did? That blessed woman booked it all the way to her house, placed that treasure upon her neck with little time to spare and walked into the hospital room per her daughter’s orders.

In a wistful moment, during work, sometimes the Hubs will just wear his birthing necklace and remember those blissful times :&

So what happened to Mark’s birthing necklace? Where was mine??? After all that travail and travel, my plans were thwarted and Mark’s prayers were answered. Both birthing necklaces were at home on that hot summer afternoon. My mother was the only one who wore the necklace! Without a second thought, my middle OS popped out with great gusto. He’s been tearing it up ever since.

“I’ve been tearing it up ever since!”

We recently had a dinner party with our pastors and church friends. We played Think-ets and I drew the “bead” trinket. Here’s the link to Think-ets and their new low price! I told them all the story and rushed upstairs to show them the actual necklaces lest they think I was exaggerating for the sake of a good story. You should have heard them all erupt into laughter mixed with pity mixed with relief that they had never faced such a jewelry dilemma.

One day Aaron will get our necklaces. I’d love to think of something special to do with them. If you have an idea, please share. They are emblems of love, devotion, marriage, family and overall weirdness. Thanks for being born Aaron, you have adorned us all with blessings. I love you and miss you. mama ❤

Someone “forgot” his necklace for the picture

Wonderful Winnie the Pooh

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This is me in the leading role as Winnie the Pooh getting ready to wow the crowd in my big acting debut. I’m wearing my very own Winnie the Pooh costume made by my grandma. It was quite possibly the best outfit ever made for Beebe Elementary School student and I’m sure we can all agree.

And since my grandma is gone, I have grown to love that picture even more. Today this is how I feel. I love you Grandma so very much and carry your memories with me always…

The party guest I invited

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Some of the decorations outside

Over 100 people came to my middle OS’s college send-off party.

It was a beautiful celebration and I just revelled in God’s goodness as I looked at the crowd.

I recall my high school graduation party and it was nothing like this one.

Mine had a keg of beer, Michael Jackson music and I remember my tube top falling down unexpectedly. Someone had yanked on it and whoops, there it fell right by the kitchen door leading out to the backyard.

I nearly died of embarrassment but shrugged it off because bursting into tears is just plain gauche for a burgeoning French major.

Possibly one of the sweetest sights at Aaron’s party is this one. People pausing to pray for my son. Such a tender moment, thank you precious family and friends.

Aaron’s bash was nothing of the sort…No booze, (none necessary) folk music, Christian fellowship and everyone remained fully clothed to my knowledge. 😉

Among the treasured guests were our current church family, close personal friends, extended family, pastors, friends from our old churches, some of Aaron’s former teachers and classmates that were in choir and drama together.

Our pastor spoke a beautiful prayer just before dinner which was a gift in itself.

We ate Chicago style hot dogs from Sonic, Chicago style pizza from Rosati’s and filled in with healthy food like cranberry quinoa salad, lentils and jasmine rice, marinated mozzarella, watermelon juleps and other lovely treats.

All the hard work paid off seeing the faces of people who obviously loved my olive shoot and felt cared for by him as well. Afterward, I told Aaron it was like a wedding but no wife and no sex. He wasn’t sure how to respond but appreciated the sentiment and just chalked it up to another one of Mom’s awkward sayings of which he has quite a collection.

Oh yes, knit Chicago style hot dogs and knit Chicago style pizza slices!

But in the back of my mind throughout the preparations and during the actual party, when I allowed myself to think,

I remembered that a year ago on this same day marked my grandma’s last full day on earth.

That is a very hard thing to process when one is getting ready for a party, I assure you. Myriad emotions wafted in and out.

I loved her so much, she was so dear to me.

She profoundly loved my babies.

How had I even survived this year without her?

Step right up and get your picture taken with Aaron in front of the Sears Tower!

It was a Chicago theme celebration since our ministry-minded OS is going to Moody Bible Institute in the heart of the Windy City. As many of you who have been reading my blog have noticed, I built a Sears Tower (I refuse to call it Willis Tower) in my family room.

Each guest got a picture with Aaron in front of our own homemade indoor skyscraper and I chuckled to see small lines of families getting ready for their turn in front of the impressive structure.

And in my own way, unbeknownst to most people, I secretly invited my grandma to the party.

She had to be a part of the night and oh how Grandma loved to party. The poor woman couldn’t cook worth a darn but she was an enthusiastic and memorable party guest. Young and old alike loved it when Grace was coming over. She had a way of getting a party started as many will attest.

My orange hair freckle face OS and his great grandma. She made everyone smile.

And that’s what I did.

I took her to the party.

It was hard to do but I wore her Chicago Cubs shirt to my OS’s celebration.

It didn’t matter that it wasn’t especially flattering or that it slightly clashed with my skirt, I wanted my grandma there with me.

I also wore her high school necklace which rarely leaves me. And I ate some hot dogs. Grandma ate like a bird but loved hot dogs.

Grandma joined the celebration last night. She would have had a blast even if she had some Alzheimer’s, rarely wore her hearing aids and needed a cane. Heaven is the only thing that stopped her from making an appearance and if my grandma is with Jesus, I completely understand her not wanting to leave the ultimate celebration.

All of us, Nate is even in the picture. And I’m wearing my grandma’s Chicago Cubs t-shirt

As the night drew to a close and August 5th soon approached, more tears fell from my tired eyes.

The one year anniversary of my grandma’s passing had now arrived.

I saw my family’s facebook statuses change and their profile pictures show photos of them with Grandma.

I was not alone in missing her.

And those tears mingled with the tears of joy I experienced toward my treasured OS. I can scarcely take it all in today but all is well.

I miss her.

I love her.

I will miss my boy.

How many people can say they have done the YMCA at their grandma’s 80th birthday party? And how many can say that later on in the night, they danced a conga line through their aunt’s house with that same grandma? I did both and will treasure those times forever!

I love him.

I praise the Lord for all the tears, all the people, all the kindness, all the sadness, all the memories, all the love, truly I am blessed on this most notable day.

These two people were crazy about each other.

PS. In honor of my grandma who loved to party, remember to enter my give-away for a fun party gift! I’ll draw a winner tomorrow! Leave a comment on this page if you want to be entered in.

Sorting and savoring, two graduations, 10 days apart

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Stand up and take a bow. Curtain closes on another chapter.

It’s that let-down feeling you have after everything is said and done.

Your busy plans are complete,

bags are emptied,

things are sort of back in place

and despite a moment of rest,

you are still utterly exhausted and drained.

Your company has left and life is back to normal – that is until your husband has meniscus surgery this Wednesday.

And looking at you and your sassy pink-haired self, no one would know all that’s been going on because you appear to be coping.

But the fact is you are struggling and you (in this case me) wrestle with conflicting emotions.

Clear as mud, huh?

Without getting too personal because blogs like that make me uncomfortable, this is how I’m feeling.

In some strange way, it seems as if nothing happened because so much happened and it’s just too hard to process. It’s postpartum depression minus the baby. I scarce can take it all in.

Two graduations in nine days in two different states is not for the faint of heart.

Of all the stressful things I have done in my life, having those two events so close to each other is wayyyy high up there on the things I wouldn’t choose to repeat.

Both moments were so significant and emotional, there wasn’t time to absorb one without quickly being distracted by the other.

As a result, I’m stunned.

What did we just do?

Where did we just go and come back from (and I don’t even care about the questionable grammar)?

How much money did we spend?

Why am I both full of emotion yet in empty despair?

The denouement of Aaron’s high school graduation and Nate’s graduation from the United States Military Academy needed their own proper time. Kind of like my arthritic right knee, there wasn’t and isn’t any cushion.

After a graduation celebration with some of Nate’s friends and their families, the Hubs and I were driving on Bear Mountain Bridge.

Nate and I after the graduation parade. I really loved that shining brass buckle. Very shiny.

Our tummies were full of delicious food from Foodies and it was early evening.

The United States Military Academy, an outline of the stately concrete structures were off in the distance.

The view called out to my mama’s heart.

Amber lights sparkled from the windows, the Hudson River sat tranquil and tears streamed from my eyes.

Tears are currently streaming from my eyes as I type this, thank you very much.

Cadets are still in these rooms, I thought to myself.

They are busy doing things, I mused, but strangely, my boy is no longer there.

How could that be???  His (and thusly my) 47 month journey had ended just hours before and everyone had seemingly moved on.

Ring Weekend was such a beautiful night! Now it’s all done!

Nate was ready.

I guess I was not.

As the Hubs kept his eyes on the road, I couldn’t help but reach out and grab that little West Point with my fingers.

Between my thumb and my pointer finger, I held West Point there as long as I could before we passed it by.

I can never grasp what this place has meant to my OS or to me.

I can find reasons to return to West Point but none will be for my boy as a plebe, yuk, cow or firstie.

The pangs of this reality sting and confuse.

He loved that place.

He hated it.

It was so far away.

I loved coming there.

What tumult of spirit!

No sooner had Nate graduated from USMA, then he bolted from Michie Stadium along with nearly 1000 other newly commissioned officers and finished turning in all their stuff.

There wasn’t any sentiment in the departure and it reminded me of the 90 second goodbye we had been issued on R-Day, that never to be forgotten day.

No built-in cushion there that’s for sure.

Pride, humility, loss, gain, and so much more jumble inside.

I expect to be working through these experiences and emotions for quite some time because that’s what a mama does, right?

My boy, that uniform, what memories

I’d love to hear from you if you can relate. West Point mom or not, you might empathize. Thanks for listening…

My boy, that uniform, what memories

West Point graduation touchstone moments

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Pictured here are the freckle face, orange hair ginger, the Hubs, the Officer just after we pinned the bars on his uniform, the weepy proud mama, the grandpa and the ministry-bound middle brother.

This is not a glamour shot.

We are an imperfect bunch.
But we love each other.
And when not focusing on our own personal comforts which is often difficult for most people including myself and those in my clan.
We reach deep down inside and demonstrate support and care.

And this is what my oldest OS deserved on HIS day.
Not telling Nate how exhausted and hot we were (because I do not believe there are sufficient words and he was surely tired and sweaty!)
But rather standing next to our Soldier physically, emotionally and spiritually.
As he graduated from the United States Military Academy.

It was a privilege and an honor.
And if someone would have handed me a mirror,
And lipstick,
And some haircare products,
Or offered me a shower to freshen up,

It was only after taking the picture, I realized that we were all touching each other.

You know, because an important picture was going to be taken,

I would have said no

And continued to hold my son’s hand.
Unconcerned about appearance,
Shedding tears of pride.

No other place could I have been
Then next to Nate and surrounded by those who love him most.

Making memories for a lifetime,
This perspiring, imperfect collection of people
Honored a man of integrity
Whom the Lord gave me for such a time as this
And I am richly, profoundly blessed to call him (and all those in this picture) my own.

Creating unconditional love on cardboard, as if that’s possible

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Creating a senior table for him was an act of love.

Wednesday night, on the eve of high school graduation, moms and dads filled the gymnasium for a shining gesture. With Herculean effort, we decorated senior tables for our offspring. I know because I was among those parents attempting, in some impossible way to contain love on a 30″ x 30″ plot of space. Talk about pressure!

For weeks I had been staging Aaron’s table at home. With two children graduating nine days apart in two different states, I had to start early to make sure it was good.

In 2008, Nate had a senior table and Aaron deserved for me to put in the same painstaking effort. In my practice sessions, sometimes I’d tape a picture in one place on the cardboard and then move it elsewhere. A few of my table prototypes were created actually in Aaron’s room so he would see them when he came home from school. I’d anticipate the moment when Aaron would enter.

Yes, I said to myself, hopefully he will not collapse upon seeing its beauty.

Truly, I speculated, he will notice how I angled the ukelele JUST so,

put the candle HERE,

Oh how I adored seeing a classmate write encouraging words to my boy, such loving messages filled these pages.

the coffee cup THERE

and the tiny bell from Ukraine on THIS spot.

And when Aaron would walk into his room, my ear would keen for the slightest gasp of wonder. If a second passed without a response, I couldn’t stand it any longer. “Aaron, what do you think?” I’d beckon so desperate for his approval. Without exception Aaron showed his gratefulness. Whew. Other times, you know, just in case a friend stopped by and you never know when that just might happen, I would do the whole set-up in the dining room and dare I admit, I’d walk down the stairs several times just to get a glimpse afresh.

Senior pic taken by his aunt.

As the mama of three OS, for me with no other girl in my household, it was the equivalent of seeing a daughter in a wedding gown or a prom dress. Don’t laugh. I felt joy. The Hubs found other versions of the table in his office or in the hallway. Some family members were even blessed with text messages and pictures from me marking a new table development concept. A few were kind enough to acknowledge receipt of those pictures. Oh thank you if you indulged me! I sewed a swatch of remnant material from his books pants fabric. Aaron approved.

Then I stitched a coordinating rectangle of some extra fabric a friend had given me. Aaron liked the manly colors. He assisted my efforts by writing in gold a poem from his favorite author William Cowper and I trimmed the sides of the cardboard with pages from an old family Bible.

It wasn’t perfect but the time had come for the official unveiling. Insecure feelings never replaced the warm and wonderful sentiment I felt inside.

But I bet I wasn’t the only one who spent copious amounts of time on the child’s senior table project; based on what I saw, our collective souls were poured onto those hallowed folding tables.

We did not create altars for our children, I guess we just wanted our son or daughter and all who passed by to smile and either say, “Wow, I am loved” or “Awesome, someone thinks very highly of that kid.” If you think this post is stupid, then we probably couldn’t be friends. If you’ve read this far, you understand. Let’s have lunch.

Thursday arrived and tears flowed as we all beamed.

I had been crying throughout the day but vanity aside, I had to get a picture of me by Aaron’s table.

I gazed and cried stopping by many of Aaron’s friend’s tables. I noted with appreciation that none of these tables felt ostentatious as if they were trying to steal attention from someone else.

The body of Christ enveloped the mood. With our individual 7 1/2 square feet carefully crafted, the seniors marked the passage of time. I paused with gratitude over the families represented and prayed for their children’s future.

Have you ever done something like for a loved one? What special things would hallmark your “table”? I’d so enjoy hearing about it. May you all have opportunity for such a celebration of life.

After graduation, Aaron spent a long time reading the messages. What a thankful moment for all of us.

Questions: How do you handle the desire to be perfect with the reality that you’re not? What do you do when you feel competitive with other people and struggle with inadequacy?