Thursday, April 3, 2014

Dating Four Men at A Time

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These three little men are three of the incredible loves of my life.

I never thought I would see the day when I would have four men pursuing me. Four men dating me and four men loving me unconditionally, but I am living the dream.

It all started with this amazing man and then after four amazing girls, God added in three more little men.

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These three boys.

I can't imagine life without them.

When I remember back to when I thought I didn't want to mother little boys it's like an arrow in my heart. I was clueless....and sketched out my future plans as a result of drawing on my experiences as an only girl. Don't get me wrong....I love my brothers, but since there were three of them and one of me, my life was made up of many moments of overwhelming activity that I felt no power over and very small in the midst of. It meant that I was lonely often....I mean after all, they weren't that wild about welcoming me as a player in their tackle football games, crazy bike clubs, wrestling matches and all the other wild and crazy things they came up with. I don't know if it was all the times I freaked out and ran off crying to mom that did it, but I wasn't very popular with them much of the time. I wasn't exactly a full on tomboy. I was definitely a girl in every sense of the word, and very sensitive. At any rate, I felt gypped that I didn't get a sister to grow up with.

I wrote here about my own crazy plan for my life back when I rocked my rose colored glasses and visualized the so called perfect life for myself. I'm so grateful my plans weren't realized and that a much bigger, much better, much more rewarding plan was carried out. God, standing in past, present and future, knows what is best and I stand amazed at what He has already done. I'm learning to trust that whatever the future holds will be much different in a better way than anything I could dream up.

I literally shudder when I think of all I would have missed out on....if things had gone according to my plan. I was blissfully happy as a mom to four girls and I could have never imagined in all my wildest dreams, the amazing dynamics of  the mother/son relationship. All the marriage proposals, sweet kisses, flower bouquets, all the times they cup my cheeks in their hands and tell me they love me, all the dates I have been asked out on....all the little gifts of art they have created just for me, back rubs, foot massages and tall tails they tell, all the wrestling and that distinct "boy" smell when they come inside after an afternoon spent climbing trees, building forts, catching snakes and bugs, playing with their dogs, playing baseball, jumping on the trampoline and riding bikes.

You know the old adage: "A son is a son until he takes a wife, but a daughter is a daughter the rest of her life?" Well, I had bought into that one, hook, line and sinker. It really isn't true though. In some circumstances it is, but not always. A son should love his wife's family and honor them, but it doesn't mean they have to stop loving their original family and cut all ties.....and there are many families that have grown sons who still cherish and honor them. I  know that now. I also know that each child God has brought into our family, is a part of His plan and while he gives us the honor and responsibility of raising them, ultimately it's our job as parents to prepare them for life outside our home. We have to let them go so they can fly away to do the calling God has planned for them and prepared before the foundation of the earth. It's not about me. It's not about them fulfilling me. The "rosy" future I had envisioned in my younger days really was all about me. God's plans are always better. Not always easy, but definitely better.

I thought I wanted only girls. I thought boys were too rough and wild. I thought boys would just grow up, move out and forget about their parents and sisters. Since I didn't have a sister, I always wondered what it would have been like if I had. I get to see the sister relationship play out through my girls. It's a beautiful thing....and the relationship I have with my girls is priceless......something I wouldn't trade for the world, but God, for whatever reason, decided to widen the horizons of my heart and open it up to a whole new world of little boys.

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Monday morning, the birds were chirping and the sun was shining, as I wiped the sleep from my eyes and savored my first sip of coffee. I was wrapped up in a blanket, enjoying the beautiful, sunny skies out the living room window and eating a bowl of g.f. baked oatmeal, when my seven year old little man approached me. He does this thing that nobody else does. When he gets close to me, he can't control the urge to plant his face in my clothing and smell it. I don't know why....or what draws him to do that, but it is something that is unique to him. So there he was, his nose deep in the folds of my pajama sleeve with his arms around my neck. We sat snuggling around my bowl of oatmeal and my coffee cup and after a few minutes, he popped his head up and with his blue eyes twinkling, he said "hey Mommy, would you like to go for a hike in the woods with me? There are dandelions out there now....LOTS of dandelions" and from his pocket he produced a smashed bouquet of my favorite flowers.

Smashed bouquets are some of the most beautiful bouquets. They communicate love. They tell the story of a little boy, who thinks of his mom, while he is living in the moment. They tell the story of little hands that pluck them out of the ground and then get distracted by the next moment of wonder that his growing legs carried him off to investigate. They tell the story of a gift....from a tender heart and they sit in a prominent place, in my kitchen window where I can enjoy them most often as I wash dishes and enjoy the view of the mountains and my kids hanging from trees and racing through woods on glorious spring and summer days. I love dandelions because they are the first flower each of my seven children have gifted me with. They speak love to me. They speak simplicity. They speak spring and summer childhood memories and they are yellow. The color alone is bright, full of light...cheerful with the capacity to lift my mood during the darkest of moments.

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I pulled on a pair of jeans and an old sweatshirt, shoved my feet into my favorite tennis shoes and rinsed out my oatmeal bowl while slurping down one last sip of coffee. My "date" was already dressed and waiting for me and we joined hands as we headed outside to see "tons of dandelions" and take a little hike in the woods. He immediately wanted to pluck a bouquet for me, but I asked him to let me photograph him with all that beautiful yellow first. He quickly complied and then picked the promised bouquet which he carried for me as we held hands and headed towards the woods. He was carefully pulling back the sticky bushes so I could pass through without getting poked and I wondered, "who taught him to be so considerate?"  He carefully guided me down a different trail than the one I am familiar with, holding my hand and helping me over all the obstacles that presented themselves, which were many. I don't think it was really a trail, actually....it was more like we were forging one for the first time and it was fun!

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We turned a corner and there was this beautiful, lush green area softly covered in moss with ferns surrounding it and a dead tree clothed in green, soft carpet.

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He found some bleeding hearts and added them to the yellow bouquet and while we were busy looking around for more flowers, we heard a soft rustle behind us and chuckled softly as we greeted our little Chloe who came running into our arms.

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His older brothers soon joined us and we had a great time exploring trails, checking out two of the forts they have made and having foot races through the woods. We decided to head down the gravel road for a little walk. The two younger boys decided they wanted to go through the woods by way of the "meadow," but their twelve year old brother said that wouldn't be a good idea because "then Mom will be left all alone' and I thought once again, "who taught him to be so considerate?

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The "meadow" isn't really a meadow, but it is a clearing on the other side of the woods. Power lines run through it and blackberry bushes abound. I thanked my oldest son for his thoughtfulness but told him I would be okay if he wanted to join his brothers. When we met up a few minutes later we all raced to the end of the driveway. Exhilarated, and laughing, we raced back home, where we all sat and drank some fresh, hot coffee together as we chatted. A perfect date.

Our nine year old son loves to draw and he really is talented. He sold several pieces of art, his Leapster and did odd jobs for his Dad like yard clean up, scooping and prepping the yard for mowing. He rubbed my feet for ten cents a minute and after weeks of doing odd jobs, he finally had $20.00. He has been saving his money because he asked his Dad if he could take me out on a lunch date. Melt. My. Heart. So, last Saturday was the day and he invited his Dad to go along. We had a great time and Dad surprised him by kicking in some of his own money toward the bill. He also helped Noah figure out the tip.

These boys are growing up right before my eyes. It amazes me.

On Tuesdays I take our oldest son to his piano lessons and then generally we knock out the grocery shopping together. The last two times we went, I noticed he insisted on opening doors for me, pushing the grocery cart, unloading it onto the conveyer belt and once again into the car.

Cherished.

That's the word that comes to mind when I think about the sweet ways these boys show honor and care for their momma. I haven't been the perfect mother. I raise my voice. I show frustration over sinful actions. I lecture when I should listen more. I use too many words. I make mistake after mistake and they keep on forgiving and loving me anyway.

I find each day with these boys, to be full of wonder. I wonder what they will do next. I wonder what future career they will "try on" next. I wonder what one will ultimately be the perfect fit for each boy. I wonder what the teen years will hold, but most of all, I am learning to notice and take in fully, the wonder of each precious moment because the moments on the clock tick by rapidly and I really don't want to miss any of them....good or bad. Each one including the bad, is a gift that changes and molds us and prepares us for the future.

On that note, I have a date to get ready for.

If you don't have any little men in your home, find one or two and get to know them. They are amazing!

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