I read a beautiful post yesterday from Ann Voskamp and she talked about family being a verb. Not a noun. I loved it and it made me think about life. Not about what "family" is but what it does... and what it is doing. It's life together. The baggage, mess-ups, victories, triumphs... it's the compilation of the everyday. Often mundane. Family is not a Facebook highlight reel. It's the tough, the beautiful, the messy, the real. It's wrapped in love. For us that love looks like a bent-up, sorta squished, not sparkly, half-ripped, but super thick roll of wrapping paper. That nondescript one pushed waaaaay to the back that other have picked around. And our family is tied with a bow of faith. A thick, fraying, porous, wire-edged bow. It's not beautiful and would get any Christmas gift-wrapper fired from their high-end department store... But it's the one at the 3 year old birthday party that I'm drawn to. Probably because it makes me smile and is more representative of our life than I'd love to admit.
But back to Deacon.
All this thinking last night of our family that started with the boy that entered this world and made me a mom. Of the life and family we have created, with God's sustaining grace. I thought of his birth story, the excitement I felt, the fear I was gripped with as my heart was suddenly outside my body. The realization that I couldn't keep him in a bubble and protect him the way I once thought possible and that I would do anything in an instant for him. That I would give up my life in a heartbeat for him to just be safe. I thought of potty training, preschool, learning to ride a bike, and all the discipline. I mean, lots of discipline. I remembered my tears and his as we both messed up terribly. I thought of the pride in countless situations and the repentance and forgiveness that also came in time. I thought of my own faith, and his that seemed to come rather easily. His sensitivity to the Holy Spirit as we experienced grief and loss together. I've cried with him and for him. I've cried over him and his choices- both in the deep sorrow and unbridled joy.
I sit here looking around our house that isn't much different than the day we brought him home. A bright, colorful paper sign with cut-out letters says Happy Birthday and I glance around to remember so many things that have taken place in this living room alone. Friends, family, laughter, games, songs, sleepovers, movie nights, dance parties... And the other side of the coin. Pouting, complaining, yelling, fights, tears, saddness... All these memories this morning mingle together to create the last decade of "family" that started with the biggest boy of mine.
That 7lb. 5oz, dark-haired, blue-eyed, bright orange jaundiced boy of mine.
I couldn't love him more. And I couldn't be more thankful for all that God has put in his heart. We have a long way to go, and yet, double this time and our oldest boy will be gone.
I'm so grateful for the son he is and the man he is becoming. Big things ahead and I'm blessed to have started the hardest, most exhausting, pride-sucking, rewarding, glorious, beautiful, triumphant job as a mother with this one! Seriously y'all... no manual for this. Living life and asking each day for the promised grace.
Deacon Charles Stanfield. I love you and am so proud to be your mama!
"And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man." Luke 2:52