I can remember when our first born was just a baby, figuring up in my head exactly what year he would graduate high school. While he sat drooling on my lap, I counted up the years - just for fun. What a long way off 2013 seemed. It even sounded funny. All of my life I had said "19-something", so just the sound of "2013" was a bit unusual. Would we say two thousand thirteen?, or would we say twenty thirteen? No matter, it was a long way off...so I thought.
Here we are now, 2013. Wow, that took no-time. That chubby baby boy once seated on my lap is now a very lean young man. I'm spouting out every cliche I've ever heard - "Where did the time go?", "My, they do grow up fast!" "They sure don't stay little very long".
I was thinking back, picturing myself - 24 years old holding my little dream come true. I wondered what I would say to that self if I could go back in time and talk to her. I decided to write her a letter. I've chosen to let you read it.
Dear Young Self,
That little baby sitting on your lap is going to grow up very, very fast. I know, I know, you've been told already but I am going to tell you again. HE IS GOING TO GROW UP VERY FAST!
Be sure to take pleasure in the everyday moments with him. Don't be in a hurry...ever! Enjoy rocking him to sleep and giving him baths, read an extra bedtime story, and play with him as much as you possibly can. Don't worry so much about the housework. When he asks you to throw the ball with him, do it!
When you have to discipline him, please don't be angry. If you are mad, walk away and come back to him later. He's a little sinner just like you are. He needs your gentle correction. Anger won't help him one bit.
Don't concern yourself with what others think. Teach him to read and write, to add and subtract, but most importantly teach him Christian character. Always remember - character before curriculum. Your future daughter in law probably won't thank you for teaching him Trig or Calculus, but she will likely thank you for teaching him Christian character. He is going to learn everything he needs to and a whole lot more. He's learning every single minute, soaking up like a sponge. Decide right now to ignore the nay sayers. You can do this!
Pray for this boy every morning and every night. Surround yourself with people who are positive and encouraging and who are crazy about your little man. Don't be afraid to let people go if necessary. You don't have time to waste trying to convince others to act and do as they should.
You are his first love. Cherish the flowers he picks for you, even when they're weeds. Save his artwork and all the little notes he writes to you. You are going to want to look at them again one day. Build him up in his attempts. A boy's relationship to his mother will make him or break him as a man. If you believe he can do anything, he will believe he can do anything.
Many people will seek to persuade you to dread his teenage years. There is nothing to fear. Those years will be wonderful if you have his heart. Teen rebellion is not the norm, don't believe the one who tells you it is. I've got good news - if you love him the right way now, you are going to enjoy him at each and every stage.
The next 18 years are going to be a wild ride. Hold on tight. Your heart will be walking around outside your body and your life will be moving at record speed. Aim for a life with no regrets. When that baby boy becomes a man you will want to know you did your very best. Shelter him, educate him, and train him with excellence. In a few short years your job will be finished and you will reap what you sow.
Oh, and one more thing. Get every kiss out of those chubby cheeks you possibly can. It may be hard to believe but very soon his face will be thin and smooches may be frowned upon.
Your Older Self