It’s awfully hard to believe, but John is celebrating his seventeenth birthday today. Where did the years go? I am so proud of the young man he has become, and for the supreme blessing of being his mom. I vividly remember the moment I first laid eyes on him. And now, I often glimpse him walking into a room and he takes my breath away.
While John’s story is his to tell, every now and then I take the liberty of bragging about him. He’s driven, hard-working, kind, a leader, easy to befriend and has a pretty fantastic sense of humor. He is thriving in his junior year of high school. He has a respectable course load and should bring home a perfect report card again this semester! He works hard for it every single day. On the sports front, he played varsity lacrosse in the spring and decided to play on a local club team in the off season rather than the elite team again. He even volunteer coached his brother’s youth team this fall! He remains active in church and has swapped Life Teen for Young Life. He has an absolutely incredible group of friends. He went out on his own this summer and landed a job at Honey Baked Ham. He works two to three days a week when school is in session and more over breaks. Oh, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t note the hours and hours he logs on video games. That has not changed.
He sounds like the model child, but remember I am his mother and this is his birthday. :-) Parenting a teenager is frustrating, inspiring, maddening, joyful, challenging, easy, rewarding and so on and so forth. It is surreal to reach the point in parenting a child where you vividly remember being that age.
As we look towards tomorrow and the years to come, I pray that John remains grounded in God’s love, and that he knows that his family loves him unconditionally. I pray that he always sees his self worth, and that he can walk upright in integrity and good conscience with his decisions and choices. I pray that he is courteous and chivalrous, because I know those things aren’t dead. I pray that he is warm, true, trustworthy and respectful in his relationships, and that those in his circle are the same. I pray that he is hard working, yet generous with his time and resources, and that he enters his workplace and school each day with a good attitude, humbleness and appreciation for the opportunity to be there. I pray that he can be uninhibited in his happiness, know true joy, and that he always sees the glass as half full. I pray that he understands he isn’t invincible and that he knows just how precious his life truly is. And, I pray that he knows we are fighting for him, not against him, with every breath in every moment of every single day. I pray for John’s future wife and that he will enrich her life, treasure her, respect her, protect her, provide for her and trust her.
I’ve said many, many times that John saved me from myself when I lost his brother Matthew. I hope he knows that Whit is the greatest gift I’ve ever been able to give him. I know from my own Sister that a sibling’s love can stand the test of time, challenge, heartbreak, loss, sickness, confusion and despair. Sure, they fight and sometimes they just plain ignore each other. But every now and again, I find them together, as thick of thieves, and it is in those moments that I fall to my knees in thankfulness.
We took John and his crew out for Japanese earlier in the week, a fun celebration full of laughs and literal mounds of fried rice.
This morning brought an early alarm at 6:30 AM. We celebrated his birthday over Monkey Bread – one of his favorites. His gift was a backup camera for his Jeep and….
… the main event – an overnight trip to Athens for the Georgia Tech v Georgia game with Honey, his two besties and one of their dads! I’ll be honest, it hurt my heart a little when he asked to spend his day away from home. Raising him to fly the nest is the ultimate achievement, and having the opportunity to grow up is a gift. Also, can we take a moment to weep a bit at how he may never be interested in Georgia Tech again after spending a night in Athens… note he didn’t even wear a GT shirt :-)
Godspeed, son. You are loved beyond measure.
DIXIE DELIGHTS DELIVERED