Summer Birthdays: 12 and 8

This little guy turned twelve at the end of June. 12. Twelve. So almost 13. Aaaaaaah! King is fully embracing his twelveness, punctuated with plenty of sarcastic "SO?"s and "WHATEVER!"s. He is also in that stage of discovering his own "coolness". He has his own ideas about what is "so awesome" and "so hilarious" and sometimes I get it, but often I don't. But I'm the mom, I'm not supposed to get it. There is a lot more time spent up in his room, alone (as much as you can be alone sharing a room with your little brother), doing his own thing. I find this both endearing and terrifying at the same time.

This little guy turned eight last week. Of course, being eight and all, Michael now knows everything. This makes life with him very interesting, as well as informative. He is growing up so fast, but still has plenty of little boy left in him. Some of that we could do without, like the whining. When will the whining end? Probably when I stop giving in to him to shut him up. (Busted!)

My babies are getting so old! It scares me. Not that I'm afraid of what they are going to do, or the trouble they might get in to, because they're good kids. But when I think about them growing up (and about King being almost grown up), I get this panicked feeling. Did I do everything I was supposed to do? Did I say everything I needed to say? Because soon, if not already, they're gonna stop caring what I do and say. My window of influence is closing and I'm afraid I haven't shoved everything through before it comes slamming shut on my fingers.

Of course, this is not the way it works. Raising kids is a process and a life. It's not like feeding data into a computer. Is anyone's childhood ever perfect? I think back on mine, and truly believe that the challenges I faced were as much a part of building my character as the intentional "good" parenting of my mom and dad. Challenges make us stronger and working through them helps us grow.

Besides, a panicked mother is not a good mother. It is not helpful to sit and think about the mistakes I may have made. I must go forward and do the very best I can today and then get up and do it again tomorrow. I thank God that I can start each day with prayer and grace; hope and courage. My life is not defined by my mistakes. I don't need to face the monumental responsibility of raising boys to be men on my own. All is not lost if I didn't do everything right or say everything right.

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,

Deuteronomy 7:9 (ESV)

Not Magnolia


I brought Curtis flowers for his birthday. He's not the kind of guy you'd think would like flowers. I mean, look at him.

"Not that into flowers."

This guy wants guns and ammo and scotch, not flowers.

But we have a thing about magnolias. He would like to have a magnolia tree in our yard. I would not. He has fond memories of his mother picking magnolia blossoms, putting them in a bowl of water and letting the smell fill the room. Being from the North, I have no such memories (unless you're talking lilacs… oh, I miss lilacs). All I know about magnolias is that they come from huge trees (like take over your whole yard huge) and they drop large leathery leaves all year long (what is known as a "dirty" tree).

For his birthday, though, I decided to pick him some magnolias. Mike helped.

We put them in a bowl of water, just like old times. I even put one on his bedside table, so he'd awaken to the smell of sweet memories.

First of all, he didn't even notice the huge bloom and bowl by his bed when he woke up. I had to point it out.

"Oh. A magnolia." [sniff] "Thanks."

His enthusiasm was underwhelming, but he just woke up, so I'd give him a break.

Not much later, I asked, "So how did you like your magnolias?"


Still underwhelming, so I persisted, fishing for enthusiasm... something... "Smell like you remember?"

"Actually, no."


"They don't smell the same. Maybe they aren't ripe enough."

"Ripe enough? We aren't talking about fruit here. These are flowers. They open; they smell; they die. They are about as "ripe" as they are gonna get."

"I'm thinking maybe it wasn't magnolias that my mother used to get, after all."

Actually, as it turns out his mother used to pick gardenias, not magnolias. Happy birthday, anyway.