Friday, August 10, 2012

My life isn't a battle

for politicians to wage- and no one else's should be either.

I'm not a statistic.  I'm not a stereotype.  I'm just a person.  I don't want to get all deep on you, but recent events have made me think more and more about this habit we have of judging books by their cover.  

Anyway... this blog isn't really about any of that.  It's about a teenage girl who got pregnant when she was 18, and thought she'd never be anything more than a statistic in a world where people passed judgment on unwed moms, and where strangers in church would ask if she was a Christian because she wasn't wearing a wedding ring.  It's about being brave when the world thinks you are wrong, and growing up while you are also responsible for someone else who is growing up.  It's about making mistakes left and right, but somehow... somewhere...  doing something right... because above all else, it's about the perfect, perfect boy that was born to that teenager and about how she could never look at him without seeing God's hand, even though she didn't deserve him... or Him.

I used to wonder how in the world I was chosen to be Will's mom, (and then Parker's, and sometimes Jace's haha).  My world was so full of mistakes and yet somehow, I was given the most precious blessings I've ever known.  It's humbling.  It's also enlightening- for me anyway.  Even though I was a sinner, even though the Bible clearly says not to fornicate, I was chosen.  CHOSEN.  That word is huge in every way.  

I just stumbled upon this beginning of a blog tonight.  I originally started it a while back.  I don't know why, or where I was going with it then, but whatever the inspiration behind it was then, I'm inspired all over again now. 

As you know (all 12 of you, my followers haha), I have three kids.  Three glorious, hilarious, sarcasticious (what?  I felt compelled to keep with the -ious suffix...) loves of my life.  They make me laugh, cry, beat my head against the wall, and generally pray for (depending on the occasion,) patience, peace and gratitude.  This blog is about my firstborn though.  He's going to be 18 this month.  The same age that I was when I found out I was expecting him, and more than likely the sole reason for every good thing that has ever happened in my life since he came into it.  I was lost for so long- and I won't pretend like I was magically found when I became Will's mom, because honestly that didn't happen for a while, but all of my life for the last 18 years has been measured by whether I was just that girl I used to be, or Will's mom.  The honor has been all mine.

Will has been spending this summer in Fort Leonard Wood, MO, at basic training- learning how to be a soldier first and foremost, but also learning how to be a man.  If your kids are still small, you can't imagine what it's like to see them as an **almost** adult.  When they are born, and someone places them into your arms, your head is filled with what ifs about their future, but ultimately, that life isn't your's to decide.  It's theirs.  A few years ago, when Jace was brand new, I stood at a funeral for a fallen soldier, and I prayed that none of my children would ever serve our country in this way.  At that time, I probably believed that I would do whatever it took to change their minds if they even considered such a route.  Life is full of curve balls though.

I truly believe that being a good parent means that you teach your children what they need to know about life, and then you trust them to make the right decisions.  This belief has caused me a huge amount of heartache, because it's meant that I've had to say goodbye to Will too many times in the last 6.5 years, because he didn't want to be part of this army brat way of life.  It's also brought me peace though, because all I really want in this life is for my kids to have the life they want to live.  I can't lie though, knowing that Will wanted to stay close to home (Kentucky), made it come as something of a shock to me when he started begging us to sign the paper work to let him join the military.  I'm never truly whole without him here.  Now that he wanted to make this move, even though it was with the National Guard, and not Active Duty, meant two things:  1.  My prayer that none of my children would ever join the military wasn't going to come true, and 2.  Now my time with Will would be even more complicated- scheduled around the 'needs of the Army' in every area of my life.  I was a little hurt too.  Why did he want to be a part of this world now, when he didn't want to be part of it living and traveling with me?  Sometimes all you need is to wake up.  Will is going to be 18.  Then 19. Then 20.  Then 30.  and on and on and on.  The time had come to practice what I preached.  His life has never been about me, and truth be told, I wouldn't have it any other way.  As a parent, your first instinct is to protect, protect, protect.  Noble desire for sure, but also a noose in so many ways.  Let up to me, I would just weigh him down.  On his own, he can soar.

So I said ok.  I signed the paperwork allowing my 17 year old to enlist with the Army National Guard.  (It didn't happen quite so abruptly, but I will spare you the 47 phone calls between his father and I, and the 50 conversations I had with Thomas, and the no doubt, 60 convos between Craig and Lorri, and the million convos between any and every combination of us and Will.)  A million times I've signed my name in my lifetime.  Never has my signature held so much weight.  For 18 years, I have tried to do everything in my power to ensure that Will is true to himself.  So far, that's netted me an amazing kid who I can't even believe I'm blessed enough to know, let alone to have given birth to.  He's smart, hilarious, athletic, and good.  Really good.  He's not perfect, but he's mine, and I believe in him.  I have to have trust and faith in him from here on out.  A watched pot never boils, and nothing can truly thrive if it's not given the space to do so.  All of my love, hope, and pride means nothing if I don't shower my children with it.  It's in God's hands now.  He took a leap of faith in me not once, not twice, but three times.  Now I have to have the faith in Him to believe that Will's military career will begin and end and he will have the rest of his life ahead of him for whatever next journey he chooses.  Whatever it is, I will be on the sidelines cheering him on, no matter how near or far we are.