June 23, 2010
Always in his heart
On Tuesday, I took my kids to see Toy Story 3. Great movie! As I was sitting next to my son, who just turned 15, it felt bittersweet. There's a scene at the end of the movie where Andy and his mom are standing in his empty room as Andy is getting ready to head off to college. His mom chokes up and throws her arms around him saying, "I just wish I could always be with you." And I was reminded that, in only three short years, Taege will be headed off to college as well. Andy says to his mom, "You will be, Mom." And I guess that's true.
Everything we have taught our children, said to our children, experienced with our children will follow them into their adult lives. And we can only hope the positive impressions will outweigh the stupid mistakes we've made as parents. (Yes, we've all made them.) This hope is what's getting me through these teenage years.
As I do every year, I spent an hour on Taege's birthday looking through old photo albums with him - the baby and toddler years, grade school, sports, the births of his sisters, all his "firsts." It's a wonderful way to keep those memories alive. My favorite photo is one of Taege at three years old holding his "Sunshine" puppy and a "Poo-Boo" and jelly sandwich. His taste buds have matured a little since then. Saturday, his birthday dinner of choice was sushi, with unagi (eel) being his favorite.
He's matured a lot in other ways, too. As I've mentioned before, he's learning to drive (and doing a lot better since running over my lamp post a couple months ago!). He's almost as tall as me now and is shaving. I tease him about his tiny mustache. We've been through the s-e-x talk many times now and, of course, he thinks he knows everything. He committed his life to Christ last year and is very involved with his youth group. He even went on his first mission trip last spring break and is now working at youth camp. He can be found hanging with his friends a lot and, most of the time, they pick him up in their cars. And he has begun moving into that "friend" relationship with me, as older kids do, at times forgetting that I'm still his mom (who makes the rules) and not one of his peers.
Blane just came upstairs with Taege's giant stuffed cat in her arms. "Look what brother gave me!" she shouted. Of course, his stuffed animals have been shoved into a corner of his room for a few years now. But still, another sign that he's leaving his childhood behind. If you've seen Toy Story 3, I'm sure you'll understand the significance of this moment. Like Andy, Taege is a little ambivalent about moving into the next phase of his life. But in the end, the possibilities are enticing. And yes, I'm excited for him because, like Andy's mother, I've realized that I'll always be in my son's heart.