Tuesday, October 21, 2014

When Your Baby Leaves You (On His Birthday) For the Mountains - Celebrating 12 Years With Andrew

The night before our childrens' birthdays, I lay awake in bed and try to remember every detail of the beautiful day of their birth.  Going back to the very moment they entered the world brings tears to my eyes. I cannot help myself. Time with our children is moving by at a pace that I cannot seem to slow down, and the sentimental part of me never wants to forget the most precious times with them.
Big brother, always taking care of someone!
Last weekend was our son, Andrew's, 12th birthday. But, for the first time in 12 years, I was not there to celebrate it with him, because he was on a big hunting/camping/fishing trip with his daddy in Colorado.  {I know.  Weep with me.}

Trying to celebrate a birthday in proper fashion during the week in our home is a bit like trying to sip a martini in the middle of a hurricane. And, you know we had to celebrate before he left, because I couldn't possibly leave 100% of the party procedures to a bunch of dudes trying to survive out in the wilderness.  A hot dog and a broken Oreo. That's what he would get.
True to his nature, Andrew was incredibly grateful for every {little} thing we did for him that day. When I asked him what he would like for me to make for his birthday supper, his response was, "It doesn't matter, mom, just keep it simple. I know you are up at night with Joseph and aren't sleeping much, so I just don't want you to work too hard."

You know at that very moment I would have given that boy anything he wanted.

After convincing him that I was more than happy to cook his dish of choice, he requested chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn and biscuits.  "Nothing green, Mom! The boys are gonna love it if I ask for that!"
He must have thanked me twenty times for supper and for the hunting themed lemon cake that took me a century to frost, because Mr. Fussy Pants was not in the mood to be put down. The post party K.P. duty was all about me scrubbing green and blue frosting off of Joey's toes and chiseling chunks off of the kitchen cabinets, but we made it happen, and that's what counts!

The morning of Andrew's actual birthday, I could not sleep. I really felt like there was such a great empty spot in my heart that needed to be filled up with his presence.  He is truly a dear soul, wise beyond his years, and I know that if you should ever have the opportunity to meet him, you will be wonderfully blessed by his goodness and friendship.
Andrew never asks for anything.  Trying to figure out what to give him for Christmas, or for his birthday, is always a challenge because he rarely makes requests. Thankfully, he happened to mention one day that he was saving up for a few accessories for his bike, so I knew just what to get for him.  Honestly, though, I could have wrapped up a paper clip and he would have been happy.
George pulled off his famous I'm riding my bike to the library, but actually I'm going to the quick shop to buy stuff. Dill pickle sunflower seeds??! He was probably shaking with excitement trying to wrap it up for Andrew.
Apparently he drug Henry with him on his last outing, because I don't know where those Mentos came from.  See that smile?? Andrew really is that happy. He teaches me to savor the little things.  A thankful heart is a happy heart indeed.

I wonder, sometimes, if Andrew realizes that we recognize and treasure all of his wonderful qualities. Of course we are proud of what he can do, he's an amazing athlete, scholar, and comedian, but it's who he is that shines through every one of his accomplishments that is truly special.

One very specific example of virtue that I always want to remember about Andrew is how he is how truly selfless he is.  I am deeply influenced by his lack of regard for himself.  He's the first to give up his seat so that someone else may sit, first to abandon his own goals and plans so that someone else might have their way, first to notice when I need help and to graciously offer assistance.  

The other boys in our family are drawn to his goodness, too.  Henry tells everyone that Andrew is his best buddy.  He was completely lost for the six days that Andrew was away camping.  Even Charlie sneaks out of his room at night only to be found snuggling up beside Andrew fast asleep.

Although it feels as though the days between now and when Andrew will leave the nest are falling off the calendar at lightening speed, Steve and I are terribly grateful for every moment we get to spend with this very special person.  We are blessed and changed by his life - and that is really the beauty and joy of celebrating his birthday!


  1. What a lovely family you have. I recently stumbled upon your blog and enjoy reading it. Your posts seem very sincere and entertaining. This one in particular brought back good and bad memories. I know you said that it isn't all "Mary poppinsville" in your house, but I find that hard to believe, the good seems to outweigh the bad. I hope you don't mind a 14 year old boy reading your posts😄

  2. Oh,and happy birthday to your son!

  3. Happy Birthday to Andrew! I hope he had a great camping trip with lots of adventure and little rain and few bugs.

    Your cake looks great! How could you not make it for a boy as sweet as Andrew. :)

  4. I have a 6 year old boy (my oldest) who really might grow up to be just like your boy - I hope and pray. What a gift of a child. Doesn't he break your heart with his goodness? Oh sons, they are a gift!!! :)

    1. Your words are perfect - yes, he DOES break my heart with his goodness!

  5. So very sweet that he just wanted you to keep things simple because he knows you aren't sleeping much. And that cake?! Doesn't look remotely simple - you are incredible!
    Andrew is the one who wrestles, right?

    1. Yes, Andrew is our wrestler. I can't believe it's already time to begin a new season!! It seems like just yesterday we were at the state tournament!

  6. I just wanted to say, I love the football schedule next to Madonna and child on the wall. Looks like our house:) Bless October birthday boys! I have two, myself.


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