142: Rules to “Life: Mom Edition”

He arrived with ease 4 weeks early. He slept through the night at 6 weeks. He nursed until one year. He played nicely on the playground with his little friends. He shared. He napped after morning kindergarten. And he could write his name well on the same piece of paper on which he could draw a developmentally advanced sketch of himself.

My mind always swirled with visions of M’s future, and since his Lego structures were solid and amazing, I thought perhaps he’d be an architect. His love for animals prompted the possibility of veterinary medicine. But then again, his verbal skills were high…perhaps an attorney? the President of the United States?

(As you can see, I had the role of “his mother” completely figured out. I was also quite young and naïve.)


The first time we visited M at the military academy, I watched him bring the most brilliant shine to a brass belt buckle. And there’s a chance that at that moment, I was on the verge of better understanding the complicated directions to the game of “Life: Mom Edition.”

And here’s why…

After watching him buff the dullness from the face of that buckle, an old familiar thought popped into my head, “He’s so proud of the medals and brass he’s earned; perhaps he’ll enter the military when he’s older.”

Within days, I caught myself and began analyzing my silly curiosity…So, if you like to shine buckles, you will have a military career. And if you like to play with Legos, then you will someday design buildings. If you have the ability to pronounce difficult words when you are a toddler and you are persistent in your arguing, then you are headed to law school.

Since over-analyzing is a forte of mine, I continued to have this conversation with myself. I discovered that whenever I catch him filled with happiness, I want time to stand still. And If I could control the world, my children would live my perfect dream for them.

But then I realized that although my heart beats with his, and my happiness is directly related to his health and happiness…my life is not his life.


I’m starting to understand the directions. In no particular order, my job – until he is ready to safely steer on his own – is to: 1. teach, 2. support, 3. love, and 4. pray. (And even when he’s safely steering, I still get to do #3 and #4.)

I’m not letting go of the wheel completely until I am certain that he can navigate through the game of life safely. In the meantime, I know he is frustrated that I’m still teaching, guiding, and supporting, but the directions also say that he is still my responsibility. And he knows I’m a rule follower.


One thought on “142: Rules to “Life: Mom Edition”

  1. I just found your blog yesterday and read through the entire thing. My oldest of six is only 13 but we are entering new territory with him and have gleaned little bits here and there that will be helpful these next 5+ years. Mostly what I am figuring out is that my backbone needs to get stronger RIGHT NOW. Thank you for sharing your joy and pain with the world. You are touching lives in more ways than you can imagine. We’ll add you family to our daily prayers. God bless you!

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