and so it goes

I feel weird today. My oldest son is twenty today and it's the first time one of my children is having a birthday and I can't give him a hug or tell him how much he means to me... face to face anyway. I wrote him a nice email and used big shiny letters across the top line that screamed Happy Birthday, son! He is in Kenya serving a mission for our church. Ten months out now. But I don't find myself marking down the days. Life is good for him, for us here at home, and we press on.

Back in the day I used to set the egg timer "so that mommy can get a few things done while you take a short break from talking, and look at books instead." But it would be cool to talk to him today. I remember the two of us hanging out in our little L.A. apartment while my husband was in graduate school. P and I became close because he was my first and he allowed me my mistakes as I was learning this whole motherhood thing. He was affectionate (still is) and even would run up to me in jr. high when I was there for PTA business and give me a bear hug. It would be cool to hug him today. "Mommy, can I marry you when I grow up?"

I like the way he always puts his chin on top of my head when he stands behind me. He is tall in more than just the physical way. He is growing on the inside so much that in the next 14 months he may burst. He has taught me things, because he is smarter than me on many levels.

I love him and he loves me back. He is showing my picture around as he talks to people about making changes in their lives. He is proud of me and I reciprocate, gladly. I like him as a person, not because I have to, but because of the adult he is becoming. He is my hope for future happiness as I watch him become a man.


LisAway | October 13, 2008 at 11:03 AM

Oh! Hard to be separated on a birthday!

I think that he "even would run up to me in jr. high when I was there for PTA business and give me a bear hug" says everything we need to know about him. WOW!!!

I also love that while you would love to have him near for his birthday, you are very matter-of-fact about his absence in general. If everyone is happy, there's no need to mourn, right? And you know he'll be home before you know it. (I saw my parents only once or twice a year from the time I was 17, so I kind of get that)

Heather of the EO | October 13, 2008 at 1:38 PM

I got all choked up while reading this. It is so sweet and heartfelt and true on so many levels. I'm sorry you're missing him.

I love that you look back on when he was little and want those times back and yet still just love who he is now and who he's becoming.

Sometimes I just can't wait to see who my boys will become. But I think I'll hold tight to having them right here for now.

Happy Birthday to your boy!

Once again, I cannot believe you could possibly have a twenty year old. Seriously, you look so young. I say that too much, but I just can't get over it! :)

Kazzy | October 13, 2008 at 3:19 PM

Don't trust every picture you see. Up close and personal I have plenty of blemishes that prove my age! You are sweet though :)

Heidi | October 13, 2008 at 5:24 PM

I like this new profile picture of you! And this post is so sweet. How neat that he shows your picture around! Having had no sons leave me yet, it is hard to imagine how I might feel on his birthday--I hope I am as balanced as you when the time comes.

Little GrumpyAngel | October 13, 2008 at 9:41 PM

So hard to be away from a love one on a birthday. But I'm sure it helps that he is where he wants to be doing his Father's errand, and you know it and you are proud of that even though you miss him. Your son sounds like a wonderful young man. I hope my son will someday be proud of me just like your son is of you. What a resounding validation of the kind of mother you've been to him.

Kazzy | October 13, 2008 at 11:02 PM

When he shows my photo it is only to show that I too am a convert to the church. I don't think he just shows for the heck of it! :)

Graciesmom | October 13, 2008 at 11:42 PM

Happy Birthday Elder Burton! It's hard to be separated on a birthday.

Brillig | October 15, 2008 at 5:03 PM

Wow. A mission to Kenya? That's incredible! I spent a week in Kenya many years ago. One of the best weeks of my life. Still, i can't even begin to fathom serving a mission there. But wow, how happy he looks! Of course he's happy. Can you think of a more amazing way to spend a birthday? How many young men out there are spending their twentieth birthdays in such an honorable way. Good for him. And good for you. :-D

Midge | October 15, 2008 at 6:03 PM

Happy Birthday Elder Burton!