December 27th, 2011


My son turns fifty today.  I am sitting in his recliner, sharing the day with him, thinking about the incredible blessing he has been to me over the years, and absolutely still is.  Fifty years and six months ago, I was unable to look down the road to envision how the total upheaval in my life would weave its way into such a wonderful story.

That was when a sixteen year old junior in high school visited her family doctor to be treated for a bladder infection, only to be informed that she was pregnant.  What?  I could hardly believe that report, and neither could my mother.  I was very naïve about things like sex and reproduction, although I had obviously experimented, once.  I really believed something like this could not happen if you were very careful.  Apparently I did not understand the concept of careful. 

That was the beginning of some very dark and painful days for me.  My parents were furious about my being pregnant, and they expressed their displeasure early and often.  I expect they were also experiencing some shame, being the owners of a small business in a small town where everyone would be whispering.  I was also experiencing shame, being required to quit school and miss my senior year and graduation.  In those days, you did not say, “I’m pregnant;” you said “I have to get married.”  So I got married – in a pink dress.  I might as well have been forced to wear a scarlet letter on my chest for the shame I felt over the matter.  I must admit, I was so consumed with simply surviving the whole ordeal that I did not think much about the incredibly awesome package I was carrying in my womb.

That is, not until I began to understand the meaning of what was called ‘going into labor.’  My dad had advanced me some money so I could buy my new husband an electric razor for Christmas, with the understanding that I would work off the debt.  So this particular morning, even though I had an intense back ache and all I wanted to do was curl up and cry, I headed to the bowling alley to help my dad with the cleaning.  I complained about having to drag that industrial vacuum cleaner around, my dad barked at me for being quick to take the money and slow to fulfill my end of the bargain, and I ran out the door crying.  Several hours later I called my mom because I had a terrible pain in my stomach.  She took me to the doctor and then to the hospital, and after several hour of extreme discomfort, I delivered my little bundle of joy. 

He was the sweetest, most gentle, sunny little boy – a delight to be around and a joy to have for my very own.  Who could have known that motherhood would be so rewarding, such a miraculous gift from God!  I still marvel that He entrusted this precious package into my care.  I will be forever grateful, and in looking back, I know that the painful beginning was a very small sacrifice for the reward I received in return.

Our early days were quite normal and quite good, adding three girls to the family.  My ‘favorite son’ remained a delightfully sunny child, easy to raise and easy to love.  But the days became more of a challenge as the family went through a divorce and the kids experienced life with a single mom, and later on, life with a single mom with a drinking problem.  Those were some pretty dark times and all of my kids suffered as a result of my many wrong choices.  My son did his best to work through challenges not of his own making, while he navigated through his teenage years.  I will be forever grateful that he took the lead in caring for his siblings while I was working and while I was off chasing some illusion that I never found.  Needless to say, I could tell some stories.

We all got through those times, each in our own way, and no doubt came out more seasoned, wiser, and definitely more able to follow the path God had set out for us. I would love to be able to go back and change many of the choices I made, but I would never want to change who each of us has become.  

God blessed my son with an amazing wife and two wonderful children.  Later his joy was increased when his children added very special spouses to the family, and then two perfect grandchildren.  Although his life has had many challenges along with the many rewards, I am guessing he would not want to change much of it.

Today my son is fifty years old.  He has seen a lot and done a lot, but I believe there are still a great many blessings awaiting him.  He and I have had our ups and downs, and I must admit that some of our downs were quite painful, but today our relationship is better than I would have ever asked for.  He could not be more respectful or more loving or more caring.  I could not ask for more than he gives me, other than perhaps a bigger bed in the guest room.  My son’s integrity is above reproach.  He is loving, honorable, trustworthy, extremely faithful, fun-loving, and honest; he is a son to be extremely proud of and a man to be admired.  I believe his second fifty years will be even greater than the first fifty.  I believe God has big plans for him, and I believe he will walk them out in amazing ways.

Lord, I thank you for changing my life fifty years and nine months ago.  Thank you for giving me a son; one I am extremely proud of, one I love and admire and honor on this special day.  I love you, Bob.  Happy Birthday.

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