I figured out pretty quick that you do it one day at a time. Sometimes one step, or even, on the really bad days, one breath, at a time. And one day your baby is a man. Just like that.
But last night, in the middle of the night, as I worried about this and that, I started thinking about my little man. And about all the breaths and steps and days that have gone by. I thought back to when it all started, and I thought about where he was then, and where he's been, and where he is now.
Five weeks early, and
just a few hours old.
He looks pretty scared, if you ask me!
but his smile lit up my heart.
Here he is just after his first birthday.
When he was almost three,
we had these photos taken.
When they came back,
I couldn't believe how gorgeous he was.
I looked at this photo, and I wondered
how any parent could possibly love a child more
than I loved mine.
Photos we had taken for
Daddy's birthday present.
How cool to have matching purple shirts with your Mom!
Now he's four and wants to do EVERYTHING
that Dad does.
At age almost six.
He's going to go to school soon.
I don't know if I can stand to be apart from him
all day long.
I cried and cried his first day of school.
At Mark and Anja's wedding,
my brothers entertained themselves
during the bride and groom's photo shoot
by tossing Paul.
He loved it.
No front teeth and proud of it!
We had moved from Florida,
so he was at a different school than Kindergarten.
And then we moved in the middle of the year,
so he finished the year at his third school in two years.
Kinda hard times for a little guy.
He got baptized, and I was so proud of him.
I worried that he didn't understand the covenants he was making.
My visiting teacher told me that if we waited to understand
all the covenants we make
before we make them,
we would never make any at all.
This was that last year that Paul was really happy in school.
After this, is was ALL downhill.
He's so cute!
And he was miserable at school,
It started to show at home.
School was a little better this year,
but the damage had been done,
and he never really recovered.
But what a great kid.
LOVED his teacher.
Had good friends,
starting to look like a teenager.
This picture makes me laugh.
It remindes me that
the day before he started Middle School,
he got his finger bitten by a cockatoo.
What a way to start Seventh Grade!
He's wearing his "Elite Hobos" shirt.
It's their Scout Troop Patrol.
He's in High School now.
He's stubborn, but I still managed
to make him get a haircut.
It was the last one for many years.
He's playing football,
Goes to school, but hates it.
Here comes the hair.
He's famous for the hair.
I have to admit,
He's a senior.
He's struggling BAD to be able
Among other things.
I pray a lot and I cry.
And he made it.
Under his mortar board,
he is now sporting a mohawk.
Here he is, one of hundreds of seniors,
receiving his diploma
and handing the principal and handful of
I didn't mention
his Eagle Scout
or his great friends
or his motorcycle (and the crash)
or Nuclear Hearse
or what a superb big brother he is.
And since then, he went to Alaska to work for several months, he saved (some of) his money, and now he's on a mission. How did we get here? When did this happen? It's out of my hands now, and I wonder if I did all I could do. Did we teach him what he needed to know? Did we prepare him well enough? And does he know that I love him even more than I did when he was that tiny, scared preemie?
Now he's working hard and serving the Lord and loving the people. He's doing great. I couldn't be prouder. And I couldn't miss him much more.
I love you, my boy.