Saturday, April 17, 2010


Nineteen and a half years ago, I became a mother for the first time. When Paul was born, I was scared. I was scared of hurting him, of not knowing how to take care of him, and of being the kind of mommy that could raise a baby to be a man. How on EARTH do you do that?

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!

He was a cranky baby,
but his smile lit up my heart.
Still does.

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.

Kindergarten pictures.
No front teeth and proud of it!

First Grade.
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.

Second Grade.
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.

Third Grade.
This was that last year that Paul was really happy in school.
After this, is was ALL downhill.

Fourth Grade.
He's so cute!
And he was miserable at school,
every day.
It started to show at home.

Fifth Grade.
School was a little better this year,
but the damage had been done,
and he never really recovered.
But what a great kid.

Sixth grade.
LOVED his teacher.
Had good friends,
starting to look like a teenager.

Seventh Grade.
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!

Eighth Grade.
He's wearing his "Elite Hobos" shirt.
It's their Scout Troop Patrol.

Ninth Grade.
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.

Tenth Grade.
He's playing football,
Goes to school, but hates it.

Eleventh Grade.
Here comes the hair.
He's famous for the hair.
I have to admit,
it's gorgeous.

Twelfth Grade.
He's a senior.
He's struggling BAD to be able
to graduate.
Among other things.
I pray a lot and I cry.
A lot.

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
Senior prank.

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.


Lee and Melody said...

That was so sweet. And he is a good boy, and we love him too. Now I will go wipe my tears away as I think about how much I love you and how terrified/thrilled I am to be at the beginning of that same journey.

Love x a million!

Susan said...

I love the evolution of the hair. :)

Nicole said...

this is so sweet..i loved reading it. you raised such a wonderful guy :]

Kazzy said...

I am bawling. I can feel the love you have for your boy. And to us moms, these sons will always be our "boys", no matter how old they are.

Kim said...

What a wonderful, sweet post, Marianne! You are definitely a wonderful mother. And that three year old picture is pretty much the cutest thing ever.

McKell + Garrett said...

How fun was that to see Paul grow up in 30 seconds. haha you obviously did something right raising him.

Janice Pyper said...

I'm wiping tears too, Sissy! That was a real treat from the heart. You have given that boy everything you could, and I think you did just right! I love you, and I love Pauly!

heath said...

Thought I'd break the trend of spam comments here.

Great post. Great mom. Great son. Missions are so hard, but so worth it. Hope he remembers after he gets home how much he missed you guys!

Nicole said...

just have to say again..i love reading this. Marianne you are so amazing.. :)