In-between an acorn and a big oak tree…
He held my hand as we walked through the opened automatic doors. This wasn’t a fancy date, but we both knew the time was special. With four boys begging for my attention all summer, having an uninterrupted conversation was as likely as finishing a hot cup of coffee.
He knew I wasn’t buying him a new toy…just purchasing a coffee machine to replace the one that finally broke.
Yet we treasured taking our time through the aisles of Bed, Bath & Beyond. Laughing at seemingly useless kitchen utensils. Considering the purchase of 5 different colored cutting boards (fruit, cheese, chicken, meat…can’t remember what the 5th was for). Finding his favorite team’s emblem (Longhorns) on an oversized Tervis Tumbler.
As we meandered I began to realize we weren’t the only mother-son pairs present. The main difference between us and them…about 10 years of time.
Their cart full of plastic organizers and a full-length mirror, pushed by a lanky boy-man. His mom led the way, purse slung over her arm, list in hand, eyes darting back and forth determining which items to purchase. I’m sure she was processing how to transform a concrete cave full of 1970s wooden bunks and desks into a “home” for her boy?
I imagine her mind full of memories. How could the baby she just brought home for the first time already be heading out of the home for the first time? Remembering the carefully planned out nursery, the one she spent hours choosing the perfect crib bumper and matching drapes. Now 18 years later she is preparing a room again, choosing extra tall sheets with a pattern that won’t embarrass him…sheets that may or may not be washed once in the next 3 months to a year.
As I watched them pass…a version of us in 10 years…I grasped Quade’s hand a little tighter. Thankful that it’s not quite time yet. That he only begins 2nd grade this week and he only turns 8 (today) not 18.
My mind fills with memories as I can’t believe 8 years have passed since I was the new mama standing out front of this same house. Bruce’s parent’s car blocked half the street as they hurried to snap a few photos of the big “coming home” moment. Given all the time I’d spent preparing for his arrival, I made a beeline to Quade’s new nursery, anxious for him to finally reside in his special place. So I laid our precious 9 1/2 pound baby in that black baby crib with regal spires and custom made bedding. As big as he was, he looked merely a speck in that space.
It’s when I reminisce about those early baby days followed by the cute toddler antics that I forgive the foolish seven year old boy annoyances.
Without fail, every time I go back and look at old photo albums of those years with two young babies at home, I give my boys a little more grace in the present. Or if I just watch an old video and listen to their tiny little voices, you can’t help but squeeze your kiddos a little tighter. Because how have they grown so much already? How quickly will the next 8 years go (eek…16 years old!)?
Looking ahead at big boys headed off to college and then thinking back to big round baby faces, I realize Quade’s in the in-between. He’s in the becoming. The not yet arrived–the in-process person stage (like all of us, really).
Yesterday I read this sweet book we have by Max Lucado called, The Oak Inside the Acorn.
It begins with a little acorn commenting to the oak tree he is hanging from, “The world looks so big. I’m just glad to be right here with you.” And his ‘mother’ tree responds, “I’m glad, too, my little acorn. It’s good for you to be here with me now. But when your time comes to go into the world, you’ll be fine…
…Within you is a great oak. Just be the tree God made you to be.”
From the moment I first held Quade, 8 years ago on August 22nd, God had put everything inside him to be the man God made him to be. My job is to provide a nurturing place for him to grow roots, shine the love of the Son on him to grow confident in Christ, and allow life’s rain fall to learn how to weather the storm.
I don’t know if you are just bringing a sweet baby home, waiting to send one off to preschool or college or maybe you’re hosting grandkids for the weekend, May we all see the young children in our lives the way God sees them…in-process persons. In-between an acorn and a big oak tree.
My Prayer for you, Quade, on your 8 year old birthday,