A Quarter of a Century

Cannon Powershot 372

25 years ago, I became a Mom. For me, it’s a blink in time. For you, it’s your whole life. Your one simple act of being born turned me into the person I always wanted to be, a mom. I don’t want this letter to be about me, however, I can’t write about you without including me. Afterall, it’s my story of you and what the last 25 years have meant to me.

The year I turned 22 (October 12th, 1988) was one of the saddest birthday’s I’ve ever experienced. Just 2 days earlier, the phone call that would change my world and force me to grow up came without any warning. My grandmother (Granny to me and all her grandchildren) was dead. She sat down in a chair after changing the laundry and quietly slipped away. She was waiting to visit my grandfather in the hospital. She was home, alone. Nothing could bring her back and I knew that but my heart was broken in two. I loved her more than anyone in my family. She was, for me, the picture of constant love. During my lifetime, my granny had given me all the love she had and never expected anything from me in return. She gave unconditionally to me and I knew it. She made me feel like I was her favorite (even though she had a long list of other grandkids to love). After I returned back home from the hardest funeral of my life, there in the mail was my birthday card from Granny. I’ve held onto that card all these years because it was the last thing that connected her to me. She had to have walked that card down to the mailbox the very day she died. For me, it was a huge reminder….that I was on her mind the day she left this earth. That’s who she was to me, the person who loved me with all her being. I’ll never get over being loved by her.

I tell you that story because for me….I’ve found that I wished I had more words from the people I’ve loved and have loved me in return. What I wouldn’t give to hear or read what my heart believes about my grandmother’s feelings for me. I know without a doubt, she loved me like crazy. Our relationship was special. I would spend all my summers with her; eating her fluffy scrambled eggs in the morning….visiting her parents in the nursing home and running to the bank and grocery after cashing Grandaddy’s check. I had a front row seat into her life while most of my other cousins were home with their parents doing what kids do all summer. My time with her was ordinary to most but for me, I realize now that I was gifted with the greatest of all gifts and that was her time.

Your arrival into my life came just a few years later. October 1988 I said goodbye to my granny and just short of 2 years, you were on the scene. My heart was blown out of all sorts of proportion. I wished so badly that my granny was there to love you like she loved me. I couldn’t make that happen but I could do what I was called to do and that was to be the best mother I could be to you. You were a boy that had been prayed for and dreamed about for most of my life. Being a mom was all I ever thought about growing up. Most girls wanted to do crazy wild things with their lives, I wanted to hold and love on the children God would give to me. I would picture myself making their meals, rocking and singing while kissing on their perfect faces. It was a destiny that God placed in my heart and eventually made true and it all started with you.


Really, it all started with the person you call dad. He was the pushy one who felt certain I was the girl for him. Looking back, I’m grateful he had the insight that I didn’t and that I went along with him and got married that beautiful September day. While I love all three of my children, neither of you have the piece of my heart that belongs just to dad. His love for me and mine for him is a very unique and fulfilling love. We CHOOSE to love each other where parental love is a born love. How can you not love a person born of you? That doesn’t make sense. God gave me dad and then thankfully, equipped me with a heart that loves him in spite of errors or shortcomings. A little like parental love but truly still different.

It was a surprise to find out we were having a baby not long after our honeymoon. A huge surprise! I worried what others would think, if they would believe I was a pregnant bride that had to get married (those were the days people did that). All my dreams were coming true but I was weighed down with what other people would think of me. Then, you came early. Even better. Thanks kid!


You spent your first 5 days in NICU. You were the fattest, prettiest baby boy in that place. Everyone was in love with you right from the start. Which is a rather good summary of the last 25 years. You are a bright spot, a joy and a heart capturing human. People are drawn to you and they always have been. I believe it’s because God wants to use you in the lives of those around you (and I’ve seen that happen over & over in the last 25 years). Your dad and I were overwhelmed by everything about you. You were ours and both of us felt deeply undeserving. You were perfect and we were suddenly faced with the fact that neither of us were close to that…..now, what were we to do with you?


When I first saw you there in the special incubator, I wondered if I’d ever be able to love you like you deserved. All my insecurities banged around in my head like a bullet loose in a box. That’s when I learned to push through silly thoughts and do what needed to be done, to mother my sweet boy.


No one can really tell you how those first moments will be when you hold your child close to you. I think it’s different for every person. For me, I felt all my dreams coming true. I was finally a mother. I had my very own person to hold and love. It was go time! Time to get serious about raising up a great human. That’s been my life goal. I think it worked. You’re 25 today and a pretty great human (if I do say so myself). Goal – check!

A great human wasn’t all I had on my mom agenda though. I wanted to be a source of love and genuine care. I wanted you to know and love God, the God who created you and shared you with dad & me. I spent hours looking into your eyes, speaking words of affirmation and gentleness into your heart. From the beginning of your life, you loved music and singing. I held you and sang every single song both real and made up for hours and hours. The love I experienced from taking care of you was a love like I’d never known. It was the love I was meant to feel and because of that, it was the kind of love God had in mind for you.

If I had to use 3 words to describe you, I would pick — ADVENTUROUS, HAPPY & FUNLOVING.

ADVENTUROUS – From the start, you were a go-getter of a baby. Nothing was impossible for you. I used to think it was just a first-born thing but the truth is, that was just who God made you to be. You were curious, inquisitive and outgoing. Your dad & I couldn’t believe how quickly you did everything. You were 19 pounds at 4 months old. That’s a chunky dude. You only crawled for a few days, just long enough to get yourself up on something so you could start balancing for bigger things. You were a climber. You climbed up on and even moved things around so that you could navigate higher and higher to whatever it was that you were wanting to reach. Luckily for me, you were never a mean kid. You were sweet spirited and loving. I remember the day I recognized a huge part of who you were as a compassionate person. You accidentally bumped into a girl in a wheelchair at church. It was very innocent but you were so concerned that you had hurt or even embarrassed her in some way that it broke you in two. Dad and I tried to assure you she was okay (she did too) and that it was only an accident but your heart was so grieved that you would have anything to do with hurting another person that it poured out of you through tears. I thanked God for your gentleness and your awareness that YOU weren’t the only person on this earth and I asked Him to help me guide you to always possess a love for others that kept God’s laws first. Loving one another.

HAPPY – I hold inside my heart every smile and laugh you’ve ever blurted out. Which, is many. Your smile has gotten me through some hard days. Your happy attitude has always been encouraging and a source of freedom for me. It reminds me, life is short…get over it and laugh. You’ve been the happiest kid your whole life. You seek out and look for the fun. You love being joyful and honestly, it’s just who you are. When I picture you, I always see you smiling. From the toothless grins as a baby to the brace-face smiles of a middle school twerp, smiling is how I’ll always see you in my mind. Your zest for life and your burning desire to make things happen inspire me and they have been one of the greatest ways God has used you to influence me to be a better mom.

FUNLOVING – Being a mom is hard work. It’s a huge responsibility. Being a dad might be too, but dad’s get a lot of freedom that mom’s don’t get. They tend to be the fun one. I used to be jealous that your dad and you could play and be wild together while I was doing all the home responsibilities. I would watch as the two of you laughed and carried on as I cooked our dinner or folded the laundry. You would do whatever crazy shenanigan your dad encouraged you to do; jump off the roof into the swimming pool at 3, jump ramps with your bike, climb to the top of whatever was the tallest location of something to climb, swim to the deepest part of the ocean or pool, wear full on superhero attire every day, live as a life-saving vigilante, protect little sisters under your wing, lead good guy clubs on the playground at recess, start your own Bible gang at school, teach yourself how to play whatever musical instrument interested you, buy a friend new tennis shoes because he always got hand-me-downs and you didn’t, salute the flag when a patriotic song came on, pray aloud when everyone else was too afraid, speak up when a friend asked you to let him cheat off of you, admitted the struggle it was when girls weren’t dressing modestly, made friends NO MATTER where we were or where they were from, treated teachers with respect and admiration, loved learning new things, conquered every challenge that you set your mind to and did it all with a funloving spirit. Wow, it’s been fun being your mom.


So, on this day…the day you turn 25, let me tell you how blessed I am because God loved me enough to share you with me. I am blown away, totally overwhelmed with joy that you are my sweet boy. You’ve taught me a lifetime of lessons, some, learned the hard way others sweet and funny just like you. Being your mom is one of my greatest achievements! Some wish for big fancy degrees, I only wish that I could be the kind of mother and grandmother that makes my kids proud. One that made life special and taught the true meaning of love and acceptance. Your life has meaning, meaning to me. Elliot Richardson said, “To be a complete person is to be a part of others, and share a part of them”. I feel like a complete person because of being a part of you. I’ve played a role a very important part in who you are and I’m so proud that I got included.


Keep on climbing son. Go as high as you can because there’s nothing stopping you. You have a lifetime of joy waiting for you up ahead. May you always know the love I feel and the pride inside my heart custom-made just for you.

gav birthday

I love you,

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