Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Letter to an Eleven Year Old Boy: Brighton's Birthday Letter 2014

Dear B, Eleven!  How long will it take me to get used to saying that?  We had fun celebrating you over the weekend— overwhelmed by all your “thank you’s”.  Once Daddy, Julia and I acted like complete weirdos for the birthday wake up, I made the dash to the doughnut place so I could fulfill your wish for the “doughnut tower” you’d seen a friend get.  So, remember, eleven was your first doughnut tower year.  WHEN, my boy, do we EVER buy doughnuts?!  I didn’t even know where the closest one was.  I miss the days when you had your first one and said, “This is the BEST BAGEL I’ve ever had!”  Oh the days of a little boy who liked healthy food…..  You try—- even faking “like” sometimes.   This year when our family decided to try the Fresh 20 menu plan, you were more than happy to offer to give it up for Lent.  Nice try.  But your tastebuds are still simple and prefer a PB& J over just about anything but pizza maybe.  I am thanking the Lord you still love apples.  Surely I can raise a big, strong young man on apples?

You had a big year.  Transitioning to a new home, a new space, a new room was a big deal for you.  You are like your momma in the sense that you don’t like a bunch of change.  Your year 9 and 10 had a lot of that and you’ve fought through it.  You miss familiar things— even our old cars, my old purses and you can hardly get rid of anything.  Everything gets “put in the attic for when I need it”.  You mention our previous home from time to time but I sense your easiness now in this one. It’s home, B, because we are all here.  And you told me once, “I like this place”.

My egg man

The things I’ll want to remember — some I love and some I don’t always feel just “warm fuzzy” about:  how you report to me all throughout the day what you’ve finished and what you need to finish, how you ALWAYS call when I leave the house- not just once, how when asked if you’ve followed some direction we’ve given you, you are always “on [your] way to do that right now”, how your money still must be spent {!!!!!!}, how you say goodbye and good night until the last possible minute, how you still begin to speak before I can hit end on the call I am having in the car, how your legs shake and your tongue works overtime when you are nervous or excited, how you must have sweet with salty, how you love old things whether it’s something of mine, your daddy’s, your uncle’s or any of your family’s things, how you search for the old school electronics on ebay, how thankful you are, how you value your friendships, and how you value your family.

You were introduced to Rocky this year and became quite enthralled.  I’d say ten was the year of Rocky.  You watched a few of them with your Daddy over a period of time and decided you wanted to join a boxing league.  I’m pretty cool— enthusiastic about most sports— but not that one.  I wouldn’t expend a half an ounce of energy towards researching that.  Dream on, son.  You just live vicariously through Sylvester and save yourself some troubles in your 60’s.

You got to play with your baseball team at the Dr. Pepper Field at Rangers Stadium and play with your football team at Cowboys Stadium.  We spent Spring Break in Rockport doing some pretty silly things.  We learned the waltz together and you, my man, are a great dancing partner.  You tried out basketball this year for your school.  You went away for an entire week of camp at T-Bar M and we couldn’t talk to you for 6 days!!  You had a blast and I was so proud of you.  You earned your red cap at Thursday Boys this year.  You switched school days and God answered our prayers and friends switched with you.  Even though our school days aren’t always rosy and full of bliss, I love that the three of us can be home together those 2 days.  You’ll be thankful for that one day too.

Had to include this one-- the smile that screams, "I am so done with this-- can I get back to my team now?"

You and your sister are still at it.  Some days, I think I’ve referred to it before as a “love fest” and other days, I wonder if you’ve been secretly raised by wolves.  Yowzers.  I prefer the former— in all its cheesiness ANYday over the snarling and picking.  Just the other day after one of the “attacks”, I asked if you had made things right with Julia and you said you had but I could tell you weren’t settled.  So I poked around a little more and you said, “She hasn’t asked me for forgiveness since 2008.  And I remember it.”  It’s a good thing you aren’t prone to exaggeration when you are mad.  I do love it though when I hear the two of you laughing upstairs— the kind I know is genuine fun and both of you are truly happy together.  There’s hardly anything a momma likes to hear more.  Your sister loves you even when she’s mad at you— it’s just harder to tell then.  I don’t think I told you this but a few Thursdays ago when you were at Thursday boys, Julia and I were home in the quiet house and she noticed it.  She said a few things about you but then told me, “I love it when B wears his pj’s that are too small— like the sleeves and pants are too short and the shirt is tight across his belly.  He looks so cute— Mom, don’t stop buying him those kinds of pajamas.”  She loves you and misses you when you aren’t here.  I don’t care what she tells you.

You guys entertain yourselves often so Jeff and I can have have adult time with others.

At Starbucks the other day, you saw this woman on an CD cover and you whispered to me, “Mom, she looks like one of those who want you to come to her.”  I was a little taken aback by what you said {You didn’t know that, did you?  You aren’t supposed to know that.  I did good, didn’t I?} because I wondered how you meant it.  So I asked and you said, “You know. That woman in the Proverbs.”  Crystal clear.  Your daddy is investing much in you, young man, and your time in the Proverbs on the road trip with him to Florida will pay off.  In very big ways.  All of what your dad is thinking through for you and planning to do for you over the years to come can be a strong structure on a sure foundation if your heart is receptive.  I pray almost every day that your heart would stay soft so the Word planted there can grow and produce that hundredfold crop Jesus talks about.  I’m trusting Him for that.

If I could speak anything into your life this year, it would be 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given [you] the spirit of fear; but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”  I pray for you to have courage and to trust the God to whom you gave your life.  I pray for you to walk in confidence and security, and be free to love with clear understanding and sound judgment.  I don’t want fear to have any place within you or any hold upon you.   You are so loved and it seems very important at this age for you to know that YOU are a Sanders boy, through and through.  No, we may not share the same blood or genes, but you are our boy because God in His sovereignty planned it that way and nothing can ever change that.

When I asked you what you wanted for your birthday, you got real deliberate as you started making the final list.  We were in the car and you paused and stated in all seriousness, “I am making some big decisions right now.”  And I tell you even at 11, you are.  Not about birthday gifts, but about WHO you are becoming as Jeffrey Brighton Sanders.  You are free to choose.  You’ve been taught a lot— you know the Scriptures and the stark contrast between right and wrong and the consequences of each.  I pray for you — that the choices you make would reflect WHOSE you are and WHO you want to be. I love who you are.  I see world of potential in you and the personality God has given you.  I am proud to be your momma and am privileged and honored to have a front row seat in your life.

I love you, B.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Lift My Noise: Advice to My Younger Self

Happy Wednesday!  I am excited to share with you a post my friend, TJ, posted on her blog late last week.  It's worth the read and VERY worth passing it on.  I was a part of that lovely dinner--or appetizer- party on her back porch and the conversation was thoroughly thought provoking.  I have such respect for those women so I counted it a very valuable night.  I am so glad TJ was of the mind-set of getting it down before all of us forgot.  She's like that though-- getting it done, thinking it through, writing it down...  She's a wonderful writer-- more concise than I and a whole lot smarter.  Click on over to Lift My Noise.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on it and what YOU'D add to our "What I wish someone had told me when I as 25"!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

These Adoption Questions

These adoption questions— the memories I will have of WHERE we have these conversations- unloading the dishwasher, in the middle of a chapter, from the backseat of the car, while I am scrubbing the toilet, painting a door outside…..   This one took place sitting in my car beside a Redbox— returning Belle {rent it if you haven’t yet}, going through my mental list of leaving for Georgia, barely present,  “Mom, does it ever make you sad that you don’t have kids that look like you?”  Very present now.  “Have you met both of our birthfathers?  What was that like?  How did it make Daddy feel?”  The elusive birthfather— they don’t get much airtime but maybe now that they are getting older, they will.  “What made you choose open or closed adoption?”  “Did she get mad when you closed it?”  Yes— all last night in the Walgreens parking lot between meeting Jeff and B at Panera and getting home for baths and bed.

I won’t rehash our conversation but can I just say, I’m so thankful God loves me and that He is concerned with my family and all this is HIS story that’s being read- page by page.  I had no control of how this all got started or really, how it’s going to end.  That’s His job.  You bet I am throwing up prayers in the driver's seat.  Because who knows if she’ll ever ask the question again— not that I can’t bring it up— but her heart is ripe in that moment, looking to fill up that little space with truth.  With something that will satisfy.  With something that she can accept and move on from that place, secure.

She went to a spend the night party with sweet friends last Friday night and a whole FOUR days later {last night} she told me that her adoption became a topic of conversation.  I really don’t know how it comes up— wish I had been a Borrower in a mouse hole…. Does some girl just say, “Julia, tell us about your being adopted?” or “ Does being adopted make you feel so weird?!?!”  or my favorite, “Do you know your REAL mother?” {Them's fightin' words.  Kind of.}  Surely, this time, since they are such mature 7th graders, it was nothing like that.    Anyway— she told me that as she was talking, she felt like she was giving her testimony.  Bam!  or “Booyah!” as Brighton would say.  Yes!  Yes, you were, sweet girl.  I would have given up whipped cream for a month {let’s not push it} to have heard it— uncensored, with her good friends, realizing in the moment the power of God in her story.

See?  He’s doing His work.  And I need to be content with that— and to trust Him.  I could never have orchestrated that.  And she wouldn’t have done it had I asked her.

He’s her Father.  He’s had His eye on her all this time, patiently waiting for these little milestones— and patiently loving her mother as she eventually comes around to what He’s doing.  By His grace…..