...And today is the day I become mother to an adult! Yes, so he's still a teenager, but is a full legal sense he is an adult.
18 years ago today the UK heralded the dawn of a 'new-labour' government ~ and now, in just a few days time, the boy born moments after the results were announced, gets to vote himself on the government for his future (and ours).
I will never forget the moment I held that tiny red boy in my arms and how my heart just knew such overwhelming love for him. His is the pregnancy I remember most clearly, and the labour and the birth ~ not because it was painful, but because it was beautiful! He paved the way for me: he gave me faith in my body and enough insight into of it's ways, that allowed me to safely birth 7 more children at home. He taught me that I am strong ~ and brave ~ and able!
Jake was not the easiest baby, or toddler, or small boy, or slightly bigger boy!
BUT he was always funny, chatty, clever, quirky and very winsome ~ he is still all those things. I always adored him - even on the days when he drove me to tears!
He was always very easily distracted and discipline was difficult with him because he was very 'self governing' ~ such a strong sense of self and a will to go with it! In these regards he's not much changed, but the difficulties that come with those characteristics are now tempered with more awareness of how he affects others around him and a growing understanding of how to turn his struggles into strengths.
Jake always struggled with physical affection ~ even as a tiny baby ~ he needed hugs and cuddles, but disliked the restriction they brought. He cried to be held, then struggled to get down. He fed in a hurry and cried often for more, because he never quite took enough in one sitting! Thankfully, as he has grown he has found ways to show his affections without being uncomfortable ~ I even get a hug from him occasionally these days ;-) ~ and he is always very loving and affectionate towards his younger siblings - they adore him.
I know Jake has always born the brunt of my parenting struggles ~ being the first every step of the way is definitely the short straw! But I hope he knows how much I love him ~ that deep, deep love (and hint of pride) that wells up when I look at the lovely man he is becoming. I hurt when he hurts. I rejoice when things go well for him. I ache when I see a fall ahead, and I struggle to resist reaching out to stop him hurting himself, but, just as when he was small, he would rather run ahead of himself and face the scraped knees than walk quietly and sensibly by my side! He has always been a 'go for it' kind of person and I don't wish to change that about him at all. I want to send him out to 'go get the best out of your life' with all my blessing. I want him to aim high and not be afraid to fail ~ to be true to God and himself, to be faithFULL and fearLESS!
The way ahead is just about to spread wide before him, with choices everywhere he looks. Each choice will shape him and lead him to more choices. I'm not sure he has a plan really ~ and in some ways I love that he doesn't because he is free to go wherever his journey takes him. He's never really been a planner, or a forward thinker, and I suspect he will always be somewhat swept along by the waves that pass underneath him - sometimes bobbing gently along with life, sometimes hurtling rapidly towards the next adventure and occasionally (not too often I hope) recoiling from a storm. In six weeks time he leaves college ~ and full time education. He isn't going into higher education. He is content to have achieved what he hopes will be a very acceptable grade in his Btec and to now want to go and 'get a job'. Ideally he would still love that job to include photography in some way, but he is aware that his love of images may just have to remain a passion until he can find a way to make his passion pay!
And so I'm left wondering and praying about what the future holds for my grown-up boy:
I pray for his happiness.
I pray for his health.
I pray for his peace.
I pray for his success ~ however he measures it.
I pray for his 'one-day' marriage:
- I pray he falls deeply, madly in love, marries and stays faithful to beautiful Christian woman, who will walk by his side through all that life throws at him ~ the good and the not so great, as it is apt to do. And that he will cherish her like nothing else ~ and love her like his Dad loves me ~ utterly and completely.
- I pray that his wife will love him, cherish him and encourage him, and when life gets rough she will know how to help him through.
- I pray that his marriage will be strong and beautiful. That he will be able to take the good stuff he's learnt from his Dad and I and build on that to make his marriage even better than ours. That their faith in God will be at the very centre of every decision they make together and will be the cord that binds them and entwines them.
And if he never marries ~ I pray that the relationships he has with Jesus, his friends and his family can be all those things for him!
We love him Lord. When he was a tiny baby Paul & I entrusted him to you, acknowledging that he was always more yours than ours. We've raised him as best as we could and taught him of you. We've encouraged him to find you for himself ~ and he has. So now, it's coming time to let him travel with you, without us so much at his side. It's nearing the time where we have to let go and let him find his own path. It hurts Lord, but then Love often does. Look after him Lord ~ he's Your precious child.