Wednesday, July 3, 2013

When Life Makes Sense

Last June I wrote and shared this post with you: A Chance to Live All Over Again

Your comments, your experiences, and your prayers were priceless and joyful. I cannot thank everyone enough for the peace you brought to me, a peace that I could, in return, give to my son. 

Our experience is really no different than so many others. I saw that in all the readers who wrote to me publicly and privately. Most of us have come into this world or brought a child into this world in less than responsible situations.

Not long ago, a friend shared that if we really look at how most of us came into this world, we would see mostly irresponsible ways. Perhaps it was a teenage pregnancy. Perhaps it was the fifth child when the father was out of work. Perhaps it was when the family had no medical insurance. Perhaps it was when the mother had on-going health issues. Perhaps it was when neither of the parents were ready to have a child.

We all came (come) into this world on a wing and a prayer, in hopes that someone will love us not for how we came into the world but for what our presence brings into the world.

God delivers us into this world hoping someone will be His hand to catch us, hoping someone will be His mind to educate us, hoping someone will be his feet to guide us, hoping someone will be his mouth to instruct us, hoping someone in this crazy, mixed-up world will be His heart to love us.

I have a few things that have tugged on my heartstrings since the above linked post. I began this post a week before Father's Day as a tribute to my son then life got busy and it languished.
I continued to let this post languish because I've become very guarded with what I share about my older children. Children don't always like a mother's prying eyes and, most certainly, not the rest of the world's curiosity despite what social media and virtual reality lead us to believe.
Our family is actually very private despite my public writing foray and, though my children are still the largest part of my life, they have their own lives which is not ground I am publicly allowed to plow for fodder. I try, for the most part, to respect my children's privacy but it's a twist of fate that they have a writer for a mother, it...that they have a mother for a writer. Either way...sometimes God reveals to you that sharing is necessary and He shares through us and through our experiences.

These sharings assist others in their journey through this crazy maze called life. Sometimes we have to entrust our need for privacy on behalf of a greater good.

 And so...enough justification.

Had someone asked me twenty-five and twenty years ago when I first held my baby boys what my hope was for them the answer would have been simple...

...that they grow into the best husband and father they could be. The kind of father God wants them to be. The kind their father was to them. A very good father.

Of course various other requirements came into that equation as they grew up but the root of it all was that they become loving, attentive fathers who were simply always there for their families. As much as they were able.
We've heard it said that 85% (maybe it's 86%) of success comes in just showing up.

That percentage floated in my mind's eye the day I watched my son walk down the hospital hallway and round the corner behind the gurney to watch his son being delivered via C-section. It was the last time my son would be free of absolute responsibility and duty.

Since November 20, 2012 (actually during the months leading up to that date) he has lived up to that 86/86/100%.

I have also heard it said that the greatest thing a man can do for his child is to love the mother. He's done that too.

The fact that he and Hudson's mother have allowed us to be such a huge part of that life picture, that life's dance, reveals that they understand how valuable and priceless this life's dance is.

We do not dance alone.

Only minutes before that life dance began, as we waited in the hallway while Hudson's mother was administered the epidural, my son turned to me and gave me a silent hug. Then he let out a deep breath and said, "Mom, I never have told you thank you for what you went through to have me. I didn't realize y'all go through so much."

That one hug wrapped up a lifetime of thanks.

It was a moment I captured in my heart and, like Mary, I've kept it hidden. Until now.

Again, it's both a blessing and a curse for children to have a mother who writes. 

There have been other times, other things said, other sharings, but this and two others are ones I want to recapture here and, perhaps, share some of the beauty and wisdom that God has gifted us during the times when others are lamenting a less than perfect scenario.

For those of you are still waltzing with me...

I've wanted to jot this one memory down but I fear I can never write it as beautifully as the moment was. Still, here's a weak attempt...

One of the times that touched my mother's heart was when Garrett was putting his son to sleep. The baby had drifted into sleep in his daddy's arms and Garrett rose slowly to tuck him into his bassinet.

He leaned over gently and paused, mid-way down, and stood there, gently rocking his son. After a moment, he guided the baby halfway onto the mattress still keeping his arm comfortingly under Hudson, standing with backaching stillness, check-to-check with his little son. A slight rocking motion was barely noticeable. Mostly soft stillness.

"Garrett, why don't you just lay him down, give him a love pat, and tuck the blanket around him?" my 25 years of maternal expertise forced me to instruct.

I'll never forget the look in my son's eyes as he met mine straight on.

"Mom, it's all in the transition. All in the transition."

He spoke gently and knowingly as he laid the baby the rest of the way onto the folds of silken sheet and fleece blanket and easied his arm out from under the baby then folded the blanket around the tiny still-sleeping form.

"All in the transition," he repeated as he looked down at his peacefully sleeping son who never knew he had been delivered from the safe strong arms of his father into a place of peaceful safety.

Everything in transition. That's what parenting teaches us. That's what life teaches us. That's what God teaches us. It's all a transition.

A few weeks before Father's Day I had one of those sit-down-conversations with my 20 year old son. You know the kind. The ones where they look down and wiggle and we try, in our softest, encouraging voice, to raise them to new heights...because the world demands it....while giving them a reality check.

Yes, grown mothers still do that with grown sons, whether wanted or not.

Yet, I realized the young man before me has had to leap over hurdles way before his peers and way before society is graciously willing to help him over those hurdles. He has done so without complaining, without asking for help, and without backing down.

And he has jumped these hurdles with one thing in his focus.

His son.

I told him that I know life is hard, especially when you're a 20 year old dad trying to make college and career decisions and all those other decisions that many 20 year olds are also making but with a huge difference. There's a baby involved.

Which, of course, makes things harder. Right?

That was when his eyes...again...met mine with steadfast sight of someone who has made life and death decisions, who has held life physically, mentally, and emotionally in the very palm of his hand and he answered: "Mom, if anything, Hudson makes life easier."

"More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” ― Saint Paul

A friend shared with me that her son told her the near same thing except his words were that his baby "makes life make sense."

I don't want to send out a false message that having a baby is an easy thing. It isn't. Transition is painfully hard and unpredictable. Mothers know that. 

Having a child is one thing. Raising it is quite another. It's a life-long commitment but seldom have I seen young people who have a baby become worse human beings than they were before. Generally they become more caring, more loving, and more responsible. 

For the most part.
I think what my friend's son said is probably what my son was trying to say. Life with a baby isn't easier but it certainly makes more sense.
As parents, we know that our children give our lives new meaning and our lives become richer and more sacred.
Not easier, but, still, it can be summed up in that one word. Life makes sense. 
And a life with meaning is...easier.
On Father's Day, my son's fiancĂ©e took this picture of him with his son in the little plastic swimming pool. It was the best gift this MayMay could have received and Mother's Day was already way past. ;-)
There's just so much more to the story than this picture shows. The future is unpredictable and the lives are still in transition but this picture captures an emotion, a moment, a presence, a joy! that says "I wouldn't change my life for anything."

And because God loves Hudson and his parents so much, He prepared many hands to make light a lifetime of work.
{Uncle Corey and Hudson relaxing on the patio}
I cannot speak enough of how proud I am of how this situation has brought out the very best servitude in my other children. They are God's hands equipped for guiding, teaching, mentoring, instructing, feeding Hudson into an otherwise messy world.

None of us are meant to dance through life alone.
Things are never perfect. Life is ruthlessly messy. The older I get the more evidence is left behind of a messy existence. I regret the messes I've made and...still...God carries me. What would the redemption be without the messes?

Life simply has to be met with an acceptance for God's will in our life and making peace with that will...despite the messes.

Some would say my son was very irresponsible. I don't have to tell him twice. But he did not meet irresponsibility with irresponsibility. He shouldered his responsibility and, while the burden looked heavy to us, to him it weighed a mere 6 pounds, 6 ounces and the transition has been almost effortless.


  1. I do not know your family, but hot tears are rolling down my face as I read this. Yes, life is messy but lovely all the same. I have a quote on my wall that says "if you can't have grace in the moment, have grace in the turnaround" - I hang on to this and try hard to keep my kids life meaningful. Thank you for sharing this beautiful post!

  2. Thank you for writing the most beautiful post I have ever read. Tears are streaming down my face. You continue to be in my prayers.

  3. Ditto to what Ruth just said. Absolute love and beauty in this.

  4. Double ditto what Ruth said. Thank you for sharing your heart with all of us. God bless your beautiful family.

  5. Thank you! This was not an easy post to share and so your comments are life-giving. They are God's blessings upon me and I am grateful. So grateful!

  6. Cay - thank you for sharing such a deeply personal story. Your son knew how to love because you and your husband loved him so well. I pray he continues to answer life's questions with love and more love. God bless you all.

  7. love this Cay. thank you so much! God Bless your beautiful family!


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