A boy sits across the table from me. He is about half-grown, he just recently reached double digits. He looks at me and I see his daddy. He laughs and I see myself. He has socks pulled up to his knees “cause that’s how all the boys are wearing them.” He has peach fuzz on his lip and gel in his hair. I bought his first deodorant last week and now he smells like Icy Blast.
There was a time when I wrapped that boy in a blanket, stuck a pacifier in his mouth and we would snuggle on the couch and watch movies together. There was a time when he would spot me across a room and run as fast as his chubby legs would go just to get to me. There were nights he would wake up crying and I would pick him up and hold him close. I would tuck him in to a giant bed with his favorite blankie and Monk-Monk. I was his favorite, I was his world.
Then he grew a bit a became a little guy who followed his Daddy everywhere. They would change the oil in the cars, work out in the yard and fix things around the house. They spent hours doing “man stuff” as he called it. But at the end of each day it was his mommy he wanted, just for a moment or two, to read a book or sing a song.
It’s quite a job raising a son. An assignment I never knew I wanted.
He has made me laugh out loud, cry in exasperation, shake my head with frustration, pray big prayers of salvation, beam from ear to ear with pride and fall over from exhaustion. He has taunted his sisters, wrestled with his brothers, and given every ounce of energy to a neighborhood football game.
And now he sits across the table from me and I can’t help but stare at him. I can’t let him know I am watching. Gosh, when did he get so big? I wonder about the man he will be and imagine him as a father. What will he choose to do with his life? Will the world see how brilliant he is? Have I given him all I could in the first 10 years of his life and how do I make the most of the next eight?
I pray he will be the man God designed him to be. I want him to grab life by the horns and live life to its fullest. I want him to be kind and gentle; yet bold and courageous. I want him to speak for the silenced and strengthen the weak. I want him to be a man found worthy of his Maker. I want him to recklessly seek Jesus and surrender his heart.
But for now, I’ll sneak into his bedroom and pray over him while he sleeps. I’ll steal glances across the yard where he plays ball with his friends. I’ll correct him when he’s wrong and praise him when he’s right. I’ll smile as he reads his little brothers one more story. I’ll ask him to pose for pictures I know he doesn’t want to take. And every chance I get, I’ll thank God for the boy who sits across the table from me.