Sunday, April 5

today, i took care of a newborn baby.
beautiful. tiny. that sweet-baby smell.
it brought back so many memories of
when my four were newborns.

then, suddenly, they became teenagers.
almost overnight. and i was a single mom
through most those years. living by faith.
will had died, and cancelled his life-insurance
policy. we didn't have him, or steady finances.

i have loved every stage of my children's lives,
but do you remember when you were a teenager?
my sister and i hardly put our heads on the pillows
at night because we were afraid our teased hair
would get squashed. when we hated how we looked
en route to school, my mother would say,,,oh,
you are young and beautiful!

young?!! what did that
have to do with anything?!
i have said the same thing to my sons,
and they have looked at me the same
way i looked at my mother.

none of my children have gotten into
drugs. so far, no girl has gotten pregnant
that i know. but i had two children that
just fit perfectly into the school box.
homework. projects in on time. studied
on their own for tests. and i have two
who got a's on their tests, but could NEVER
get their brains around homework after 8 hrs.
of classes. my favorite letter of the alphabet
became "d" because it meant they at
least passed the class.

brandt, my youngest, who is now a firefighter
with the air force, would gladly tell you of some
of his escapades. how he and his friend stole
lighters from long's drug, and accidentally burned
an abandoned house to the ground. and how his
learning instructor called me every single day of
8th grade.

mrs. anderson?
brandt went across the street today
and pushed a port-a-potty over where there
is construction.

mom, i don't know why i did that.
i just thought it was a funny thing to do.

colson's english teacher happened to sit
behind me one sunday morning at church.
i had authored 17 books, and was terrified
colson had not passed her class because,
of course, he never did his homework.

even brock, in gifted classes, came home
one day and said,
mom, i have to drop out of high school.
i can't go on. i'll take my GED tomorrow
if you will let me.

and then,
all those car accidents
divided up between four teenagers.

remember the one thing that matters
more than ANYTHING else: relationship.
no matter WHAT my children did, i believed
our relationship was all that really mattered.
they would tell me things i honestly can't
believe most teens would EVER tell their
parents. about sex and pornography and
the terror of rejection.

i wanted to say alot of things,
but i just listened. they trusted me.
it gave me a window in how to pray for
each of them. i would go in, every night,
and talk to them after the lights were out.
lying next to them, in the dark, where words
and emotions came so much easier.

i'm not a child expert,
but if we don't have a loving
relationship with our children,
then they will wander farther away.
yes, i had rules.some might seem silly.

no piercings until you are l8.
brock never complained, but on his l8th
birthday, i went with him to a tattoo shop
where some guy was supposed to be the BEST
with piercings. he had so many on his face that
i could not even really tell what he looked at.
i would not have even wanted him to touch me.
brock and i subtly eyed each other. i put $40
on the table. and stood by brock while he got
his lip pierced. it looked horribly painful, but it
was the best moment of brock's life, i think. smile.

no matter where your teenager is,
and i have seen mine fight and scream
and heard them use school verbage that
melted my insides. BUT, i told them every
single day that i was so PROUD to be their
mom. that i was the richest lady in the world.
i have hugged them. baked them brownies at
10p.m. at night. i've tried to keep my feet on
the ground, and take their momentary insults
without reacting too much. and yes, i called
the police one night because one of my sons
refused to show me any respect. but...

we are wrapped together
by chords of love and loyalty
and mutual respect. and in the
darkest of times, we run to each other.
if your child does not graduate from high
school, it is a disappointment,but there are
worse things. one of my sons is having
such a hard time finding himself. he is
in another city. staying at different friends'
houses, and i won't let him come home
because we have tried EVERYTHING together.
i tell him i think it is my fault. i'm not very
good at boundaries, and he NEEDS that.

often, i drive to where he is.
take him out for his favorite sandwich.
get him a haircut. sometimes buy him
new underwear and socks, and maybe
a cd (he chose johnny cash. i approved).
but i don't give away money. i don't let
him see my tears when i drive away. i
know he has to figure out, on his own,
at 21 yrs. of age, how to find himself.

he calls every few days.
we always talk about how much
we love each other. i've told him,
in the past, that self-respect doesn't
just walk in the door, but i don't
anymore. i remind him, though, to
cry out to Jesus. to pray. that i'm on
my knees, for him, every day.

don't compare your family to
other families. to how well their
children seem to be doing. don't torture
yourself this way. i'd much rather my
children wander around, and find themselves
today than when they are thirty-five and forty.

between us and God.
and between our children,
wherever they are,
and us.
that is everything.


  1. Ann,
    I'm a single teacher who adopted two boys when they were 7 and 9. They are teenagers now, good guys, but teenagers, and somedays, most days, life is very, very hard. I need to print this out and read it every single day. Thanks for this reminder about maintaining the relationships.
    P.S. D is my favorite letter of the alphabet too!

  2. Ann,
    No truer words could be said. Thanks for saying them. It is ALL about relationship because that is what Jesus is about . . .
    Love ya,

  3. Dear Ann,

    I was enriched by your Velveteen Rabbit (real) comments. Yes, it is good not to compare ourselves to others, hard not to do when life is difficult. I'm divorced (after ending a 17 year abusive marriage) I lost my kids for eight years due to the parent alienation thing by their father. I lost my son's jr. high and high school years, my daughter's (running start) high school and college years. They visit over the phone with me somewhat at this point but what I deal with now is loneliness and loss (of my children and ordinary family memories with them), even now, ten years after leaving their father.
    I am going to school (will get my BA next year) and doing elder care to support myself. But I wonder, when does life start? I feel like I have been swimmming against the current FOREVER. Also I feel such a disconnect from the 'normal' church life. When I was married and had my children I used to feel so at home in church culture, but no more. I struggle to have a sense of belonging, I try to satisfy that by connecting with individual friends but that is a sparse cover for the cold. Does anyone have suggestions for making it past this disconnect? I feel so absolutely stuck - I thought about volunteering but the one place that really moved me requires 8 hours a week to volunteer but I just don't have that much time after work (72 hrs a week) and school (three nights a week). Thanks for any suggestions you have.

  4. oh, comparing our family's to others, why do I do that?? I was encouraged by reading this. What a wonderful gift God has given you to just be free and share what is on your heart. I really believe I have been led to this blogg, (I am the lady who has immigrated with her family from Africa to Canada).. I love the internet here too... God bless u..