It seems like yesterday he was asking me to marry him. He was only 5. It was the day he graduated from kindergarten. He looked up at me with his big, blue eyes and said "Mommy, God did a good job when he made you. Will you marry me?" So sweet! I patted his head and said "You know, I'm already married to your daddy. But you'll see...one day you'll want to marry someone else anyway!" He didn't believe me. It was precious.
Then there was the time when he was in second grade that I suspected he had a crush on his teacher (she was so adorable) but he still made me a card and asked me to be his valentine on Valentine's Day. I thought that was sweet. I found out later he made her one, too.
Mine was better, though. (smile)
I remember when he broke his wrist when I was on a mission trip in Bolivia. He was skateboarding. He was so good at skateboarding, but I hated watching him because as a mom, my heart just couldn't take it when he would crash. I never wanted to be in Bolivia when he broke a bone, though! I felt so helpless. It was as if my heart broke into a million pieces when I heard him say through the phone "Mom, I'm going to be fine. I'm not a baby anymore." He was right. He was 13.
Wow, nobody tells you how hard it is to let go of your kids as they grow up. It's hard...but it's also very cool. Tommy just recently moved out. He's starting his new life in Chicago. He's studying photography (that's one of his photos to the right) and I believe just wants to learn to live on his own in the big city. He's always been independent and he's very artistic. He is a pretty cool guy. I know he is going to kick butt in Chicago and do great things! I love that part of this - seeing him living his dreams and turning into a man before my very eyes. I remember looking at him when he was a little boy and wondering what he would look like when he grew up, what he would be like and what he would become. Now I'm witnessing it all first hand. So rewarding!
When we took him to the airport a couple of weeks ago (he left for Colorado to visit a friend before he moves to Chicago) , I held it together pretty good until we got home and I saw his dog sitting there looking for Tommy to come walking in behind us. At that moment, every ounce of vent-up sobbing came pouring out on that poor dog! I hugged him close and cried as if I'd been holding it in for 18 years. Maybe I had?
I thought about the day we brought this dog home for Tommy. He was in middle school and told me he was having a hard time making friends. He begged me for a dog - a buddy - to play with and hang out with. We found a sad, black dog sitting in a cage all alone - he was free to a good home. The moment they met, it was obvious they were going to be buddies for life. That's probably how he got his name - Buddy. They are so close that Tommy says he will be the best man in his wedding whenever he gets married. Cute. That should be an interesting wedding...
I don't know why I'm writing all of this tonight. I suppose I'm just feeling nostalgic, excited for Tommy and a little sad for myself. He used to make me tea at night and we'd talk. I can't make hot tea like he can - he's really talented at it. I miss that. I miss his crazy art stuff laying around the house. I miss the strange, yet interesting music he played all the time. I miss seeing him and Buddy snuggling on the floor while Buddy licked his face until it would hurt (yuck!). I miss a lot about him. But I know God has a wonderful plan for his life - and this is just the beginning.
Tommy....I love you. I'm proud of you! And I am thrilled you are now able to touch the lives of so many others now...just like you've touched ours for 18 years. I miss you...but it's so cool to see you growing up into such an amazing young man!