Two Teens And Their Mama: I Wish I'd Known...

Friday, March 4, 2016

I Wish I'd Known...


My oldest child turned 21 on Tuesday.  I am now, technically, the mother of a full grown adult person. We celebrated with his favorite dinner, apple pie, and then dad took him out for his first beer (wink, wink).  

Sifting through the thousands of memories that have accumulated in my brain since he arrived on a beautiful March morning, so many things stand out. First steps, temper tantrums, hot wheel cars, hockey practices (oh, so many hockey practices).  Playing on the beach, soccer games, arguments, handing over the keys, graduations.

Parenting is the hardest work.  Nothing and nobody can prepare you; it's the ultimate on the job training.  Just when you think you've got things figured out, those little creatures up and grow, and a new challenge comes along.  And as millions who have come before me would agree, I wouldn't change a thing.

But... I wish I'd known what an amazing young man he would grow to be. That I'd had a magic mirror, showing me the far off future, letting me know that all would be well.

I wish I'd known that the newborn days, although exhausting and terrifying, don't last long.  I remember praying he would stay asleep just a few minutes longer, that he wouldn't cry every time I stopped pacing.  Worrying if he was getting enough milk, wondering if I'd ever have my life back.  


I wish I'd known that four year olds are the most charming creatures.  So much enthusiasm for everything, all of the questions, all of the love.  His energy was exhausting, and some days I wondered if he would ever sit still and be quiet. Worrying that he had ADD, or was this just normal bouncy boy behavior?  

I wish I'd known that 8 year old boys are my favorite.  Old enough to have serious conversations with me, but still needing a hug and a snuggle at the end of the day.  So rough and tumble.  School was a challenge, and we argued every single night about homework. Worrying that he wasn't understanding math.  What would become of him if he couldn't conquer arithmetic?


I wish I'd known that the teen years, although definitely more challenging than baby days, would go by just as quickly.  Defiant and defensive one minute, loving and sweet the next. Still so full of boy energy, but growing into a sensitivity that surprised me.  Worrying about his grades, and what was he going to do with his life?

Back in the days when I was exhausted, unsure, and frustrated, I wish I'd known that everything would be okay.  Maybe I wouldn't have spent so much time worrying.  I would have enjoyed the newborn, the toddler, the little boy, and the teenager more.  

I would have known that things end up just as they are supposed to.  That he would learn, and grow, and make mistakes, and figure things out, and move on.
  
I would have known that his 21st birthday would come, much sooner than I hoped, and he would be kind, patient, witty, persistent.  Totally focused and passionate about where he's headed.  Strong and smart and thoughtful.  

I wish I'd known then, but I'm glad I know now.  He's a man that I'm so proud to call my son.  


I'm linking up today (finally!) with the talented writers at Finish The Sentence Friday.  The prompt this week was "I Wish I'd Known".  I hope they let me come back again!

59 comments:

  1. Great post, Lana! It brought tears to my eyes!

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  2. This is such a sweet post! You raised an amazing young man!

    Jill
    Doused In Pink

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    1. Aw...thank you Jill. He's a great kid!

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  3. Aw, such a wonderful post. I think that hearing you say a couple times that the 8 year olds is your favourite, it makes me appreciate the wonderful little (creature) Willis is right now. Thanks for that!
    Shoes to Shiraz

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    1. Yep, 8 year old boys are my favorite!

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  4. I agree with Dee, when you talked about 4 and 8 year olds... those are my kids. I will take the words you said and appreciate the stage my kids are at today just a little more. Thanks Lana.

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    1. It's so hard when you're in the middle of parenting them - but it really does go so fast!

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  5. Lana, you know how to bring out the waterworks in me! I guess it's just so much relatability by having these boys in the house basically become men! Happy 21st to your amazing boy, you guys are the best parents and you write the sweetest words! Have a wonderful weekend lovely

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    1. Thanks Andrea. They become men so quickly, don't they?

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  6. Heartwarming post. Your son is adorable. Have a great weekend.

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    1. He's pretty cute - especially with those freckles!

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  7. I love this post! My kids are 12 and 13, but I already feel the time going by so quickly. Thanks for writing this! Have a good weekend!

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    1. Thank you! It does go by quickly!

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  8. Lana, this is so beautiful and profound, it could be the lyrics to a song. I wish that I had really understood how quickly those childhood years would all go by - and I wish I could have figured out a way to bottle the magic of it all. Happy Birthday to your wonderful new adult!

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    1. Thanks so much for the nice comment, Susan. It would be nice to have those times in a bottle and take them out now and again.

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  9. Lana - what a great post - and so insightful through life's journey.

    Lisa
    Daily Style Finds

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  10. I got a little misty eyed. I have a boy, age 11. Every age he turn older is my new favorite. Part of the amazing man yours has grown up to be has got to be because you were an amazing mom. So really if you could have known, you wouldn't have known what you did to get him there. Aren't you so glad you got it right? ;-) I love the then and now pics.

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    1. Thank you so much! It's true - if we could see the future, I'm sure we'd do things differently, but maybe not for the best.

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  11. Aw Happy 21st to him!! He has so much fun ahead of him!! And mom you did a great job. He's such a handsome young man!

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    1. Thank you! I'm excited to see what he does next!

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  12. Eight is a great age, isn't it? They say that's the best age to begin discussions on the birds and bees because they still think you know most things, and they might even snuggle with you as you talk about it:) This is such a universal post and a good reminder for each of us to not get into a tizzy about the little things, because if they know they're loved and safe, things will be ok

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    1. That really is the most important thing. As long as your kids are loved and know they can trust you, the rest falls into place.

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  13. This is so sweet and perfect (and yes yes please come back again). Happy 21st birthday to your sweet boy - oh the time goes so quickly, doesn't it? Sometimes I miss all the past ages my son has been. I am loving six though. Loving it. So very glad that you linked up with Finish the Sentence!

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    1. I've been wanting to link up for so long! Such a great group of writers. Honestly, I've loved most every age!

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  14. I needed to hear this sweet perspective from the toddler side today. Thank you for sharing this! And happy birthday to your son!

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    1. It's so exhausting when you're in the baby/toddler stage - you just hope to make it to the next day. It does get better - just a different kind of tired!

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  15. this is my most favorite post you have EVER written and my eyes are filled with tears!!! It goes so fast... each stage with it's challenges that feel like they'll last forever and then they're grown... ugh.

    I need some wine!

    Simply Shaunacey

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    1. Thank you so much Shaunacey - that means a lot to me!

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  16. Gorgeous in so many ways, and awesome to see that we both did FTSF this week. Yay! My "birthday" was my blog's birthday and not my baby's birthday! 21. Wow.
    Des will be four in the summer and I can't wait for that age!

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    1. Four is such a great age - I love how smart and inquisitive they are at that age!

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  17. Oh this is just SO beautifully written, and I'm SO glad to meet you Lana! I loved reading about those incredible moments in parenting- those seasons and years that are so precious to us, if we can just *know* that everything truly does work out and unfold as it should.

    You inspire me to grab hold of all the good stuff right now, in the season I am in with my kiddos. They are ages 10 (boy- such a great age!) and 12 (girl- sweet and adoring).

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    1. I'm so glad to meet you too. There are so many good things about every age!

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  18. I needed to read this today! Mine are 7 and 9 (almost 10!) and sometimes I am up at night, not being able to sleep because I am worrying about this or that with them. Sometimes we just need to take a deep breath and realize that they are going to turn out just fine!

    Carrie
    curlycraftymom.com

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    1. I totally understand. I'm the queen of worrying, even now.

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  19. Oh how the time zippppppps by! Yup. My daughter is 22 and my son turns 21 this year as well. I love your son's freckles! Love that you signed on with Finish the sentence as well. You'll love it. The comments are always great.

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    1. I love those freckles too! Wish we could slow time down a bit...

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  20. Lana, we must live in a parallel universe. You so eloquently expressed my feelings. My oldest will be 21 in August and although I still worry about him and some of the choices he is currently making, I keep giving him to God and trust that everything will indeed come out right in the end. He certainly keeps me praying fervently!

    Much love~
    Sheila
    Making the Most of Every Day

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    1. There's a lot of faith involved with raising children, isn't there?

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  21. Sweet Sweet Lana!! Hope you treated yourself to a glass of wine while they were out getting those beers!! :)

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  22. This is wonderful Lana, and what fabulous photos! Thank you for sharing your son and your memories with us. Great kids are often the result of great parents :). So glad you joined FTSF this week!

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    1. Thank you so much! It was fun linking up with all of you wonderful writers!

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  23. This was a really great post. Loved it! I struggle with getting Natalie to do homework now. She's almost 9.

    Oh, and thank you for your tip about the jeans!! I'll check out Old Navy.

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  24. Such cute pictures and a wonderful post! Worry is in a mom's DNA, but it's so nice when things turn out fine in the end. So happy for you and your boy! I'm sure there are lots more wonderful memories in store.

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    1. I wish I could figure out how to worry less. I'm excited to see where he's headed!

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  25. Every worry, every concern, every way you cared and allowed your care for your son to influence your actions, have helped to mould him into the wonderful young man you celebrate here. A gorgeous tribute.

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  26. That is so sweet! That's what I miss about you lately. You're beautiful writing. I hope you bring it out more.

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    1. I haven't felt like writing much lately, ever since my dad died. It's slowly coming back, I think.

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  27. Oh I loved seeing this today. Last night was a weird one around here :-) The 10-year-old was in and out of bed with me all night. And yet :-) even in the moment of being continually woken up I thought: I will miss this someday... I know I will.

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    1. I think that all the time - I need to remember this moment, because I'll miss it when it's gone!

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  28. Oh my goodness, this is so beautiful. I worry all the time about my daughter and struggle sometimes to remember to enjoy the moments. We also struggle over homework...I think I'll try to remember that it's all part of the ride and this too shall pass. I need to be a bit more patient.

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    1. It's so hard to remember when you're right in the middle of it, though. Everything does pass and you move on to the next thing :)!

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  29. Oh, Lana - I love this. I needed to read this, too. My son is in the teen years now, and I need to focus on being present and not worrying so much. Enjoy more, worry less. Great advice! Happy birthday to your baby boy.

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    1. Thank you! The teen years are tough - one day at a time!

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  30. I got teary reading this; what a touching tribute to motherhood. My son is going to be three at the end of the month, and being a "midlife mom" I really treasure every single second, but gosh do they speed by! As the say, the days (and nights sometimes!) are long, but the years are short. Happy Birthday to your boy who is now a man.

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