Today is a milestone. That little boy in the too-big pants is 21 today. A sigh of bewildered disbelief escapes me as all the clichés run through my head: Where did the time go... They grow up fast... Time flies... In the blink of an eye... One minute he's a baby... I may melt into a puddle thinking too much about how he's grown.
He came into the world at well over 9 pounds, all solidly built and smelling sweetly of new life, and his father and I beamed the smiles of first-time-parent pride as we held him. "He's so big!" we all kept saying. And it was true. He looked a month older than the babies who shared the hospital nursery.
It seemed those words were prophetic because through his childhood and into adulthood he's been so big in different ways, but mostly within his heart. I first noticed it when he was only a smidge past a year old. His father, my first husband, died suddenly in an accident, and although I had loving support from family and friends, he was the one who tethered me. In my grief, in my loneliest moments, he would climb up on my lap and pat my teary cheeks and say softly, “Momma, Momma.” (Yes, I have tears in my eyes now as I remember.) The tenderest of hearts at the earliest of age. When he was a little older, if he caught me smiling, he would burst into song, “Happy Mommy! Happy Mommy!” And of course, I would smile even bigger. Comforter, encourager, blessing.
"Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him." Psalm 127:3 The Lord definitely blesses us in so many circumstances, and often through children, whether or not they are our own. Like spring, kids are a sign that life goes on, that joy is abundant, that smiles are contagious. And like spring, childhood doesn't last forever.
So here we are at twenty-one. He still has the biggest of hearts, this son of mine. Full of compassion, coaxing smiles, loving people where they are in life. This once little boy is no longer little. He's physically muscular and strong, twice my size, maybe more. Ready to graduate college soon, and encourage people through health and fitness.
Always my little boy, but now the pants finally fit.