Daniel, our eldest son, went with his classmates on an island tour a day after their semestral break last week. I had a lot of misgivings because it was the first time he’d be going off on his own. On our way to the pier, his Papa kept quiet as I gave him a litany of do’s and don’ts. I said a prayer for his safety as I watched him board the boat.
The other day, he attended a friend’s birthday party on the other side of the city and came home late. His father offered to fetch him but my son said he’d just take the public transport. As I waited for him, I said another prayer for his protection. I heaved a sigh of relief when the doorbell rang.
Our three teen-aged sons usually meet at their Papa’s office after school so that they could go home together. Yesterday, my husband and I had to attend a meeting after 5:00 PM. He instructed our 2nd son, Miguel, to go home on his own. The sky was overcast, so I also told him to head home early as it might rain. I called up the house around 6:15 PM and found out that he wasn’t home yet. The help told me that it was already raining hard. What does a mother do at a time like this? I called him on his cell phone, asked where he was, gave him another set of instructions, and as I hung up, said a silent prayer for him. Thank God the rain stopped as he alit from the public transport he was riding in.
My! How the years have flown! As the famous song goes, wasn’t it just yesterday when they were small? Wasn’t it just yesterday when they depended on us, their parents, for their every need? And wasn’t it just yesterday that we had the last word on almost everything that had to do with them? How they have grown! They’re not just growing physically but are becoming more and more independent.
My! My! A part of me finds it difficult to let go while another part tells me to let them be. There is a tug-of-war going on within me. However, in the deepest recesses of my heart, I know, we raised them well; ingrained in them the Christian values that will carry them through difficult times. I also know these values will help them make the right choices later on in their adult life. Letting go is not an easy task. It is easier said than done. But I am learning, albeit, slowly… uhmm… slowly but surely.
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Years ago, I bought the “Love You Forever” book written by Robert Munsch. I found it at the children’s section but it wasn’t the usual children’s book I’m accustomed to. It tells the story of how a mother handled the different stages of her son’s growing up years. Many times, he drove her crazy. No matter how messy his son was at 2 years old or how difficult he became when he turned 9 or how strange his ways were as a teen-ager, she did this nightly ritual when he was fast asleep. She’d go to his room, pick him up and rock him back and forth while singing this lullaby, “I’ll love you forever. I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.” When his grown-up son left home and moved to another place, she’d drive across town at night and climb up to his son’s room and sing him her lullaby.
It tugged at my heartstrings as a Mom. More so, that I have five sons. But wait, I haven’t come to the end of the story. When the mother grew old and sick, she called for her son. She tried to sing him the lullaby one more time but was unable to finish it. The son took her in his arms, gently rocked her back and forth and sang, “I’ll love you forever. I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living, my Mommy you’ll be.” When he went home that night, he took his new baby daughter in his arms, slowly rocked her back and forth while singing the lullaby. The lullaby had come full circle. A mother’s love and patience was passed on to her son.
Sometimes, I wonder if I could ever be like that mother. I know I have so much love for my children but patience? With five boys at that! Praying helps. Counting to ten is sometimes effective. But 5 is one too many and I snap every now and then. I can’t help myself. I have to raise my voice by a few decibels or else my blood pressure shoots up if I don’t. I guess she wasn’t patient all the time, too. At one point, she wanted to sell him to the zoo. There…
I recite the lullaby in my mind when I am at my wit’s end (when the kids become difficult, when chores pile up and the stay-out help is not around.) It helps me set my priorities and it reminds me of the more important things in my life.
Last year, my youngest son, read the book by himself. He told me how the story moved him to tears, especially, the part where the mother became old and sick. He has also memorized the lullaby. Hope he’ll sing it to me and his Papa when we become old and gray.
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I used to attend the 11-am Sunday Mass at the Redemptorist Church when I was still single. I went there regularly with my boyfriend, who later became my husband, for two reasons. The homily of the old priest and the good-looking couple with their four sons. Yup, they had three teen-agers and a toddler.
They were so wonderful to look at. The youngest sat beside his mother and the older ones took their places after the little one. Amazingly, the teen-agers were tolerant of their kid brother’s antics. I carried that family’s picture in my heart for so many years. I guess it became part of my dreams.
God does fulfill dreams… in His time. After three years into our marriage and two miscarriages, He gave my husband and me, not just four but, FIVE handsome sons. The older three, I refer to them as the first batch, came one after the other in a span of four years. The second batch, Jonah and Joshua, came much later. Jonah was born when Gabriel turned four years old. I gave birth to Joshua, the youngest, when Jonah was only a year old. Amazingly, the dream that I wove were part of God’s plan for me. He turned my dreams into a reality, a very wonderful reality.
Every Sunday, we bring them to church. The older ones take their places on one side of the pew while my husband and I sit on the other end. Jonah sits on my left while Joshua takes his place between his Papa and me. Sometimes, they line up from the eldest to the youngest. When the younger ones behave, I feel like we make a really pretty picture for the Lord. When they don’t… I see a pretty real picture of a family with five boys.
Sometimes I wonder. When we go out, as a family, which we often do, is there a young lady or a young man carrying a picture of our family in her or his heart? Have we become part of her or his dreams? Well, only God sees what is in the heart and makes dreams into reality.
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