Sunday, August 15, 2010

Seasons of Lasts

I have been blessed over the past 6 months to read The Redemption Series by Karen Kingsbury with Gary Smalley. There are 5 books in this series and I have loved every single one of them. Did I mention that I do not read all that often? Yes, they are THAT engaging. Life changing, I tell you! It is such a beautiful story about family, love, loss, legacy and of course God is smack-dab in the middle of it all. Amazing!

Beyond me just recommending that you go out right now and buy these books if you have not read them, I wanted to share something with you that touched my heart so much----I cry every time I read it. The tears come from a place deep in my soul. A longing to hold on to every moment as it was my last. It encourages me to be present in my life and enjoy everything life brings me.

What I want to share is a poem from book #4 Rejoice. The poem is on page 209. I share the page number because when I read this page of the book, Billy and I were away in San Antonio for a kids free weekend. As I laid by the pool and read these words, I started to sob---not just a little bit--it was the big ugly cry that you would never want to happen in public---yes, that was me. I will own it. Thank goodness for sunglasses. :) As you can imagine, Billy was quite shocked that I was a ball of mush because he rarely sees that side of me. I tried to explain, but decided I could never do the poem justice so I just read it to him. I barley made it through 1/2 of the poem and I still can't keep it together, but he gets the point. Emotions stir inside of him too, but being the man he is, he does not show this outwardly. Anyway, there was a point here...oh, yeah, the page number. As we sat there having a moment, reflecting on how precious life really is....we both take note of the page number for some reason and realize that it is also our room number in the hotel. Yes, it was---Room 209 at the Westin. It was a sweet little gift from God to us.

Ok, I know you are sitting on the edge of your seats ready to hear this poem. But before, I share, I want to give you a little bit of background.

The mother in this book is writing a poem to her son that is getting married the next day. She is reflecting on the difference between when her daughters got married versus her son. There is a difference. Sad---but true. You know I have 3 son's right---hence the tears.

Ok---here you go, make sure to grab yourself some tissues especially if you are a mother of boys.

Long ago you came to me, a miracle of firsts
First smiles and teeth and baby steps, a sunbeam on the burst.
But one day you will move away and leave to me your past,
And I will be left thinking of a lifetime of your lasts.

The last time that I held a bottle to your baby lips…
Last time that I lifted you and held you on my hip…
Last time when you had a binky stuck inside your mouth…
The last time that you crawled across the floors of this
old house.

Last time when you ran to me, still small enough to hold,
Last time when you said you’d marry me when you grew old.
Precious, simple moments and bright flashes from the past,
Would I have held you longer... if I’d known they were the last?

Your lst few hours of Kindergarten, last days of first grade…
Last at bat in Little League, last colored paper made.
Last time when you wore your beat-up Green Bay Packers

Last time that you caught a frog in that old backyard pond…
Last time when you ran barefoot across our fresh-cut lawn.
Silly scattered images to represent your past.
Would I have taken pictures…if I’d known they were your last?

The last dark night you slipped in bed and slept between us two,
When last I read to you of God or Horton Hears a Who!
Last time that I smelled your hair and prayed after your shower…
Last time that we held devotions in the evening hours.

The last time you were M.J. in our games of give and go…
Last time that you made an angel in the melting snow.
I never even said good-bye to yesterdays long passed.
Would I have marked the moments …if I’d know they were the last?

Last piano lesson and last soccer goal you kicked…
The last few weeks of middle school, last flowers that you picked.
Last time that you needed me for rides from here to there…
The last time that you spent the night with that old tattered bear.

Last time that I helped you with a math or spelling test,
Last time when I shouted that your room was still a mess.
Time and life moved quicker, taking pieces of your past.
Would I have stretched the moments….if I’d known they were the last?

The last time that you needed help with details of the dance…
Last time that you asked me for advice about romance.
Last time that you talked to me about your hopes and dreams.
Last time that you wore a jersey for your high school

I watched you grow and never noticed seasons as they passed.
I wish I could’ve frozen time, to hold on to your lasts.
For come tomorrow morning life will never be the same.
You’ll pledge forever to your girl, and she will take your name.

And I will watch you, knowing God has blessed you with this day.
I never would have wanted, son, to somehow make you stay.
They say a son’s a son until he takes for him a wife.
You’re grown-up now, it’s time to go and start your brand new life.

One last hug, one last good-bye, one quick and hurried kiss…
One last time to understand just how much you’ll be missed.
I’ll watch you leave and think how quickly childhood sped past.
Would I have held you longer…if I’d known it was your

I hope that these words mean something to you as they touched me so deeply. Over the rest of the weekend, Billy and I discussed this topic more. Just about being present and knowing that moments may leave us as quickly as they find us. We came home from the weekend refreshed and full of gratitude for our life and family. As you can imagine, our kids were extremely exhausted from being at the grandparents all weekend so we decided to put them to bed early. I took the little ones and Billy took Gavin. I finished with the twins way before Billy did and came downstairs. At least 30 minutes passed and finally Billy surfaced from Gavin's room. He was visibly tear-filled and begins to share with me what he just experienced. He was doing his similar nightly routine. He sits in Gavin's pottery barn kid chair and Gavin sits in his lap. They discuss the day's details and sing a song. Gavin proceeds to lay his head on Billy's shoulder and he falls asleep in his arms. This NEVER happens. It did not even happen very much when he was a baby. He can't stand to miss a moment. But on this particular night, he laid in the arms of his father and fell fast asleep. He is 6 1/2 years old. Recalling the discussions from the weekend about our kids "lasts", Billy realized that this was quite possibly the last time he would ever hold Gavin in his arms as he fell asleep. It was an emotionally joyful gift from our ever-present loving God and a moment in Billy's life, as a father, that he will never forget.


Tara said...

Thank you for sharing that precious picture of your life. It has reminded me to hold on to every "last" I can.

Kimberly said...

this was beautiful Tanni.

Lacey said... sweet, and teary... :) I bet one day you may just read that poem at their wedding rehearsal dinner. :)

Andria said...

Tanni, what a beautiful poem. As a mother of three boys it made me cry as well. I always told my husband one of the reasons I wanted a girl so bad is boys are gone once they take a wife. The line that really got my heart is about marrying me when they grow up. Gabe my youngest still says that to me and I treasure it in my heart everytime. I grabbed such a moment last night just lying in bed with my soon to be 6th grader scratching his back and hearing him talk about his hopes & fears for middle school.