She Loved You First

We celebrated you all weekend with some of your favorite things. Life is too precious of a gift to pass up these birthday milestones, rehearsing God’s past grace in your life and looking ahead, keenly aware of how much more of it we still need from him.
I am overwhelmed with love for you and delight in tangible ways to show it. But even as we baked and prepared and partied, I did so with the realization I share your day with another woman who is overwhelmed with love for you, too. I know, in many ways, October 23rd is her day of reflection and want to honor your mom this year in a special way.
Mom, you carried Matthew two weeks short of 40, arriving at the hospital early that fall morning, praying for a boy. It’s your story to tell and I love to see your eyes shimmer with happy tears as you remember the sacredness of the events on that day. How you and Dad cradled him in the quiet moments after his birth, surrendering him to the Lord from his first breath forward. I know you did that many times throughout his growing up years, and even continue to do it still. Matthew was your boy first, and perhaps after a little over six years of parenting a boy of my own, I understand a fraction of a mother’s love for her son.
Holding my Schaeffer close, I hold these days of his boyhood close as well. He’s a talker with more questions than I have answers and more mischievousness than I have imagination. I know you can relate. The Nerf basketball hoop is in our kitchen too, where we get instant replays of Steph Curry’s (instead of Michael Jordan’s) amazing feats on the floor. The impulsive explosions of joy or frustration (depending on the score) ring in my ears and bring simultaneous joy or frustration to my heart (depending on what I’m trying to do in my basketball-court-kitchen). You are good to remind me to fish that foam ball out of the sink (or soup!) as many times as I get to because, too soon, my boy will be gone. But I’ll still have my kitchen.
I feel the tension more acutely with Schaeffer that I am raising him for someone else. That he’s mine only for a while. The apron strings are there, but I know they will have to be cut to help make my boy a man. I wonder whose arms he’ll go to after mine and I am tempted to fear because I know how a man can rise or fall by the love of a woman.
You’re my example, though. Thank you for cutting those apron strings so your Matthew could become mine. God used you to help make him to be a godly man – independent in the right ways, but dependent and tender in the right ways, too. That’s the fruit of a mother’s tough but nurturing love. And thank you for your prayers for me even before you knew me, the woman who would one day love your boy and take his heart in her hands. By God’s grace, I seek to love him well and continue the work you started, using my love to make him better.
So, Mom, thank you for letting your boy become my man. Our Matthew.

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