Our son is at our church's Boy's Camp this week. The theme of the week is "Under Construction." They are staying about 45 minutes away from here in a house that they are remodeling. Along with this project, the boys are having personal time with God and preaching 2-3 times a day. This is Mike's first year at camp and, while I'm excited for him, I miss him.
I write this note to let you know that beneath my Drill Sergeant exterior lies a mommy's heart. A few weeks ago, I told you that you were going to Boy's Camp. I knew you didn't want to go. You were nervous about having back pain. You were nervous about being gone for a whole week - you even said you were going to miss me!! You were worried about keeping up with the older guys. But, your dad and I told you that it would be good for you. That you needed to be under the influence of godly men who would direct you. You needed to be among some of the young men who are closer to manhood than boyhood. We told you that you can do anything they can do with diligence and that you need to learn to listen to authority other than your parents and that you need to learn to follow their instruction.
Once you realized that you had no choice, you turned your attitude around and began to look forward to camp. I so appreciate your ability and your decision to do that. You could have grumbled and complained about it, but you realized that you needed to make the best of this situation and that you would be better off if you got excited about it. You have grown a lot in this area in the last few months and it is a blessing to see.
So, we packed you up. I went into Drill Sergeant mode, again, when I didn't think you had packed enough of certain items. But, the General stepped in saying that the Private needed to make some decisions on his own - even if they were not the best. You need to learn, he said. So, the Drill Sergeant reluctantly backed off.
I said good-bye to you on Sunday morning as you headed off to help at the Air Show. After that, you would head to camp. I told you to behave, listen and obey, and smiled & waved. I succeeded in getting you to this important event.
While you may think that I was unfeeling towards your original hesitations, I am a master of hiding my true feelings.
-You don't know that I cried myself to sleep on Friday night worried that my "baby" might not be able to hold his own among the older guys and that some of the men running the project would be harsh and you would feel bad.
-While others have already forged their way into the teen crowd, you have to begin that process. You don't know that I worry how that will go.
-You may not know that I have prayed for you every night at 10:00, knowing that your back requires comfort in order for you to sleep and wake without pain. I have prayed these past three days that you are happy and feeling well.
-You may know that I worry that you aren't listening. I am praying fervently that your heart is soft and that you are allowing the Lord to work in your life.
-You don't know that I worry that people won't see your potential and what a great kid you are.
-I looked forward to seeing you at CHOICE all day on Tuesday, but you were busy working on the house you all are remodeling. I was sad I couldn't see you - to see if you were happy & well rested & pain-free - but I was thrilled that you were hard at work and needed!
I can't wait to see you tonight at church - to see how my "baby" is doing. I won't call you my baby in front of your friends. I won't even hug you in front of them, if you don't want me to. I will smile and enthusiastically ask you about your week. I will ask you if you are behaving and, if you are, I will admonish you to continue. If you are feeling down, I will tell you that it's going to be ok, to cheer up and send you on to finish your week. If you are happy, I will be happy for you and send you on your way with a wave & smile. I'm pretty sure, no matter what, that there will be tears when I get home.
I've come to realize that though we have our challenges, you add so much spice, energy, & fun to our family. There is a hole here without you. I realize that this hole will make it's appearance more and more as you speed towards manhood and that gives me mixed emotions. The Drill-Sargeant in me will continue to push you to do things you don't want to do. The Mommy in me will continue to worry if you are really ready.
At the end of this week, whether or not you've been "accepted" by the bigger guys, whether or not you've mastered construction, whether or not you had everything you needed, you succeeded. You obeyed with a smile. You tried enthusiastically. Your absence made me realize how precious you are to me. You may not know this, but I will tell you - I am very proud of you!