@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka
Only three more slots.
I admit it. I’ve been terrible about keeping baby books for the boys. Or even those cute little books that highlight their elementary years. Yeah, I think they’re more empty than full.
But, this weekend, I determined to catch up their kindergarten through twelfth grade photo frames. And it hit me so hard I had to swallow back tears.
I only have three more slots to fill with pictures of my oldest. When he noticed it, he got a little sad.
How is it the years have flown so quickly?
It was just yesterday I held him in my arms, nuzzling him close and singing over him.
Yesterday when he leapt from the car for his first day of kindergarten. Without a backward glance at his mama, who was holding back a tear or two.
It was only yesterday when he began junior high school, so excited for the grand adventure and more freedom.
And now, we only have three more years left with him. Five more with his brother. How do they grow so quickly?
There are only a finite number of months to train them in so, so much. To prepare them for adulthood. To give them opportunities to fail now so they can succeed later.
My heart is already sad for the day they walk out our door for the last time and into the next chapter of their lives, be it college or a job or the military.
It’s fascinating to watch our boys becoming men. To capture those glimpses of maturity . . . of the men they will one day be.
To witness the teenage temper solar flare, only to be hugging me hard a few moments later. To watch the euphoria and the angst . . . all within a period of five minutes.
They’re growing so quickly. And I’m not ready yet. I’m not prepared for them to launch out on their own.
As I worked on their photo frames, I smiled at the sweetness of their kindergarten pictures. So innocent and unsure. I grinned at both of their seventh grade pictures. Our oldest wanted to give his best “CIA/I’m-a-spy” look. His brother seemed to do the same thing.
What is it about seventh grade?
I guess Hubs and I have done our own growing right along with the boys. Learning to watch our words and reactions. Growing in our prayer lives (lots of growing there). Growing in appreciating the gifts that these two boys are.
We’ve learned to set aside our task lists so we can engage with the boys. We’ve adjusted our priorities.
Our lives are forever better with them in it.
I want to spend these next few years well. Investing in our boys . . . those late night conversations. Laughter over Settlers of Catan. Movie nights with homemade popcorn.
I want to soak in every moment. Even when they’re driving me crazy with teen ‘tude.
Even when they won’t let me hug them anymore.
Even when they’d rather be with their friends than with Hubs and me.
As they run wild around the house (yes, they still do this).
Especially when they want to talk in the car. Around the dinner table. In their bedrooms at night.
I want to be intentional in being there to cheer them on as they compete and perform. To watch as they continue to grow into the men God created them to be.
Every moment with these two boys is a priceless gift.
And I want to cherish each one of them. Because before I know it, all the slots in those frames will be full. And the house will be very, very quiet.
What about you? What do you cherish most about the loved ones in your life? How are you intentional in your relationships?
Click to Tweet: There are only a finite number of months to train our children
I’m linking up with #RaRaLinkup, Jennifer Dukes Lee, and Holley Gerth
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Your boys were adorable and are now handsome! I was just saying last night what a contrast of feelings parenting is. I love seeing who my girls were created to be but get sad that I’m not their whole world anymore. Life moves on and we have to pay attention!
Sarah, it’s kind of a big adjustment to not be at the center of their worlds anymore, isn’t it? I guess that is why it’s so good to build relationship with them when they’re young so they don’t completely leave us in the dust as they walk through their teen years. 🙂 Let’s both pay attention!
What a great post sharing your insight on your boys becoming men! I can imagine that envisioning them leaving home to start their own lives is bittersweet but parenting them so well is an inspiration. I’m not a mom but my niece and nephew are hitting middle school and it’s beautiful to see the people they are becoming! So good to visit here with you today! 🙂
Valerie, I am not ready right now for our boys to be out of the house But, God has a way of preparing using the now for the things coming, doesn’t He? Growing us through current situations so we are better equipped to face the future when it becomes the present. It is beautiful to see who they are becoming. I’m so glad you stopped by!
“Our lives are forever better with them in it.” I feel the same way, Jeanne. What a beautiful post, and such good timing given that it feels like January went by in about 15 seconds. I love your relationships with your boys and the way you seek to know them well. Hugs, friend.
Lois, I love the relationships you have with your girls too. They are evidence of a mother who’s figured/figuring out how to love well through each stage of her daughters’ lives. Sending you a hug right back!
I can’t fathom that my “baby boy” will be 25 in a few weeks. Where does the time go to?? I take heart that my son has shared with me that one of his favorite memories was when he was just little and we’d take our lawn chairs (mine adult sized, his pint sized) out to the end of the driveway and we would simply “watch the world go by.” We’d find shapes in the clouds, tell funny jokes, sit and say nothing, make faces at each other. This is what he remembers more than Disney World or expensive vacations. Just simple time spent with. Our Father above models that to us….how great are the rewards when we take Him at His Word? Lovely post!
Bev, it’s got to be tough knowing your youngest turns 25 soon! It’s always surprising which memories our kids hold most dear/remember best. You did some great stuff with him, Bev. If I could do things over for that stage of my boys’ lives, I would have done more of what you did—just enjoying being together and watching the world go by. I’m thankful our Father loves us that way! Hugs to you, friend!
This is such a beautiful and touching post, Jeanne! I agree, time goes by so quickly. This is a great reminder to cherish and make the most of the moments we have with our loved ones.
Thank you, Lesley. Yes, let’s do cherish our loved ones! So glad you stopped by.
So beautiful. Feeling this too as my oldest is in 8th grade.
Lisa, they grow so quickly, don’t they? It’s reassuring to know I’m not alone in this. I mean, I know I’m not, but I appreciate you walking this road with me. 🙂
I can feel your momma heartbeat through the screen. I know those days you speak of and how fast they fly by. We just want time to stand still in hopes that our little boys stay with us forever.
But in the sadness, we have the beautiful gift of watching our children become who they are supposed to be. It has been an amazing thing for me. Believe me it continues to evolve even after they leave the house, but it takes shape while they are still living with you. Such sweet words today!
Mary, you share wisdom here. 🙂 I don’t want them to stay as they are (especially on the hard teen days . . .), but the thought of them moving out is . . . sad. 🙂 You are right. I am loving watching God unfold the essence of who our boys are, the gift of who they will one day be. I’m thankful I have a front row seat to watch their transformation. Thank you for the hope that things don’t end, they simply change.
So thankful for your perspective, Mary!
Wow! That was a bit of a tear-jerker. I have two 3-year-olds at home. A daughter and son. It’s crazy to me that they are already three. I remember holding them both. Soon, they will be in school and who knows what’s next. I think that’s why I love the Orange Curriculum so much. They get the preciousness of time. Crazy to think how many weeks we have with them in the beginning. But it’s crazy how less full it is with every passing week! Thanks for sharing your family with the world.
Ahhh, Nate, in the heat of three year olds, the days sometimes feel long. But it is amazing how quickly they go from newborn to toddlers to school age to teens to . . . you know. I’m not familiar with the Orange Curriculum. I’m glad you’re savoring your two children. Enjoy every day, even the tough ones. 🙂
This is so touching, Jeanne. I love how you put your heart into nurturing your boys, no matter what season they are in. How you savor the moments they are still at home. Your boy being sad about there only being three slots left reminds me of when one of my boys insisted that he didn’t want to grow up. I can’t believe how the years fly by. It seems like one moment the grandkids are cuddling in my lap while I read a book to them and the next moment they’re getting deeper voices or marrying or even having kids of their own. We’re expecting our 3rd great grandchild in March! Thank you for sharing this. I love all the pics, too! Love and hugs to you!
Trudy, I was surprised by the depth of my boy’s emotion when he saw those three slots. My younger boy has often said (but not as often as in previous years) that he was never going to grow up. It’s crazy that your grandkids are grown and marrying and making you a great-gramma. What a gift to see so many generations following you. Sending you Loe and hugs back!!
It’s hard to believe we are at this stage in our lives. They were so tiny. I’m really glad the girls are going to a university close by, just commuting a few days a week. This semester, they are only gone on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I love that. I know it won’t last forever, but I’m savoring the moments now. They are so fun to be with, especially at the mall. <3 I think God knew I needed a slow release. I don't think my heart could have handled anything else.
Shelli, I had to grin when I read your post about this. I had written this one but not posted it yet. 🙂 I’m glad for you that the girls are at a university nearby and that they are together! What a gift for them. 🙂
Yes. Savor. That’s what I want to do with each of my remaining moments with them. I’m so glad God knows what we each need. You are such a nurturer. He’s letting you nurture for a little longer. What a gift. 🙂
Dear Jeanne, these years, and the ones ahead, are already richer for the lessons you have learned about parenting. Stopping, soaking up, being intentional, how wise you are and how thankful you will be when your house becomes quiet. Thank you for sharing this poignant post for all the Mamas out there, no matter where they are in their parenting journey. Blessings! XOXO
Alice, thank you for your words. God has helped me to try to be “all in” for each phase of life. I’ve seen Him equip me for each stage. I know He will continue to do that as we walk through life with our boys. Thank you for stopping by today. 🙂
Yes, cherish the moments now and enjoy your boys.
But also note that the next phases of their lives in college, marriage, children are also a joy. I love relating to my kids as adults. When we stop treating them as kids and enjoy them for who they are, then the empty nest stage is good, too. By the way, enjoy the empty nest time with just you and your hubby. Because when grandkids come along, you’ll be obsessed! Great post. Soak in every stage of life!
Rebecca, my friend with a sweet grand daughter. I know you know. It’s a good thing to remember that, though, relationships change, it’s often for the deeper. I’m learning to enjoy my boys for who they are, but some days, they still need so much training! 😉
I’m not in a hurry for the empty nest time, but I’m not afraid of it either. My hubs is so amazing. I look forward to having more time to spend with him. And the grands . . . Yep, again. I’m not in a hurry. But I know I’ll enjoy.
What a beautifully sweet and touching post, Jeanne. I think the best one you’ve ever written.
I don’t mark the passage of time. I’ve always been an if-you-party-hard-enough-you’ll-get-to-have-beer-for-breakfast kind of guy, and one of my anthems is Joe Walsh’s “Life’s Been Good To Me So Far”, because really, it has.
Hope it’s OK to link the song!
Thank you, Andrew. I love how different our perspectives are. I always stop and think after reading your comments and posts. I can’t say I’ve ever wanted beer for breakfast . . . But more importantly, your perspective on life being good to you and holding to that? That’s beautiful. Thank you for your words here. 🙂