On Saturday my baby, my first born, the one who made me a mom… turned thirteen. My husband and I had talked of wanting to do something significant to mark the event, something symbolic and meaningful. Whatever we did, though, we wanted it to fit our family personality and the personality of our son. You can’t find that in a book.

We are a Saskatchewan prairie family. I wouldn’t say we are rednecks in the extreme sense of the word. Maybe a little pink-around-the-collar. My husband, with his brother and sister, grew up on the prairies– hunting, trapping, riding dirt bikes and horses, hating school, playing hockey, and going to church. My two sisters and I grew up on the prairie– reading, getting good marks in school, skating, playing with friends, and going to church.

My husband and I have three boys. We have homeschooled our children from the beginning of their lives. We had ideals and goals when we began our lives together. We wanted to live a simple life, free (as much as possible) from the expectations of society and the prevalent materialism generated by that society. We also wanted to live free of the expectations of religious christianity. I think we were loosely guided by that “being in the world but not of the world” concept. I know we have not been perfectly successful in creating the family we envisioned. I believe a family grows, just as a child grows. I have been evaluating a lot of things this weekend, the weekend of the birth of a young man in our family. These are some of those things…

1. Flexibility is one of the biggies when it comes to a happy home.

2. Forgiveness = love.

3. Celebrate together.

4. Cry together.

5. Touch death with your children.

6. Keep it simple.

7. Remember where you came from and teach that to your children.

8. Honour your mate’s heritage as much as your own.

9. Take a break once in a while.

10. Keep trying.

Not very profound, I know. But the older I get, the less profound I am. So…

Tyson’s Thirteenth Birthday

Thinking beforehand of Tyson’s birthday, Lyndon knew he wanted to spend some time alone with Tyson. Perhaps a hunting trip? I knew I wanted to play some kind of a role in blessing my child. But we also wanted to keep things fairly simple, free of ceremony for ceremony’s sake, and reproducible to a certain extent. After all, we have two more sons. Here is how it turned out.

Lyndon and Tyson went to Lyndon’s parents’ home on Friday. They planned to borrow a camper from them for our upcoming holiday. I expected them home Friday night, but they were delayed and spent the night at the grandparents’. Saturday morning, the morning of Tyson’s birthday, and… no Tyson. Flexibility.

I spent Saturday morning making Tyson’s birthday cake, remembering his childhood, and praying for him. They got home shortly after lunch and I could finally hug my boy and tell him Happy Birthday. Lyndon took a nap, and then we headed to the city. This is what Tyson wanted to do. He wanted to go to Moose Jaw, eat in a restaurant, and maybe go to a movie. So even though the day was more than half over, we jumped in the car. We did a little shopping, including buying Tyson the digital camera that was his birthday present. We ate in a restaurant, and then went to the theatre where we discovered we had missed the start of the movie by about a half an hour. Flexibility.

It was a beautiful evening and we decided to spend some time at Crescent Park. It was lovely. We walked through the park; the kids fed the swans (interrupted briefly by a narrow escape as a swan rushed out of the water and started attacking the kids’ feet), and Tyson took lots of pictures with his new camera. It couldn’t have been more perfect.

That evening, back at home, Tyson shared with me some of the things his dad had talked to him about– about what it meant to be a man. I cried, of course.

Sunday morning, before church, Lyndon gave Tyson a new, adult-sized compound bow. Together they outfitted it with sights, arrow rest, and quiver. They shot arrows at the bales, and Tyson was impressed with his dad’s accuracy. I am thankful that he has a father like Lyndon to measure himself against, not just in target shooting, but in life.

My final contribution was on Sunday evening. I wrote my blessing for my son on a card, and read it to him before he went to bed. This is what I wrote:

Tyson,

You are, and always will be, my precious first born son. Now you are a young man, with the promise of your life ahead of you. I pray that God will bless you in your life– with love and good work, and enough challenges to make you strong and humble.

I am so proud of the young man that you are. And I am looking forward to seeing the man you will become.

I pray that you will always love and honour your Father God, that Jesus will be your close friend, and that the Holy Spirit will be you guide.

I love you.

He hugged me and said, simply, “Thanks, Mom. That was really nice. This has been the best birtday ever”

And that was our weekend. Not profound. Not much ceremony. But something that fit the personality of our family, honoured our son, and marked the significance of this birthday in his life. I will treasure the memory in my heart always.

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