Today marks another day of change at the Erwin house; our son, Connor, our ‘bio-baby’ went to college.
I feel that all too familiar lump rise up in my throat as I type. It seems like I should be used to this, after all this isn’t my first rodeo! I’ve been there, done that, three times before and gotten the t-shirts. But it makes no difference. It hurts when my kids leave the nest. There’s a void in our home and in my heart when I don’t see them every day. I miss them, terribly.
I was thinking tonight, with tears in my eyes, about who my boy is and what he means to his momma. This boy, this burgeoning man, is the same little 13 month old that Jeff pulled limp and lifeless out of his crib. If I close my eyes I can see the snapshot in my mind: Jeff on his knees with his arms outstretched-Connor cradled in his hands. As I frantically dialed 911, I wondered if this was the last time I would see my husband hold our fourth-born child. I wondered if I was about to experience a tragedy that only those who have experienced it can understand. Yet God was faithful, and although he had several febrile seizures over the next few years, our son was alive. This is the same two year old who understood, in his own childlike way, the grief of foster care. As he watched his momma prostrate herself on the kitchen counter and weep, he pulled on her jeans and lifted up an open band-aid that was squishy with Neosporin….he knew momma had a boo-boo and that was the only way he knew to fix it. This is the same kindergartner who threw himself down and screamed all through the school on the first day and the same little guy that in second grade refused day after day to leave the parking lot. This is the same 8 year old who washed cars with our neighbor and got on his knees and asked Jesus to be his Savior. This is the same pre-teen that poured himself into the lives of others, prayed for our neighbors, apologized when he wronged someone, and developed deep and lasting friendships as he came to understand the intrinsic value of every individual. This is the same high school senior who was chaplain of his high school, preached to and led the student body, all the while being authentic, a little crazy and anything but perfect.
This is the same young man who two nights ago looked me in the face and said ‘mom, did you know you’re gorgeous?’
This baby, this toddler, this preschooler, this elementary student, this pre-teen and high school graduate is the vivacious, compassionate, selfless, loyal, basketball playing, humor-filled, knee-bowing, video-making young man that I have the incredible honor and privilege to call my son. He, like my other 5 children, is irreplaceable, invaluable; an un-appraisable gift. And tonight, this momma may have an empty room in her house and tears in her eyes, but her heart is completely full.