Thirty-Three Years of Being a Mom

At 9:13 a.m., January 31, 2011, my little boy will turn thirty-three years old. He has been married for eight and a half years and is now the father of three boys of his own -- making me a very proud grandma. Joshua is five, Andrew is almost four, and Pax is nine months old.

When I was thirty-three, Danny was a high school freshman. I like to think I was a much better mom to my high school son than I was to my little boy because ... well ... the truth is, I was still a kid myself when he was a little boy. I know that I wasn't the world's greatest mother back in those days. I didn't mistreat him or neglect him (unless you define neglect as frequently forgetting to pack snacks in his diaper bag for the church nursery). I just wouldn't have won any awards.

But I got better as we both grew.

Some of my favorite memories are from the years during which Danny would call and ask me if I would make pizza for him and some friends (throughout high school and college). I would usually ask how many friends he had in mind. Sometimes it was three or four. Sometimes a dozen. A few times he asked, "Is thirty too many?" (Usually during March Madness or for his birthday.) In contrast to his earlier years (when my tendency was to say "no" or "we'll see" to his requests), I almost always said yes to my teenager. And most of the time, in addition to pizza, I baked chocolate chip cookies. Lots of pizza. Lots of cookies. Lots of friends.

I think those were my favorite "mom years" (while Danny was living at home). I enjoyed getting to know his friends and cooking for them. And Danny used to joke that I was the reason he had friends in college. It wasn't true, of course, but I am remembered by some of his friends to this day primarily for my homemade pizza.

There have been a lot of good memories throughout the years. Danny was always a good kid. I'm sure he did some things I didn't know about. I never thought he was perfect or completely innocent. He endured many lectures (from me) about taking his school work more seriously (both in high school and college). And there were adolescent times when he felt his oats and got that tone in his voice. But I always knew I was very fortunate. He never went too far in any wrong direction. He has always loved God. And he has always looked forward to being a dad (as far back as I can remember).

I've enjoyed being Danny's mom at every stage of his life. However, no period of time has been more sweet or rewarding than the last ten or so years of watching him become a man. It is such a blessing, as a mother, to see the gifts God has given him develop and flourish in his life; as a coach and Bible teacher, as a husband and father, and most recently as an assistant pastor and youth minister.

One of the best days of my life was the day Danny and Rebecca got married. I had always looked forward to having a daughter-in-law. I saw the next step in his life as an enhancement of my own in that I would get to have a daughter as well as a son. And grandbabies -- which I also always looked forward to -- would be in view.

Three more "best days" of my life were the days each of those precious little grandsons came into the world. I think I cried every time I looked at Joshua the first year of his life (very happy tears). And although I have gotten used to being a grandma at this point, I still sometimes tear up just looking at one of them; thinking about how blessed I am and how much I love them.

For me, the best years of being a mom are not in the past when Danny was still little.
These are the best years (so far).

Danny, I'm so glad I get to be your mom. About this time (8:15 a.m.) thirty-three years ago, you were causing me a great deal of pain. For some mothers, childbirth is only the beginning when it comes to the pain they experience as a mother. But not this mom.

I am so blessed.

You have been a joy, an inspiration, and a friend. I am so thankful for you and so proud of the man you have become. I frequently tell you (and everyone) how blessed you are to have Rebecca. Today I want to tell you (and everyone) that I also think Rebecca is blessed to have you. And I think my grandchildren have the two best parents in the world.

Happy Birthday to you ... my wonderful son. I love you very much.


Danny Bryant said…
Thanks, mom. I love you.

The 'is thirty too many' memory made me laugh.

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