In my mother’s heart I should be mourning right now.  Today the boy who first made me “mother” is turning 16. Instead of snuggling softly in my arms, my mind in awe of his peaceful straight-from-Heaven demeanor, his towering 6’5” frame makes me feel small.  My mind is now in awe of the man he is becoming.  Who is polite and kind and makes good choices…. Despite my plunders as a mother who is trying to figure out this parenting gig with him as my first guinea pig. I should be devastated that my only boy is done with scouts forever. 2007-09-06 Green Family 0177-2 That his beloved blanket has gone from this:01688_n_8ablnh9hs752 …to this:02088_n_8ablnh9hs3046…and is now nothing but a faded memory from that little boy so long ago. Gone are the days of hauling his cello to and from school:2007-09-07 kids 0056 …and little league teams of every sort.2004-04-27 gym & baseball 0302004-04-27 gym & baseball 03402511_n_8ablnh9hs3372010-03 kids and sports-1189 …and being able to squish him into a pumpkin.Pumpkin Joy School days whisk through my mind.Joy School And images of the ever-patient big brother with sisters constantly surrounding him:2004-04-11 Easter 048 2004-07-18 Bear Lake 0042007-06-06 Lucy's surgery 02562008-04-21 photoshoots 02332008-04-27 photoshoots 000102866_n_8ablnh9hs300502961_n_8ablnh9hs290103360_n_8ablnh9hs1811Max & Elle b&w2013-04-07 general conference 72985 Yes, my mother’s heart should be squashed and ripped in two because my baby has gone from this:Beach Baby To this:2009-06-03Priesthood hike0178 To this:2013-05-19 summer kick-off 758322013-04-02 misc 72408 …while I blinked. So why can I hardly help myself from letting that slow smile I see so often mirrored in his face creep across my own? Maybe it’s because I never knew back then how much more fun things would get.  I thought I needed to hold onto that babyhood and boyhood with all my might (which of course I always will). But who he is becoming is even better. And instead of my heart being squelched it is growing by leaps and bounds every day. A few months ago I was driving him to school.  He had missed the bus.  I was frustrated with him because he was letting volleyball consume his life and interfere with his grades.  I was huffy.  I was worried about his motivation.  I was worried I was failing as his mother.  I was pleading with Heaven to help me help him.  He plugged in his iPod and Coldplay’s “Fix You” floated out into our silence. I’ve always liked that song, but that morning with the sun streaming through the windshield and my eyes welled up from lack of sleep and worry, it spoke right to my heart. “When you feel so tired but you still can’t sleep…” “And the tears come streaming down your face…” “When you lose something you can’t replace…” “Lights will guide you home…” “I will try to fix you.” And as the beat got going and I blinked out silent tears behind my sunglasses I thought about how much I wanted to “fix him.”  To turn him into who I think he’s supposed to be. But quickly I realized I wasn’t “fixing” him at all. He was “fixing” me.  He has taught me more than I can say, this oldest child of mine. Through the peace he exudes. The slow smile. The calm demeanor. The sparkle in his eyes. His quick wit when I need a laugh. His thankful attitude. I loved that baby boy of mine with my whole heart. But that heart of mine keeps expanding to fit that huge boy he’s become inside. And I’m so grateful he’s there to help “fix me.” Happy Birthday dear Max. Love you forever.

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  1. Joyeux anniversaire from France, Max! Keep your big smile even when your mom can't stop taking pictures of you! You seem to be a great boy! 🙂
    Anne Camille

  2. Hello! I've read your blog for years without commenting, but I felt I had to comment today. June 3rd is my sweet, first-born, only-son's birthday, too. Happy coincidence. Happy Birthday, Max!

  3. That is one of the sweetest posts I think I've ever read. I am a mom to four, my oldest is 7, my sweet boy. I've often wondered how it is that my Kieran has already grown so quickly, how he isn't that little baby anymore, yet he always will be in my heart. I often wish I could slow time, but also saw things differently this morning through your memories, and all that I will have to look forward to. What beautiful words about your son, I am sure he is proud to be your son and it is so clear how proud you are to be his mama. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Beautiful thoughts and reflections that mirror my own as my children stretch and grow while I am not looking! Thanks Shawni for sharing your boy with us. Happy birthday, Max!

  5. well so much for keeping it together today… I just dropped my oldest, my boy, off for a 3 day campout- his first time away from family, and he was so excited he hopped on the bus without a goodbye! Why do they grow up so fast?!

  6. I read your blog often but have never commented. I love all of your posts so much. This one was particularly great to me. As my kids grow and are becoming tweens and teens I have been struggling with the balance between mourning the loss of the little versions of them, while being constantly delighted by the bigger versions of them. I love how you captured that in this post! As well as how are children teach us so much as we learn how to be parents to them!
    Thank You!!

  7. Well, this post made me do the ugly cry!

    My firstborn, a little boy, is 5 and reminds me very much of Max's little boy pictures. I'm sending him to kindergarten and I have been beside myself. I'm glad to know my life with him isn't over. 😉

    Happy Birthday Max!

  8. Shawni- your perspectives on motherhood have truly changed my life & the ways I think of my own children. You are doing God's work every day, thank you for answering my prayers 🙂

  9. This is a beautiful post. Max (and his siblings) is so lucky to have you to be able to express such love for him so eloquently.

    Happy Birthday!

  10. Tears…this hit a nerve as my sweet oldest turned 6 on Saturday. Let me cherish each moment while wishing time would slow down, but also while always embracing the wonderful girl she is becoming!

  11. This totally made me cry. My oldest son just turned 16 a few months ago. I feel the same emotions that you expressed so well. Our stake is doing its first ever Pioneer Trek this summer, and he is going not so much because he wants to, but because his fourteen-year-old sister is going and wants him to come. He is very sweet to his sisters like Max is.

    Happy Birthday Max–I hope your day is wonderful and that you realize how blessed you are to be born into a family such as yours.

  12. This has me in tears! Such a beautiful piece about your baby all grown up. My oldest is just 5 1/2 but I feel like he teaches me more than I could have ever realized. Such wonderful spirits we're entrusted with. Thank you for sharing and happy birthday to your Max!

  13. That picture of him with spit-up on him is priceless! I am also watching my oldest grow up (14 and a half), who is also my only boy, who is also the older brother to four lucky sisters, although mine seems to bug and tease his sisters to no end (or until sisters -or mom and dad- scream at him to stop.)You should be proud, mom.

  14. What beautiful thoughts on the fleeting years of our children. It is so important to remember that even while we physically lose that babyhood and childhood it is all still there and developing into so much more. What a blessing our children are in our life. Thank you for writing and sharing this.

  15. Happy Birthday to Max! My oldest daughter will be turning 17 next month and my youngest daughter will be 16 in October. I don't want them to grow up so fast and yet I'm enjoying seeing what great young adults they are becoming. Ok, now I'm getting teary as well…

  16. Just wait Shawni, My 20 yr old daughter got married in the Temple last saturday and her younger 17 yr old brother graduates from High School this saturday, were did the time go?? This is the hardest thing I have ever had to go through, I know it's all part of the plan but "boy howdy" this is hard, I feel for ya!!!

  17. This so touched my heart. I have been full of worry lately, for my oldest son. He is on the road to becoming a teenager and I love him so very much. But there are parts of his personality that drive me CRAZY and that I am always trying to change about him. He is SOOO laid back and sloooow- I tell him he will be late to his own wedding! But I realize that I need to embrace him- all of him. And stop trying to change him. He is such an amazing, smart, handsome boy. I know he will make an excellent man someday. Thank you for the reminder. I needed this!

  18. I have followed your blog for a long while and love everything about it. I love that you are real. That you share the frustrations that I feel as a mom that wants so much for her sweet babies.

    This post brought tears to my eyes and I think about my sweet oldest boy that is so excited to move on to 3rd grade. He has made me a different and I hope better person and I am so excited for the man he is going to become. A very happy birthday to Max…I don't know you but I am sure with a mom like yours (from what I know reading about you), you are amazing.

  19. Shawni I had to laugh when I saw your pics of that bedraggled favorite blanket. My now 17 year old son has that exact same scrap left from his blanket! Enjoy every minute, they are so precious and they grow so quickly! God bless Max and your family. Thanks for your wonderful and inspirational blog.

  20. So sweet and beautiful. Something that came to my mind a few days ago when I was preparing a talk on divine nature for a rs lesson, was that I was trying so hard to turn my kids into who I wanted them to be, "fixing them", that I some how forgot that the have their own divine nature and their own plan. They are great kids with different personalities and destinies. They are definitely fixing me and teaching me. I really love your post. It Let's me know that the future of my kids growing up, is bright. Happy birthday max!!!!

  21. Thank you for your words. My firstborn son was my teacher in how to be a Mom. My teacher passes away prematurely, at age 38. Miss him.
    Hang on to the precious moments. One never knows how precious they may be.

  22. Don't they just grow up so fast? My oldest will be 15 next month. Driving! So crazy.
    Hey, I wanted to let you know that I linked over to your blog today. Both your home page and the page on Elle's room. Hope that' OK!

  23. Oh my gosh – I don't know you at all – but I've been following your blog for a year or so now – and I just adore all of your posts. I feel this same kind of love for my little boys but have never been able to put it into words. Woo – this post really moved me! Thank you!

  24. I have stumbled onto your blog. This post is priceless. what is it with these amazing Young Men? I have a 15 yr old boy and I wish time could stand still! So wonderful that these young kids can teach us. It is now we need to remember that we need to be teachable! Wonderful blog!

  25. Shawni,

    One of my best friends is Kara Kelly, your husband's cousin. I love reading your blog. I have two young young boys (3 1/2 and 2 1/2), and I get so anxious about the future, etc… I just want to freeze time. I needed to hear this tonight as I have been so fearful of their futures. Thank you. Ashley Richards

    P.S. My dad knows your mom well. They grew up together in Montpelier, Idaho. His name is Kent Murdock

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