Lately I have this growing dread growing in my heart.
It’s related to my son.
My one and only.
Because my heart sinks every time I think about the fact that he will graduate from high school in a year and a half.
And he will leave us.
And the dynamics of our family will change.
I envision us all slouching around in depression.
Because we will miss him like the dickens.

But instead of wallowing in that dread, I’m trying to celebrate all the greatness of having a son around.  Because man alive, this boy brings a whole bunch of them.
Don’t tell them I told you this, but he and his friends are kind of big goofballs.
And I love them for it.  I’m so grateful for goofy and smily rather than sullen and moody (which I’ll admit does sometimes come out, but not that often).
They wear around these crazy “animal” shirts from Walmart and post goofy things on Instagram.  
This was Max’s favorite Christmas gift:
(from Grace)
He bought this one with some Christmas cash he had.
…even after I let him know it was hideously ugly πŸ™‚  He just smiled and told me that’s why he loves it.
He has another couple, one of which cracks me up because he claimed it was his “good luck charm” for finals before Christmas.  See it here?:
He had so much luck on his tests the first day wearing that thing that he announced he was just going to HAVE to wear it the next day too.  
This is the text he sent Dave after he found out the grade on his last final:
Kind of made me tear up a little bit to be honest.  He worked soooo hard this semester with all his honors classes.
Yeah, I guess I kind of like the goat shirt too πŸ™‚
Our high school didn’t do a winter formal this year, but kind of fun for Max that he got asked to go to a Winter Formal at another school.
(Girls’ choice is harder than boys’ choice because I can’t barge in and take pictures like I did at Homecoming back HERE…I just have to take what I can get, and that was it.)
Then he got asked to our MORP (prom backwards, girls’ choice, less formal dance) at Christmas and even posed how I told him to before opening all the gifts his cute date left here while we were gone to church.

(Don’t those girls just look overjoyed??)

They already had their “day date:”

(that’s what kids do around here a few weekends before the dances…because apparently a long night together is not enough…but boy he had fun, we love Kayla πŸ™‚

And the real dance is in a couple weeks (I think).

I may have posted this before but I love this picture Lucy drew of she and Max because that’s just how they look when they are together…most especially the smiles, but Max’s pointy hair is pretty authentic too:)

Speaking of spiky hair, I get to be his hairdresser.

For Christmas Max gave Dave and I a bunch of stuff he made in his “clay” class at school (the only elective he could fit in that he has really liked).

I love the pots most.

Ok, just had to get those few things out while they’re in the front of my mind.

I don’t want it to sound like this boy of mine is a perfect, goofy soul.  We sure have had our issues over the years.  He’s my child I think I got most mad at in his pre-teens…my angry face close to his telling him all kinds of things that were infuriating me.  He was (and still is) very stubborn (he takes after his mama), and hesitant and shy to talk to adults (again, just like his mama when I was his age).   He can get super frustrated (again, from his mama…I once kicked a hole in my bedroom wall when I was his age…wait, did I just admit that??).

Dave and I worried because he was content to sit home and not do anything with friends (now we can scarcely keep him home), we worried he wouldn’t have enough motivation (he is now one of our hardest workers), we worried ourselves sick about every little thing (and still do…I think that’s the nature of parenthood, especially on your first-born).

But I love how all the frustrating and worrying times have mellowed over the years and have melded in to a beautiful tapestry of who we are now.  We have both grown and been humbled in so many ways.

And when that boy who now towers over me with a kind smile on his face puts his arm around me before running out the door sporting one of his animal shirts, I wonder how I will ever be able to let him go.

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  1. My Son is only a year younger than Max and guess what…he's my only kid!!! How am I ever going to let him go? I'm dying thinking about it. Max looks like a very good kid, and it looks like all the girls adore him πŸ™‚

  2. So sweet. Max is such a cute boy!

    I worry about my 13 year old because he's not very social so it's nice to hear that Max was that way too and now you can barely keep him at home. I'll just cherish the nights I have with my boy here while it lasts.

  3. oh I needed to read this, I have been worrying myself crazy, about my 6, I know, he's 6.. little boy, who tells me often, he's not going on a mission, he's going to live in my basement, and play xbox ( he doesn't get to play, so when he's older, he's in charge) LOL,

  4. I love that you share not only the fabulousness that is Max but also some of the difficulties. Our oldest (also a Max) is in the stage you described as not being motivated with much. This has given me such hope so thank you.

  5. I really needed to read something like this just now. We have a pre teen boy here who has suffered with anxiety most of his life. Just recently though things have escalated and everything just seems so overwhelming at the moment. You have given me hope that someday, this too, shall pass x

  6. I just have to say that I love kid weird shirts! They totally are crazy, but show that he has a fun personality! Reminds me of my FHE brothers from my first semester at BYU!

  7. I loved how you listed all of your worries you used to have. I have 1 boy and 3 girls too, and it appears as though I have these same worries, especially about motivation. Our little guy (8) is not a competative person, is very kind natured and shy. He is affectionate, focused, and stubborn. It's good to hear that they won't always be this way. I look forward to when my only boy blossoms!

  8. Stop worrying about your sons and just stop and hug them tight. I lost my only son, the baby of 4 sisters just 5 months ago. He was a 22 year old teddy bear with a big heart and soft hands. He stood taller than all of us. His life was taken in one instant when he was hit by a big rig truck coming home from work. Moms, worry less and hug more. It will all work out.

    1. Hi Sosilly,
      Julie from the UK here.

      I'm really sorry about your son, it must be so hard for you & your family.

      Take care & don't forget that you don't have to be strong & it's ok to cry/be angry etc as it's all part of grieving.

  9. I so appreciate this post and can't help but hope that my 11-month-old little guy turns out like your Max someday. That text is exactly the humor that I've always pictured my kids having. I love it. Thanks for sharing your life. You are such an inspiration to me as a young mother.

  10. Sorry Shawni…I feel like every time I comment I'm just asking you for more, more, more πŸ˜‰

    Would LOVEEEEE to hear more about the motivation issue. Our oldest, of course the one I worry the most about, is a fabulous kid but is very content to not work that hard. (A straight B kid, capable of all A's). I feel like we are trying SOOOO hard to instill self motivation in him but it doesn't seem to be working…but it's so nice to hear that things work out eventually??? If you ever have a chance we'd love to hear about it…13 has been the hardest age yet…I'm wistful thinking back to the "easy" babies πŸ˜‰

  11. This post meant so much to me. You are an parenting example to me in so many ways, but the part I loved the most and found most encouraging was your reflection on how so many of the things you worried about changed over the years as Max grew. I have a few of my kids who I just worry over every second; they are constantly in my prayers and my heart breaks in advance for the struggles I fear they'll have. However, reading your words, I realized and was touched by the fact that they could change. Their weaknesses could become strengths, their fears replaced with confidence, and their challenges become blessings. Thank you so much.

  12. It's hard. My oldest son left on his mission 12 months ago and letting go was so hard. Not just letting him go, but letting go of our family dynamics. It does change your family and I wasn't prepared for that. It takes a while to get use to the change. Just love every moment.

  13. That was very sweet. I always say I don't want boys but this makes me think it might be ok to have one, one day πŸ˜‰ Also, this is very random and a little off topic but Max is so tall! Where do you find clothes that fit well? The guy I am dating is 6'7" and finding things that fit can be a challenge.

  14. Oh Shawni, you always do that. Write up some lovely snapshot of your life, and end it with a sucker-punch of nostalgia. Gets me every time! I hope you soak in & enjoy ever bit of these next 1 1/2 years. xo

  15. Of all your fabulous posts, this is my favorite. Thank you for keeping it real. I teared up when I read that you had kicked a hole in your wall. Seriously πŸ™‚ I'm staring at our own wall with a nice hole created by my 13 year-old son. This post gives me a lot of hope. Thanks so much.

  16. My son and first born went to college this year. The weeks (and months) leading up to him leaving were so hard! I was excited for him and proud of him and I didn't want it to be about me but boy was I sad. I even got sick the weekend we were taking him to school and my husband is convinced it was because I was so stressed out BUT as hard a it was there is an upside. It is really exciting and satisfying to see him thrive at college and talk with him about his experiences. My two at home miss him but their relationship with him has grown closer in some ways because they reach out to each other through texts and calls on their own and I think they have grown to appreciate each other more. I just remember being so sad and I wanted someone else to know who is anticipating the change that it gets better and there are things to look forward to. My relationship with my son has really grown and matured these past months.

  17. We saw him and his friends at Chipotle this weekend & my gosh he is so tall. I mean I'm only 5 feet, so he seems extra tall. He had on a cat shirt & my husband & I laughed all night about it. My little brother, that is Brimley's age, did the same things, except his specialty were tie-dyed tank tops. yikes.

  18. I so appreciated reading this. Thanks for sharing how you worry about him (I worry so, so much about my oldest — he is just nine, but I've been worrying since day one!) and how it is ALL WORKING OUT — that is a message I need to hear! I guess all the worry just means I want the best for my son, right? All the same, I am going to try stop worrying so much and just love and enjoy more!

    Happy belated birthday!

  19. What a sweet post, Shawni. If you are like us with a junior in high school, then Max is making college visits. Wow, where did the time go? Love all of your pics and of course your honesty πŸ™‚ hugs, cathy

  20. The first six months, I hear, is heartbreaking!!! but the last 18 months goes by so, so fast. Don't worry =) while he is gone, you will be more blessed than you could ever imagine! Sounds like you've got a good kid, and he will be a blessing to lots of people =)

  21. OH that made me cry!! I can't imagine…I am dealing with mine "graduating" from elementary school to the scary world of middle school!! I tear up every time the words "middle school tour" are mentioned!!! Thank you for sharing your love for your kids with us every day! I am always so inspired!!

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