I’ve had a few consolation emails comforting me about Max leaving since I mentioned I was worried that we haven’t taught him enough.  And I just have to say thank you.

In pondering over my worries, I think I’m not so worried about him.  He’ll do fine.  Will he fall flat on his face a couple times?  Sure.  But that’s ok because failing miserably here and there and learning from that is what life is all about right?

Like I said, I’m not so worried about him, I’m more worried about us and how we will miss him.

When Max was in junior high and even maybe the first year of high school we used to wonder about him.

Why didn’t he go out more on the weekends?

Why was he ok to just sit home with us?

We would ask about what his friends were doing and shake our heads to ourselves.  He could take the social thing or leave it which was hard for Dave and me to understand since we were so social at that age…(yes, I was shy as they come and didn’t want to branch out, but I definitely still wanted to be with my other shy friends).  Was he just too socially awkward?  We were like these parents in one of my most favorite books:

But just like Chrysanthemum blossomed all on her own without her parent’s putting-her-under-the-microscope worries, Max did too.

Isn’t it funny how much we worry so much as parents sometimes?  I actually think some of the worry is helpful because it helps find solutions that can help in the long run, but that’s a post for another day.

For today I just think it’s funny to think back to how worried we were.

Because now we hardly see that boy of ours. 
If he’s not playing volleyball he’s doing something for school or busy with something or other with friends, running from one thing to the next.
And it makes me miss those days he sat home on the couch.  
Why is it such human nature to not appreciate something until it’s gone?
But it’s strange because I do REALLY appreciate this stage.  I’m not waiting ’til this boy is gone to appreciate it.  In fact, I’m appreciating it so much that it’s like a dagger in my heart so much when I see things like this:

And this:

And this:

And these two together who have never really known life without each other from day one.

And this video clip melts my heart.  Watch how mad Lucy is at first…that girl is feisty in case I haven’t mentioned that before, and an early morning trip to Angkor Wat wasn’t on the top of the list of her “I’d-love-to-do-this-today” agenda.  But Max has the magic touch with her to make her smile.

Who is going to cheer Lu out of her moods??

Max isn’t leaving for his mission until he gets one semester of school under his belt.  That is due to a little bit of prodding from his parents who think it will be so good for him (he’s really young for his grade and we’ve always thought it would be great for him to have a little college before he goes).

And he’s not even going off to college until August.

But with all his friends getting their mission calls right and left, Lucy has taken to asking for him to “travel safely to his mission” in all her prayers.

Oh boy she has no idea what’s going to hit her when that adored big brother of hers takes off.

But until then, we’re just holding on to this boy with all our might.

…and realizing more than ever how lucky we are to call him ours.  His slow smile, his calm demeanor (contrasting his sometimes hot temper).  His friends.  His dry sense of humor and one-liners.  We’re soaking it all in cause we have been blessed beyond measure to have him lead out our family.
It’s been fun the last few months to watch Max finally grow into that long, large body of his playing volleyball.  He’s figured out the timing and how to make everything come together and it’s fascinating to watch.  When he leaves, life won’t be the same around here but somehow that’s ok because just like growing into his body in volleyball, he’ll be growing into his soul out there.
And that’s going to be pretty fun to watch.
Ok and yes, he’s still going to be around working this summer.  Sometimes it seems like I’m mourning a death or something and I tell myself to calm down!  He’s not going to be far.  But we’re just preparing and living it up around here because it’s the last stretch of all being together under one roof before anyone really turns into an “adult.”  

And that changes things whether I like it or not.  So, as my sister says, “enjoy it, because it’s happening.”  And the “happening” part specifically right now is pretty fun.

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  1. I'm sitting here crying because I'm feeling the exact same emotions but we're on the opposite end of the scale. My oldest starts kindergarten in three months and I feel as though I'm throwing him out to the lions. For selfish reasons, we didn't enroll him in preschool (I wanted every precious moment I could have with him before I had to share him with the world) and part of me is regretting it. Would it have made this transition a little easier? Who knows. But I'm reminding myself often that this is what's supposed to happen. I'm just a huge worrier and hope that I've prepared him enough for this next step. Plus, I know we'll be in your shoes in a blink of an eye and that REALLY scares me!

  2. I have a son the exact same age (late August birthday as well as the oldest in our family ). We had always anticipated him getting a little schooling under his belt as well before his mission, but about a month ago he surprised us over the pulpit at church saying he was ready for his mission NOW! His papers are currently at church headquarters and we are anxiously awaiting his call. So I feel every emotion you are feeling and more, since his time with us is now shorter!! Thank you for sharing your experiences- it helps to know that another family out there feels the same about their boy.

  3. I have loved following your blog and although I don't know your family personally, it seems like you have raised some truly wonderful kids. I look at my little boy who's just 2 and I can't imagine how it will be when he's 18 and ready to leave the house. Prayers to you 😊

  4. That video!! Oh my. It made me cry. I have such tiny children and I might just love you forever for reminding me so often that it is going to go fast…so I had better soak it all in with gratitude.

  5. Oh that was just perfect timing for me to read your post. We have been struggling with our oldest boy (14) with a lack of school motivation. Not getting horrible grades but just not working up to what he can achieve. We do not have money to pay for college so we would love him to work hard and possibly get some assistance based on good grades. That doesn't look like it's happening! I've been feeling so disappointed in his lack of effort but am attempting to see the big picture and soak up the little things. He's a great kid…and I'm sure he will eventually mature…that's why 14 year olds don't go to college 😉 I'm working on being more positive than negative…which is hard as there always seems to be something that is a little off! Anyways…your post was perfect timing and I actually looked up some of your old posts on motivation. If you ever have a chance would love to hear any advice you have about grades/school/incentives/teaching intrinsic motivation etc. Thanks Shawni 😉

  6. A lot of boys around here wasted their freshmen year of college (eg my best friend's husband didn't go to medical school because of his poor freshmen year), so I'm glad my son will be able to go on a mission before going to college.
    I hope Max thoroughly enjoys BYU. I'm sure he will do well. The best thing I ever did at BYU was I read the first few chapters of each text before the semester started. Then I was ahead the whole semester and had no trouble understanding the lectures. I also made flash cards from the lecture notes and quizzed myself every day. Reviewing them throughout the semester made finals a breeze.

  7. You have me a little choked up because I am in that very stage right now. College and missions and just the youngest kids here at home now. Boy it's a wonderful life. We are so blessed to watch it and live it and soak it all in. So glad you are enjoying it too! Those feelings are so real.

  8. Oh Shawni! how I understand your feelings! My son is serving in India right now. Before he left he said, "Mom, I'm just serving a mission, I'm not dying". So I must have been demonstrating some of what your feeling 🙂

  9. I remember all of those feelings just like they were yesterday! My oldest son just came home from a mission in South Korea and my other son is still out serving, he's got another year. I am humbled and amazed by the changes I have seen in them both! What this mother heart of mine dreaded in the beginning has become the best thing in the world. God knows what he's doing when he sends these young men out into the mission field!

  10. Love this post so much! That boy is a marvel! What a joy it has been to see him grow up and grow into his own! The pictures and video made me choke up just realizing how lucky he is to have such remarkable parents and sibling, even as I realize how lucky you are to have him! JOY!

  11. Oh boy–I'm right there with you on this, as my oldest is graduating from high school next week! I just now got this text from him "Finished my last final. I'm done with high school. Weird." It made me cry I tell you! Oh man I'll be a wreck at his graduation. I am so proud of him and I have had many of the very same feelings watching him grow up (literally- he's not as tall as your boy but he's at least 6'4") and mature these last four years of school. He is staying here all summer and working too- then off to college in the fall. It's just six hours away (but not an easy-to-travel six hours because of where we live) but we'll sure miss him. His nine-year-old brother will miss him the most I'm afraid. What a wonderful journey this parenting thing is. Thanks for your insight & wisdom. 🙂

  12. I reread this again today, because I loved it so much yesterday. I've said before, that you're my one of my inspiration moms-with-older-boys. I've got a middle school boy who is the most friendly, easy-going, never-met-a-stranger kind of child – but one who does not feel the need to socialize outside of school. Like you, my mother's heart has always worried about that. So it's good to know that there are other boys (Max!) who have turned out just fine (socially). It's such a hard thing to sit back and watch your children be themselves, you know? But it's very reassuring to know that we're all in the same parenting boat! My best to you as you navigate these new waters!

  13. I tried ever so hard to be thankful that our dreams for our kids were coming true. That if they weren't going to do what we dreamed of for them, we would be sad. That's how we got through those *leaving* days! And that video, Oh. My. Word.

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