Cherishing Those Teenage Boys

Here’s a throwback to 2012:

I have mixed emotions – thought I’d write to try and sort it all out.  I’m going to be working with a woman to help her with her book as part of my Profitable Author Coaching program, and in preparation for my first call with her, I’ve been reading her blog.

I’m a little concerned that this may be one especially difficult project for me, because as much as I look forward to helping her achieve her goals, the topic is tough.  She lost her 16 year-old son to a heart disease less than 2 years ago, and her book and her blog is all about going through the grieving process and coming out on the other end okay.

As I read her posts, I couldn’t help but feel fearful that I’m not doing enough to cherish the time I have with my own children, especially my teenage sons.  In less than 5 days I will be sending my oldest son Jacob (age 19) to a 2-year church service mission, and it’s impossible for me to imagine how I will do without him for that long.

I’ve thought it will be a piece of cake, because he’s always on the go, always busy, and I hardly see him now as it is, but the closer it gets, the more worried I feel that I haven’t done enough to savor the time we’ve had together.  Reading about this woman’s son who has passed on is making it especially difficult.

Additionally, my sixteen year-old son Nathan was also born with a heart defect (TAVPR), and underwent open heart surgery as soon as they discovered the total lack of connection between the veins coming from his lungs and his left atrium, as well as an obstruction that complicated matters.  It was repaired, thanks to the miracle of modern medicine – in all the thousands of years that humans have been on the Earth, it’s amazing to me, and it brings me much gratitude to think, that had he been born some 50 years earlier he probably would not have survived.

Even still, I remember over hearing the doctor tell the intern at his 3 month check up: “Children with his defect AND obstruction don’t typically make it past 3 months, even after surgery” – but here he was growing, thriving, and ready to take on the world in spite of it.

Now he’s 16, singing in the choir and playing tennis every chance he gets.  Am I making enough memories with him? Am I living life in such a way that I will have no regrets? Is it even possible? No matter how well we live, and how much attention we give our relationships, will we always find something to regret?

One thing I know is that there is a time to mourn and a time to rejoice. Without sadness we could never understand happiness. I’ve lived with my Jacob for 19 years and don’t know what it’s like to live without him. Perhaps sending him on his way next week is the only way I’ll really come to understand what we’ve had all along.

I love you, Jacob and Nathan – I’m so proud of you both and pray that you’ll feel the depths of my joy that you are mine now and forever.

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Leslie Householder

5 Responses

  1. Leslie,
    It touches my heart to read your thoughts and feelings about your own sons. I’m glad that my experiences are encouraging other parents to appreciate the precious time they have with their children. Going through the temporal loss of my son has taught me so much and helping others learn by sharing my feelings and experiences makes the loss seem less painful.

    My two oldest sons went on missions and being able to communicate with them even though they were far away was such a blessing. I don’t mean to take away from the difficulty in having your son be away for two years I do understand how that feels. I encourage parents to hug their children every chance they get … you never know. In life there are no guarantees.

    I am so thankful for the opportunity I have to work with you.

    Thank you!

  2. I went thru the same thing when my first son left about 18 years ago. I cried the whole year before he left and wished I’d done more. My 4th missionary and 7th child got back about a year ago. We survived. And as we talk about memories, it is interesting that they remember them in a much more positive vain than I do. Love the way you express yourself.

  3. Love it, Leslie. You will, however, love those missionary letters and love the growth you see in your son. There is a joy and fullness of heart that cannot compare– even to our sad hearts that miss them. What an exciting time!! I’m with ya in all this! ;o)

  4. You’ve expressed my sentiments exactly. I had the same feelings and questions two years ago as well. I continue to hope that what I did do that was right was enough and then I keep trying to do better and hope because of the power of the Atonement. God Bless, Leslie. You will find much joy in his missionary experience.

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