Sunday, May 15, 2011

I think that everyone has a year in their life that they wont forget.  This has probably been that year for my son Jeff.

Sometimes I have to force myself to realize that Jeff is 22 years old.  In fact, it's today that he is 22 years old. That must be why he is my main focus today.

  I just love this kid.

  Do you ever wish you had just a couple more days like this?

To go back in time and remember what that felt like?
  In my case, I was only 22 myself in that photo. 
 I have a few memories.
  Love like I had never known it before in my life.  The most wonderful smell of a newborn baby in my arms.  And a feeling of overwhelmed that could cause me to melt down into tears. 
 Mark and I brought this newborn home and sometimes we laugh with wonder of how he made it through the first year of having such unequipped parents.

I would also love to see this smile, and hear all of the millions of questions again from this face, for just a couple of hours:

It was right around this time that I started to understand that Jeff had certain qualities that were going to take him further than most.  He was driven, determined, and had an intelligence that would soon surpass me. 

It was at about age 10 when Jeff  and I really bonded.  We decided we were on the same team and we could be quite a force to be reckoned with if need be.

We had just gone through a big move from Tennessee to Michigan and we partnered  up as buddies to get through our hard adjustment together.  

Those are special memories to me.

I digressed,
 I know I did.
  That will happen to a mommy who misses her boy on his birthday.  
Thank you for indulging me.

Lets get back to Jeff's big year

A year ago Jeff made some big decisions about his career.  He was about to get married and knew he would have to make his plans known to his bride to be and her parents.  That started a pretty big list of decisions and plans for a family who were not even officially together yet.  

God blessed Jeff with a Godly, wonderful woman to love him.  

And to play the way he plays, and to laugh the way he laughs.
  They share their passion for fitness and life in general.  

In July they had the most beautiful wedding I have ever seen.  

And we got a new daughter in law.

In August, after one month of marriage, Jeff started his senior year of college.
Mandy was a terrific help to Jeff as he got through this last year.  It was the toughest he has ever had.  The schedule was grueling, and sleep was a luxury he did not often get.
They also changed his schedule at UPS and his hours got even worse for a few months.
He went through like a trooper.

I think it was about January when he began to train for the Boston Marathon.  This was a huge bucket list goal for Jeff, and even though at first they were afraid he did not get in, he did it.  
The training was amazing, added to being a husband, full time college senior and UPS management trainee.

In April we got to watch him reach his goal.

Then, the icing on the cake in this big year was last week Jeff reached his goal of graduating from Middle Tennessee with a degree in Aeronautics.  

As I looked at this photo below, I could hardly believe that 22 years just passed so quickly.  I hope I made the most of enough moments that Jeff remembers it as well as I do.  I hope he knows how much of myself I put into raising him.  I hope that the closeness we still share never ends.  

And I know that it will take him years and years of this type of investment in his own child to understand how very proud of him Mark and I both are.  

Congrats Jeff.  We love you.
And Happy Birthday to our son, the man.


Anonymous said...

This was beautiful Mary. They say behind every great man is a great woman. You were that woman for the first 22 years of Jeff's life. Although it is now Mandy, your mark on his life will always be there, imbedded with love. I get a little of how you feel as I watch my own son starting to grow into a fine young man. We are truly blessed...and our daughters are the cherry on top! Love You....Terry

Meriposa said...

Love your blogs -- "real" life and feels like a good conversation with an old friend !! :)