God’s Good Idea

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NOTE:  Beau passed away in a car crash on Labor Day of 2014.  He was only 17 years old. As I write this, tomorrow is Labor Day, 2017.  So I felt it appropriate to post this on the weekend that we commemorate and reflect on our beautiful son, Beau.

GOD’S GOOD IDEA

When I was 29 years old, Don and I had been married for four years.  We moved to the Yampa Valley to a small town near Steamboat Springs.  There, we had our first baby girl. We named her Brenna.  A sweet bundle of joy.  When we looked into her face and eyes, we saw a miracle.  We saw God.  His creation…so tiny and so perfect and so ours!     Twenty-two months later, we had moved to Pueblo and there we had our second child. Another beauty.  Another treasure.  A baby girl.  We named her Kendall.  She was a lively bundle of fun and excitement.  She also was and is perfect.  With a heart the size of Jupiter, she made our hearts full.

Two years passed.  We moved to Denver from Pueblo.  I had settled into the idea that I was finished having children.  I felt full and complete with two beautiful baby girls.  I did not need another child.  And I did not want another child.  I told Don that we were finished.  I didn’t want to go through childbirth again.  I was so busy with two kids, that I knew that I could not handle another one.

But God had another idea.

One morning I woke up and felt sick and fatigued and wondered…

Sure enough, the test came out positive.  And 39 weeks later, along came our Beau Matthew.  Beau Matthew was a name that we picked out if Brenna had been a boy.  And again, if Kendall had been a boy.  So when our boy made his appearance into the world, the first thing that Don said to me was “Mama, we have our Beau Matthew.”  Our hearts were full and happy that we had our boy.  Our Beau Matthew.

Each time I held him and fed him and gazed down upon this little wonder, I recalled my prior sentiment.  NO more kids.  I am finished.  And it dawned on me that he was not my idea.  He was God’s Idea.  And a really, really good one.  I remember looking up to heaven with a grateful heart and saying, “God, what a good idea you had!”  And I remember thanking him, profusely…from the depths of my soul.  What a good idea this little man in my arms was.  What a Good Idea, God!

I watched him grow.  I watched him tumble and fall.  At one point, we nicknamed him “Cowboy.”  Always climbing onto everything.  And falling off of things.  But getting up and going again.  In time, the nickname changed to “Tiger” because he was wild and silly and so much fun.  Running here and there and everywhere.  Trying to keep up with this little Tiger was a challenge, but a fun one.  God’s Good Idea was a Tiger!

An upturned chair to me was an upturned chair.  But to my little man, it was a tunnel to Neverland.  It was a cave in the wild.  It was a hiding place.  It was fun.  My “mom paradigm” had to shift, as I had never had a boy before.  This little creature was foreign to me.  I did not understand him.  I did not understand the upturned chairs and the climbing and the untold energy inside of this little body.  But what I did understand was that he was a JOY to hold and watch and raise … and love.   God’s Good Idea.

As he grew older, his energy level never diminished.  He had the energy of a thousand stars.  We put him in every sport that we could to burn off that energy.  We put him in Inline Hockey, T-ball, LaCrosse, Little League Baseball,  Flag Football,  Football, and Wrestling.  He finally settled on wrestling.  God’s Good Idea became a wrestler.

Wrestling made so much sense to me.  This is what boys naturally do.  Wrestle.   He loved to wrestle.  We spent hours and hours with him at tournaments.  We loved every minute of it.  From the thrill of the pin to the agony of defeat.  We were with him through it all. In late January, 2014, wrestling regionals rolled around.  This turned out to be Beau’s very last wrestling season, junior year.  God’s Good Idea had grown into a very competitive wrestler.  He had written his goals on the mirror of his bathroom.  Going to the state wrestling tournament was one of his goals.  He worked very hard in the weight room and on the mat to get there.  Just prior to that tournament, he had been state ranked at 8th or 12th, or something like that, in his weight class.  He was very proud of that.  I was proud of him too.  However, he was made to wrestle up at the next weight due to not making weight about a week or two earlier.  We tried to pep talk him as much as we could, but we knew.  The weight class was not Beau’s and sure enough, he was out after two matches.  He immediately ran to me and fell into my arms … and cried  and cried on my shoulder.  I am here for you.  I love you.  I will hold you.  Whether you are six or sixteen. I am with you always.  Whether it is in the agony of defeat or the thrill of victory.   He then found Don and fell into his arms and cried and cried.  We tried to piece him back together that night.  We took him for a pick me up at Old Chicago with his pal, Rylen. There he posted his first post-tourney meal on Instagram and ate it up. We dropped him off at the team hotel to be with his team.   On our way home, I cried incessantly over what had happened to him.  As a mom, it still hurts my heart.  I will love you always.  I will let you cry.  I will hold you.  I will support you.  I will help you.  I will be there for you NO matter what.  I love you, God’s Good Idea.

In March of 2014.  When Beau went to get his tires rotated at a local tire company, he was on his way home. One tire had evidently not been properly secured, and on his way home, it came rolling off resulting in Beau going off the road and being scared out of his wits.  We were on our way home from paying for those tires, but when we got the call and on the other end heard a crying and scared boy, we immediately turned around and went to him.  I hugged him as soon as we got there. He cried on my shoulder.  He was scared.  He was shaken.  My boy.  I love you.  I am here for you.  You are mine.  I will take care of you.  I will hold you.  I will let you cry on my shoulder.  I will stop what I am doing and I WILL be there for you.  Always.  You are worth it, God’s Good Idea.

Each year that Beau’s birthday rolled around, I recall a grateful heart as he blew out his candles that he was God’s Good Idea.  I breathed “Thank you, God, for this good idea.” And it did not matter what age he turned, two years, five years, nine years, twelve years, fifteen or seventeen.  Each time we sang Happy Birthday to him, I breathed thanks. Thanks to God, for His Good Idea.

Brenna and Kendall miss him.  Don misses him.  I miss him.  We all want him here. Naturally.  We all have questions.  Simple ones, like what would his hair be like now? Who would his girlfriend be?  Would he come home on Labor Day Weekend to see us? We will always just have to wonder.

It was three years, yesterday, that Beau got into that car.  Three years since we have seen him face to face.  Three years since we said goodbye to God’s Good Idea.  I will never know why He had to take His Good Idea away from me.  But one thing that I DO know, even as I write this, is he was NOT my idea.  He was God’s idea.  He was given to me for just seventeen years and four months to love and to hold and to nurture and comfort. But he was and STILL is God’s Idea.  Not mine.  It has taken me three years to relinquish my son to God.  And it will take me a lifetime to continue to do so.  It is the struggle of all struggles. So many kids make the same mistake but don’t pay for it with their lives.  He did not want to die.  I did not want him to die.  God’s Good Idea…left me.

But I know.   He’s not really gone.  He is tucked safely in the arms of the One who even conceived of him in the first place.  The One who knew the number of hairs on his head. The One who knew the exact number of days that he would live.  The One whose idea he was in the first place.

I sure don’t have all the answers.  I never will.  But God’s Good Idea is in a safe place and I intend to see him again.

Someday.

Graduation Season

Screen Shot 2017-07-11 at 4.50.57 PMThe months of May and June have come and gone.  And with that, I breathe a sigh of relief.  You see, these months are graduation months.  Months of celebrations for young people who are graduating and moving on to the next new thing.

While I am happy for all of these young people … the season still sends signals of sadness to my brain and heart.  I don’t want to be misunderstood here.  I WANT to hear about the graduation of your sons and daughters.    So I am not in any way asking to be taken off of your mailing list.  I am just thinking “out loud.”  It is not anyone’s fault that my 17-year-old son, Beau, passed away in a car crash only 8 days into his senior year.

But for those of us who live without our child having graduated from high school due to their untimely death, regardless of circumstance, it is just sad for us.  The first year without him, we had to leave town during various seasons.  We left town during the Prom season AND stayed off social media. During the graduation season, we did the same.

So with all this said, I want to THANK you for sending graduation announcements to us, as this is GREAT news!  But I also ask for your understanding and forgiveness that we cannot attend the party/celebration.

I had an envelope in our safe at the start of Beau’s senior year in which I started to save money for his graduation celebration.  At the point of his departure from this life, I had saved a whopping $25.  Over the course of the year, I had a plan to put away $25 to $50 each month so that we could have a fun celebration for him.  His wish was that he could have a party with his friends.  A combined celebration, of sorts, with four or five of his pals at Fox Run or Dirty Woman Part in our town of Monument, Colorado.  You see, he did not want us to have a party just for him at our house as we had done for our girls in 2010 and 2012.   That sounded too dull to him.  He wanted to celebrate with his friends, and their families AND with our friends and family.  So we said “Sure, no problem.”  I had also saved some banners from previous parties that said “Congratulations Graduate!” etc. in my basement for that wonderful time in Beau’s and our life.  That envelope still sits in my safe with the $25 inside because, like a lot of things, I just do not have it in me to get rid of it.  The banners, however, I disposed.

Beau had plans.  In elementary school, he planned to become a Special Education Teacher.  In high school, he had plans to become a Social Studies teacher.  More recently, he had plans to get out of the house just like many young people and go to college. When I was that age, I left at 18 years old and went off to Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado.  It was a wonderful time in my life that I will never forget and will always cherish.  So I could totally relate to Beau’s excitement about leaving the nest and being independent. He probably had other thoughts in his wild mind about not having us down his throat about where he was going and when he would be home and what he was putting on social media and the dirty, wet towels on the floor and his messy bathroom.  The bottom line, however, was that he had plans. Plans to be on his own.  At the time just before his leaving us, he and I got on the website of Colorado Mountain College (CMC). Beau was not the scholarly type who studied incessantly.  He did not care as much about his grades as I did.  He was completely content to skate by with C’s.  Even D’s did not seem to faze him, much to the chagrin of his teacher mother.  The grades that he had were not up to par to attend CU Boulder, CSU Fort Collins, or the like.  So I thought CMC would be the perfect choice for him.  We searched for the different majors, the requirements, the tuition, etc. One of the fields of study at the Steamboat location was Snowboard Management.  That fit the bill for him at that time and it became his plan to apply there in the near future.   Yes, he might have changed his mind during the course of the year to attend a different school or study something else, but we will never know.  The near future never came for him.  His plans to attend college and leave the coop never became his reality.  Nor ours.

When Beau first died (even that is STILL hard to say!), Don and I called it The Great Sadness.  A part of us died that day too.  His death threw us both completely off course and while we are “better” (whatever that means),  we will never be completely back on course.  Never.  Yes, we live.  We get out of bed.  We go to work.  We function and perform with surprising success.  We put smiles on our faces.  But we will never be the same.

So parents, thank you for understanding!  We are happy … so happy for your child!!!   Leaving the nest to embark on the future is a good thing.  This is what should happen! Kids should graduate and there should be a celebration!  We wish your children all the happiness heaven can muster.  Truly.

But now it is July, and we move on.  Another graduation season has ended.  Another one will happen again.  We know.  In the meanwhile, we guard ourselves.  That is our reality.

Thank you for understanding and please don’t take us off your mailing list.

My Boy

My Boy

Introduction:  This is the poem that I wrote for my Beau which was read by his sister, Kendall, at the funeral.  When you lose someone you love so dearly, all you want is to celebrate their life as beautifully as possible.  To let everyone know what a beautiful person this person was.  Many came to celebrate with us that September 6, 2014.  Many did not know Beau.  And many more did.  Whatever the case, I wanted everyone to know what Beau meant to me.  This is the edited poem that I wrote for My Boy. Continue reading “My Boy”