Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Pretty Freaking Amazing

Last night, my cell phone rang with an unidentified number. My heart fell as the caller on the other end identified himself as Officer Mayes with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and asked me if I was Marc's mother. My heart pounding, I managed to squeak out a yes while I quickly and silently prayed that everything was okay. 

You see, yesterday afternoon, Marcus had asked to go turkey hunting with a friend and the friend's family. I reluctantly agreed. Coming from a hunting family, I know without a doubt that Marcus has been raised with safety first and understands the laws. But I'm momma first and my boys are my world so even with training and preparation, I say a little prayer of protection as he walks out the door. 
Marcus several years ago with his first antelope

I was in the kitchen preparing his birthday dessert (today Marc turns 17) when the call came in. After identifying himself, I ask the most important question....Is Marc okay? Officer Mayes tells me that he has Marc and his friend are in custody and my mind tries to register what he's saying to me. He tells me that Marc and his friend are accused of poaching. My mind races from "he's safe" to "he's in the biggest trouble he's ever been in, he knows better." I ask Officer Mayes what happened and he tells me that the boys have said they "found" the animals but the officer doesn't believe them. 

And that's when I hear it. Something in Officer Mayes' voice isn't quite right. I can't put my finger on it but there's something off. I suddenly feel as if I'm on candid camera as I tentatively ask, "Are you serious right now?" To which the "Officer" replies, "yes ma'am, I am." 

It's at that point I realize that Officer Mayes sounds remarkably like Marcus. The voice is a little deeper but there it is....the monkey lips....I hear them through the phone. 

As the reader, I'm sure you're asking what the heck are monkey lips and what exactly are you getting at? Well, Marcus is a lousy liar. Thankfully! When you're looking at him as he's telling a fib, his lips stretch over his teeth as he tries to hide his smile. His eyes open wide as he tries to make you believe what he's saying. 

And that's what I heard....Marcus playing a joke on his mom, I could see his monkey lips as he tried to keep a straight face. 

"Marcus," I said, "not funny!" even as I grinned, thankful he's okay. He started laughing as I told him he's lucky because he was about to be grounded for the rest of his life. 

(in case you haven't caught on yet, my son follows the laws, he was pranking his momma)

So today, Marcus turns 17. 

Me and Marc (on the right)
I woke this morning feeling a little saddened and maybe mourning that my 'baby' has grown up. I stayed in bed a few extra minutes remembering his sweet, chubby little smile. Thinking of the times he used to crawl up on my lap for a little extra cuddle time. Wistfully dreaming of the ages when all I had to worry about was whether or not he was sharing his toys. 

But my sadness quickly lifted as I took a moment to celebrate the young man he is. It's an amazing thing watching your children grow and we celebrate each and every milestone. I wrote down his first step, his first word, his first bite of food, his first haircut, his first day of school. As a parent, I see all the posts about babies, babies, babies.

Marcus in the middle with his cousins

But there's something entirely different about celebrating your children as they near adulthood. Instead of celebrating the "typical" - you start to celebrate the person, their being, who they are.

I recognize the things that make Marcus uniquely Marcus. His strength, the way he's dealt with some adversity, his generous spirit, his sense of humor, the way his mind works through things, and his quiet confidence. His ability to bring joy to the people around him. The way no matter what he'll work to make you smile. 
Marcus just a few months ago

The past 17 years have flown by and I'm often left wondering where time went. I admit sometimes I wish it would slow down, and that I could tell Marcus to proceed with caution. And that I could share with him all the things I've learned since I was 17. That he could learn from my mistakes and save himself any trouble or heartbreak. I've wished often that I could protect him from any adversity, any struggles, and any falls. But I also know he'll stumble and may even fall but all those times (good and bad) will make up who he is. And quite frankly, he's pretty freaking amazing!

Love you Marc! You're my favorite oldest son!

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