Monday, May 11, 2015

Happy Birthday, Nolan...





Today you turn, 15, Nolan!  You're able to start working on your driver's permit, and have already staked out the Suburban as your car of choice.  You shot up to 6 feet tall, this year, and in so many ways are more, man, than child.  

So many hockey "doors" have started to open, and your mentors have seen us through, trying to figure out how to navigate, the opportunities coming your way.

All of this, despite having to learn to tolerate a lengthy healing process.  And yet, your work ethic hasn't been deterred for long.  The shooting tarp has been thoroughly christened with new puck remnants all over it, as you moved back outside to shoot.  

I love that I see the goals you want to achieve, taped to the bathroom mirror downstairs.  You face them every day, and the numbers may change, but the manner in which you conduct yourself, doesn't.

You even signed up for an extra session with your trainer, Joel.  So you lift weights at 6 in the morning, and then you do another full session of cardio.  You're so excited to be feeling better and ready to push yourself into meeting your new goals. 

Finally, this last week, you quietly received the biggest gift of all.  When you were asked by a coach to do some skating, you were officially cleared to get back on the ice.  A twinkle is back in your eye.  


Yes, its been a rough Spring.  The hockey season-ending concussion you suffered, took its toll on you physically and emotionally.  We're thankful for all of your friends who came through and spent time with you, and offered encouragement, and supported you.  

During one of your darkest days, you tiptoed into my room, where I was trying to rest so I could go back and be with Mom.  You searched through my closet, my bookshelf, then asked if you could look in my drawers.

You were sheepish when I asked what you were looking for.

"My Hands-on Bible."  

"Mom, do you ever just want to feel closer to God?"

"I just want His words close to me, so I can understand better what all of this stuff means."

I laid next to him for awhile, while he shared feeling lost.  He was sad about Grandma, and without saying more, he grabbed my hand and held it a minute or two- he has few words for my cancer.  So we just hold it between our hands.    


My heart sweeps with pride for this young man one minute, and aches for the little boy, the next.

That little boy, who was just 3 when he provided the perfect material for me to launch my writing…

My favorite Nolan story...



When Nolan was three he had gone to play the Sunday golf game with his dad one April day. It was unusually warm that day and got up into the mid 60's. It was just warm enough to catch us off-guard and Nolan experienced his first sun burn. He howled when I gave him his bath that night. He could not fathom how that red got on his skin. We put some ointment on it and put him in bed and he was much better in the morning.



A few days later after his bath he came to me. We'd had one of those days. I was in bed, emotionally drained and exhausted. Its hard to be three. Its even harder to be a parent of a child who is three. I was startled to see him creeping into my room. His eyes were downcast. His voice was somber and serious. "Mom, he said, his voice filled with resignation, "I think I'm dying." I got up from the bed. My mind started to spin.


I said "Nolan, what is wrong?"


"My skins coming off," he said. "I must be dying."


I said, "Nolan, what have you been doing? Did you get into something? DID YOU PUT SOMETHING IN YOUR MOUTH?"  I was so unprepared for his confession.


"Oh mom," he said, "Every day I do. You tell me not to, but I do. I just can't help it."


"What Nolan, tell me what you put in your mouth?"


"I ate grass once," he said. "I eat dog food all the time. Oh, and I licked the bottom of my shoe. Yesterday I tasted the side of the car and its pooey mom, don't ever put your tongue on it!"


By now I am trying to hold my sides that are jiggling from the laughter trying to escape.


"Now my skin is coming off. Mom, I'll probably be going to heaven tonight. Don't be sad.  I'll miss you!"


I am leaning over inspecting what I realize is his skin peeling from the sunburn and hugging him at the same time.


"Oh Nolan" I managed to choke out.


As I go to get some lotion he tells me he has to use the bathroom. I holler at him to close the door.  He is in there a long time then suddenly comes around the corner and he is smiling. "Mom! I've got it," he says. "Do you think God goes potty? Because if he does, and he closes the door, I'll just sneak down from Heaven when he isn't looking and give you a hug so you won't miss me too much."


And with that he ran back to bed.


Love you, buddy.  






26 comments:

  1. This is the sweetest Birthday Tribute I've ever read. It belongs in a magazine. You are a talented writer and Angel Mom. I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day!

    "...he has few words for my cancer. So we just hold it between our hands.".....sigh....

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    1. Could not agree with Kass more. Beautifully said, Kass.

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    2. You are so kind, Kass, and that comes as such high praise to me- from both you and Robynn. Thank you, I'm humbled. Sending much love and gratitude to you both!

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  2. Oh my, this is a classic. What a great imagination! And how honest. And what a conscience. The the thing about wanting to be close to God's words...no words. My baby girl will be 15 this month too. Ah, the time flies...and each day is filled with blessing. Nolan is a very lucky boy to have you for a mama. XXOO

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    1. Thank you for your kindest of words- Roxane. Your kiddos are also lucky to have YOU as their mom! Hugs and love!

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  3. I'm so glad he is feeling better - happy birthday, Nolan!

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    1. Thank you, Susan. We are so happy too. It feels good to see him back doing all the things he loves again.

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  4. so so glad to hear he's cleared to be back on the ice! adversity clarifies goals.

    that story? oh.my.word. laughed out loud!

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    1. So true- Jenn. And yes- that story is a classic we tell over and over again!

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  5. Cute story! Happy Birthday, Nolan!

    PS: If you weren't so far away, I've got a granddaughter I'd like to hook you up with! LOL!

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    1. Ahhh, too cute! He'll grin ear to ear when he reads this :)

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  6. Happy Birthday Nolan!
    Glad you are back into hockey:)

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    1. He is too, Vic- so glad to be back skating again :)

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  7. Happy Birthday Nolan!! Jeez you have grown UP this year! You're indeed a handsome young man!

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    1. Thank you, Karen. He truly has- in more ways than one :)

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  8. Happy, happy birthday, Nolan! I love that story - such a GREAT memory!

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    1. Melissa- I wrote that story in a journal I had started for the boys a long time ago. I wanted to preserve it at the time. Thankfully, I discovered blogging shortly thereafter.

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  9. Oh my sweet friend,
    I am stunned by the picture of your handsome young man, soon to be getting a permit and driving. He is growing inside and out, goals taped to the mirror. I am so glad he is feeling better. He has been in my prayers daily since the concussion happened. I am so glad his friends rallied and he is cleared to skate again. :)

    What precious Momma-son moments when he was three and now just short of 15. Asking for a Bible, holding your hand. Words are not necessary right now to talk about your cancer.

    Happy Birthday Nolan. May you know every day that when God made you, He made a miracle!
    Hugs to you and your amazing Mom!

    Love, belief and prayers, always prayers!
    Linda

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    1. I love what you said to Nolan- "when God made you, He made a miracle." That is powerful, friend, and so true. I remember when I was early pregnant with Nolan, and worked at the hospital, one of the nurses always talked about the miracle of growing a baby. I will love sharing that specifically with him. Love to you~

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  10. Oh....how I love your Nolan.
    And I thank you for sharing those bits of his life with me that pick up the corners of my mouth and make my heart smile as well.
    Happy birthday, sweet Nolan.
    Love,
    Jackie

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    1. So good to see you hear, friend. I've had you on my mind and in my prayers so much. Much love to you, Jackie!

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  11. I wish Nolan a very Happy Birthday! He is a remarkable and very talented young man. I know that he has a bright future ahead of him in hockey, and because of the kind of man you have raised him to be, he will be successful in whatever he does. I pray that Nolan will continue to seek peace in his faith - that will see him through whatever he faces in the future. Love and hugs!

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    1. Thank you, Steph. We've missed going to church so much, I "worry," about their experience with faith- but that was a true gift to have him come and talk with me about it. I know your own two kiddos are being raised the same and I truly believe its people like you, in our community, that help raise them to be the best they can be. Much love to you~

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  12. I was absolutely immersed in every moment of the NOW Nolan - the 15-year-old almost man who has been through so much and has a work ethic any adult could, and should, envy. I admire him so much and how he has faced his goals and his setbacks. What a testimony to wonderful parenting that only you and Rick could have provided and a testimony to Nolan's deep character.

    But then you took me to three-years-old and my mommy heart melted and I didn't realize that's when you started writing. And that story. That one I will keep forEVER. Sharing it with the kids today. Precious, priceless, and a blessed glimpse into the practical and broad mind of our kids when all things are possible. Thank you for sharing that, Vicky, and Happy Birthday to your Nolan. What a terrific guy. Proud to know him if only through your writing. Love you, dear Vicky.

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    1. Long before I started blogging, I started a journal of "stories" about the boys. The "God" story was so typical of my almost 4 year old- it started me paying close attention to things they'd both say and do. Then I discovered blogging shortly thereafter. Yes- that story tells of a belief that is natural, and rooted in him, and funny, but filled with trust and faith. Love you friend!

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