I am a writer—I experience my emotions and reflect upon life best when I put thoughts into the written word. Eighteen years ago when my first born Noah was born, I set out on a journey to write a journal filled with “letters to my son”. I kept a journal for Noah and when Micah came along three years later, I started a journal of letters for him. My intent was to chronicle their ages and stages, what they were feeling and doing, family experiences and vacations, world and current events, and my advice and prayers for them as they grew. My boys’ journals have sat by my bedside for all these years. I realized six months ago that I had always intended to give my boys their journal of letters when they turned 18. And then it hit me….Noah was turning 18 and this journal, filled with these letters, and all my heartfelt thoughts and prayers and memories would be handed off. On Friday, October 30, 2015-- I wrote my last letter to Noah—at 12:05 pm-- 18 years from the moment he entered my world and changed my life forever. Parenting has been the most difficult, most challenging, and most rewarding thing I have ever done. Just like the rest of you, it was trial and error most of the time. I am certainly not a model parent. I am a flawed mom who is covered by grace from a flawless God.
This blog includes some excerpts of the journal entries over a span of 18 years….snapshots and snippets of stages, of difficulties, of scary moments and joyful adventures. It includes some of my prayers, my hopes, and dreams for him. I am so grateful that I did this….because I would have forgotten many special moments if I hadn’t taken the time to write them down.
November 9, 1997—excerpts through time
To my Beautiful Son Noah—today you are six weeks old and you are the most precious gift…..I am so excited to watch you grow and develop. I pray that I will be a mom who loves you unconditionally, who will encourage you, support you, but allow you freedom to grown into your own. I know I will make many mistakes—please forgive me—I have never done this before…….you are God’s miracle gift and I love you with all my heart….Mama
March 1, 1999
I want to raise you to be alert, confident, respectful, kind, honest and responsible. This is a major task and I know I will make many mistakes….so I need to trust God and rely on His wisdom, guidance and love….Proverbs 3: 5-6.
August 23, 2000
Our communication has become negotiation because you have quite a will of your own. Some of your current phrases are: “favorite”, “fragile”, “that’s inappropriate”, “surprise”, “adventure”, “don’t touch that”, and “I do it”.
November 27, 2000
On September 28 you became a big brother to Micah Matthew. You adore your little Micah. You try to get him to smile. You like telling “Once Upon a Time” stories where we start the story (usually with a mean giant and Spot and a fireman in it) and then you finish it.
December 28, 2000
You really think you are in control these days and say things like, “Mom, now here’s the deal” or “I have a better idea” or “I am tired of this!”
You have a number of imaginary friends—named Sean, Jason, Corey and Topanga…who go everywhere with us, sit at the table with us, pray for dinner, and forget to fasten their seat belts. They are even the ones who “get you in trouble”. Your baby brother Micah is seven months now and he lights up his eyes and smiles the second he wakes up and sees you. When he starts to fuss you dance around and make funny faces and shake his toes….
The world became a different place since 9-11-01 when terrorists attacked America by hijacking planes and crashing them into a number of sites including the World Trade Center and Pentagon. You are asking many questions about the “bad and sad people”. You have been so patriotic and you are making letters and flags to send to the sad people and you pray every night for our world. Your empathy astounds me.
October 30, 2002
Today marks another significant event in your life—your Fifth birthday. You are Five going on 18 my little one!
(The in between letters over the next years chronicled Noah’s school years, his classes, friends and teachers…his sports activities, his style trends and our various family vacations….)
November 7, 2010
To my dear 13 year old Noah—it is official—on October 30 you became a teenager…..My daily prayer is that you will find your confidence and identity in Jesus and that you will be a light and an example of faith and purity to your peers. (I Timothy 4:12)
January 27, 2012….My dearest Noah…who stands 4 ½ inches taller than me, weighs more than me, has a size 10 shoe and is a huge 14 year old. It is so weird to reach up to hug my first born son!
October 7, 2013
In March 2013 I was diagnosed with cancer. It was shocking for all of us, but we have kept prayer and communication at the top of our priority list as we deal with it together. Having this illness has made my faith stronger as I rested not on feelings, but on God’s Word and His promises. I want that for you—that when the rough times come, or the feelings aren’t there, that you would stand on the rock solid foundation you have in Jesus. Cling to Him and know that he holds your life in His hands….This week I head into surgery to remove the tumors. I have been through nine rounds of chemo and you like teasing me about my “chemo brain”—we have to use humor to get through this! As I head into this surgery I want you to know that WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST is all that matters. You are smart, witty, a great athlete, and excellent sportsman. You are a hard working student with strong ethics. You have a hilarious sense of humor, a compassionate heart and a deep sensitivity. You are a loyal and true friend. You are a humble servant and you don’t need to be in the spot light. Keep up your morals, your faith, your loyalty, your sensitive heart. Stay true to who you are, stay aware of what is truly important. You are my precious first born and I love you fiercely, Mom.
June 15, 2015
My dearest Noah, Today begins the first full week of summer before you head into your senior year……I admire your humility, integrity and faith…..I know I can stress you out and be a nag, but I love and adore you. I want only the best for you. I want you to know how precious you are to me. When you are feeling lost or purposeless, please come back to these letters and know how much your mom has prayed for you through the years. Know how much I want you to know Christ and his extravagant grace for you. My years of teaching you the foundations of life are coming to a close—I pray that you will build the rest of your life on the things I have taught you. You will always be my baby boy, my precious first born son….I love you with all my heart, Mom
You had to endure more of this crazy cancer journey as the cancer spread to my lung and I had another surgery and more chemo until I was declared cancer free in April 2015. It has been a long road and I am truly a living, walking miracle. I hope you have learned more about faith, family, hope, and gratitude during this trial.
October 9, 2015
My dearest Noah,
I am starting to feel it—it is sinking in that soon and very soon you will be 18 and I will hand over this journal of letters to you. I am feeling a bit anxious and scared as I realize how close you are to moving into a new stage of life—young adulthood. As a mom I pray I have “done enough” but I know that what I do will never be enough, that I must give control and trust to God and believe in his grace that what He DID on the cross—now THAT is enough…..There will soon be an end to these letters but I hope this will be something you treasure as you venture off on your own. I hope it will always remind me you of how deeply you were and are loved by your mom…..To the moon, Mom
October 30, 2015 at 12:05 pm
Dearest Noah, It was 18 years ago today at this moment, that you entered my world and changed my life forever. There is so much I want to say in this final letter….and I know I will have never said it all or said enough, but hope that you have learned and absorbed through my actions and deeds, my love for you through the years…..
Remember these things (condensed)
You will make mistakes…and that is okay….I have made so many mistakes over the years, but in our family our love is bound in Christ’s love and so despite mistakes, we are forgiven, and we move on, because of His grace
Communication is key—real, raw, honest, transparent….talking and sharing and being vulnerable. And even if your world communicates through social media and texting, that nothing can replace a face to face conversation.
Remember all our family adventures and all the amazing places you have been. Those memories are bonds that made us stronger.
Remember that what the world thinks is counter culture to what Christ thinks. Know Jesus, Noah….follow him with your whole heart, let Him direct your paths, know that your identity is in Him and in nothing else—not grades or college acceptance, or in popularity, looks, awards, honors or in what anyone else says. Christ alone, cornerstone….He is your rock, your fortress, your salvation (Psalm 62)
Know that your mom loves and adores you and that “forever and always, my baby you will be”
And so it is time to hand this journal of letters over to you….this journal has been a precious part of my life for 18 years. It has been by my bedside, next to my Bible and it is filled with hopes, dreams, prayers and memories. Giving it to you is a Big step and it signifies so much more than simply handing you letters I wrote. I am handing you my heart and releasing you into the world, deeply trusting that God has you IN HIS GRIP. As a mom, it is my role to let you go. I have done my part, hoping and praying that we raised you to be a man of inner strength, faith, honor, and integrity. And. You. Are.
Noah—step into the world. Forge your trail. Blaze your adventure. Rock your world. Live an intentional and purpose filled life. Make an impact. You don’t need to impact the whole world, just your world.
And remember what I have always said, “Carpe Diem—seize the day.” “Make Wise Choices.”
Noah, my baby, I love you always and forever, to the moon and back, to infinity and beyond. Mama