TOBI BENTON

10 Days and a Wake Up

10 Days and a Wake Up

10 Days and a Wake Up

Ten days and a wake up …
This is a phrase my husband has used these past 22 years of marriage.  The day count and the wake up.  I don’t know if that’s a military thing, or if he brought it with him as a Benton saying.
Nineteen years
One month
Twenty-two days
and a wake up
and he will have flown over an ocean
and off in to the wild blue yonder.
People have been asking me for months
~if I’m ready
~how I’m dealing with it
And for months of waiting for the new life to begin I have been just fine.
Excited for him.
Worried for him.
On my knees for him.
Now?
10 days left in our home?
It’s been a wake up.
Does a mother ever have enough days with her son?
He’s been a charmer from the beginning.
At this age people handed him
~candy from the check-out counter
(“Oh, go on, mama,” they’d say.  “Let him have it.”)
~sodas from the vending machine
(the man stocking the machine, “reach on in there and grab you one, son.”  He doesn’t drink soda, I’d try to explain.)
(Wait, can you guys tell we lived in N. Georgia at this time?)
And my family quoted him for years, saying “booz me” when they wanted to pass by.  (Excuse me!)
If you have multiple children you know what I mean when I say they are all special, but each one has a different shape to them that lodges in your heart.
This child man,
he staked a claim on my heart that no one could purchase, revoke, or build on.
It’s his piece.
I have wondered many times through the years how Robin Williams and Jim Carrey, Jerry Lewis and Will Farrell’s mothers fared, raising those boys to manhood.   I mean, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a photo of one of these moms.  Did they start coloring their hair in the early 30’s like me, and not because of genes.
And heaven help them, they weren’t going through menopause during the teen years were they?
This child man, he always makes me laugh.
When he hasn’t made me cry,
or swear,
or want to kick him out.
Those years when I thought we had lost him for good,
his eyes painful empty chasms,
 for moments I actually wanted him to leave because it hurt SO much for him to be there and not be able to reach him.
A mama never forgets~
when he wore the clothes of a super hero,
when he believed that being himself was not just enough,
but a tremendous gift that he offered the world.
He believed that for years.
That he could lighten your day,
bring joy to your face,
laughter to the well of your soul,
and a reminder that if you are breathing you’re still alive,
and that’s worth choosing to be happy about.
He has stepped into the footsteps of his father.
And his father celebrates
that in a few days and a wake up
he will have walked those steps long enough to manhood
that he will stride with confidence
along a brand new trail.
The first days of leaving are always the same, aren’t they?
The excitement of picking out first-day clothes,
packing the backpack,
chatter in the backseat on the way to the new door to pass through.
Sometimes they leave with a bit of trepidation.
Sometimes they leave and don’t look back,
wearing brighter than the new clothes and backpack,
the smile that says~
“I’m ready, mom.  You can go, because I SO have this.”
Keep sharing your heart, Thomas.
It’s a real gift,
to bring those who are
cold,
lonely,
unseen,
the joy of a smile and a laugh~
and the deeper, unspoken question to ponder,
“might I be worthy of love?”
You offer that.  In many ways, better than I have found in anyone else.
We will celebrate you.  We will remember how to play hard, laugh long, and be silly.
And I?
This mama will cry.
Nineteen years, twenty-two days, and a wake up is surely just a breath and a sigh.
But oh, how I will continue to champion you!
How proud I am of the man you are becoming.
And these siblings?
They will grieve awhile.
They will wobble a bit, finding a new normal.
You have been a generous brother.
A teenager who has played legos, sword fights, and wrestling,
with little brothers.
And this father?
That you would want to follow him in this Air Force life?
That you would gift him by wanting to be like him?
He’s got your back.  Forever and always,
First born Son.
Thomas, you are loved.
Thank you.
Thank you for sharing your life with me.
Thank you for being part of my wake-up.
Thank you for helping me discover what
the true definition of success is,
that loving well is all that really matters.
We will love you for now and for always, and look forward with hope to the day when you discover that as good as our love has been, it is but a shadow of the
love the Father has for you.
In ten days~
In ten years~
however many days it takes,
you will
wake up~
to more than you could ever dream.
“…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  
Phil. 1:6

All my love,
Favored One.

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