We grow don't we? WE get older. So our children do as well. However, they are always our babies. Right?
Sometimes when I read a post or a blog and this mother is distraught about her baby is leaving the nest -- as they grow up....I will sort of go, "really?"
I mean, you have to understand -- I NEVER got the stay at home MOM gene. I never felt that my children were my LIFE. There were many times when I placed them first before my husband and before God....but, I did not live my life through theirs. Now -- please don't take that wrong.
My children have been one of the greatest blessings I have experienced but I did not plan out their lives....it just happened. We knew what we wanted to do with our kids...make memories and point them to Christ, but in the process we just lived. Maybe what I am trying to express here is that --- the kids happened. As THAT is what we're suppose to do- right? Now, back to that MOM gene. I knew that I needed to be back at work when my first child was born. Back in 1991 -- many did not understand or comprehend post-par tum depression. I had it.
In fact, the first day that Taylor was at the sitter and I was back at school, I forgot she was there and had to be reminded to go and pick her up. Back then...I would just get consumed with WORK and what I was suppose to be doing. Later -- that drive to just work and do -- would have to be dealt with!
Funny -- how TV answered my questions about post-par tum but also in WHAT people were to do!I was raised on TV. 70's TV. The Love Boat, The Osmonds...and Brady Bunch. That was my world. It shaped my thoughts and views, as well as my parents and family ....but one thing I knew I wanted -- was children. I watched Eight is Enough and had a house full in my life, but that was NOT for me!
I wanted kids. But only a few. You see... I had helped to babysit and hold a few of my siblings at home and I was ready for just one or maybe two.
So, the line up was; go to school, college, get married and then kids. THAT was the line up -- that is what I grew up watching on TV and what was taught.
When Taylor came out of church that fateful morning and told her Grandmother and I that in Sunday School, they asked her what she wanted to pray for and she clearly stated, " I prayed for a baby brother"....... I knew a boy was on his way.
He arrived in June. He was to have a May birthday -- but I have already shared that story. His initials were H.E.L.P. Hunter Edwin Lowell Pritchard. He was the first grandson born on the maternal side...and the ONLY grandson on the paternal side. If you know my mother-n-law, you know HP is the ONLY Grandson on that side!! She shares that ALL the time!
He was certainly a blessing and started this world in the NICU but quickly made his own mark. I am pretty sure I had post-par tum again, but spent too much time with prayerful tears as he started out as the 'whimpy white boy' in the NICU in WPB. The nurses named him that -- when he arrived he was 8 pounds 6 oz but left to come home with us at 5 pounds 8 oz!! I had to get some preemie outfits for those first weeks.
Because of his rocky start, I HELD him all summer and created a little one that demanded a bit more attention. And from that point on -- you would hear me say, "if he would of been first, I would of had only ONE child!". However, in the past 20 some years....he has certainly made both his dad and I very proud. And his Florida Grandparents are not the only ones that are proud -- my own parents are proud too!
So with that...here are 21 insights into this man of mine that I want to share. As this is his birthday card....his dad and I are going to meet him for supper tomorrow and celebrate in the best way possible -- by filling out tummies...but I had to share a little bit about this guy -- for all to read!
2. Our favorite restaurants after church, while he was a young toddler were ones that were kid friendly and had to serve the food within a good 10 minutes. That was about HOW much time he could sit still. I have often prayed since then, that he develops patience!
3. His love for video games began just before the age of 4. We live in Florida. Brendan and I love to drive and take trips -- Orlando on a weekend or running to the coast to just get out of town was something that happened often. Taylor had been such a GOOD car rider, we thought the same of kid #2. Nope... As he sat in his car seat behind Brendan's driver's seat, we could tell exactly HOW he felt about traveling. We lived on 138th Street when the kids were little. We would head east out our driveway and get to 441. If we turned left, HP would begin to KICK Brendan's seat. If we turned right, he would be fine. You see, he knew if we turned LEFT, the ride was going to be long. Needless to say, his little legs were slapped here and there so he would STOP kicking Brendan's seat and we had to get some hand held video games to occupy his time.
4. Taylor began Soccer at age 6. He began soccer at Age 4. And the love affair with a soccer ball began. Little did we know at that time, his skills in soccer would land him a Division 1 soccer scholarship and many many hours of travel and memories. Those trips, those car rides to South Caroline, Jacksonville, and North Carolina and Georgia are all trips that we still treasure today!
6. He has an incredible soft spot for little kids. He would prefer NOT to HOLD little babies but he will gravitate towards the little cousins anytime we get close to them. I will never forget the memory of Hunter sitting with Devon, Jarod, Carson and Dayton at Blake's Celebration Service. As the little ones began to cry, he just held them, and helped them through the tears. Jordan was there too -- what a beautiful site. They all loved their Blaker tremendously.
7. He loves to listen to stories of 'old' stuff. He loves being with his Wisconsin family and my brothers especially. When he was 6, with tears in his eyes, he asked why we moved so far away from family --- and I tried to explain WHY...but I believe the 1400 miles gap has produced a bond that is indeed strong and special with my brothers and his aunts and his cousins !!
8. He loves to play games -- card games, TV games, and a long car ride will have a session of Family Feud! He loves to teach his dad new games.
9. He was a part of the Swim Team for 2 years. He did well! I know it helped his upper body strength as he could land a soccer goal by throwing it in...if they would of let him!
10. His first girlfriend was a girl named Taylor. She was a sweetie. She plays soccer. We love her still.
11. I remember his first day of middle school and how this girl's name was all of a sudden all over his books!! What had transpired? My elementary kid was now in the big school where I could not keep an eye on him. The name was Ashton. She later became a sweet friend. We love her still!
13. He earned the title, "12 and Under NATIONAL Champs!" Yes...a National Champion!! ( Playing soccer) He and his Team Boca Team also went to Nationals in 2013 and 2014..... He was even selected to be a part of the ODP team, which is the Olympic Development Program! Soccer has certainly given him many travel opportunities and experiences that have indeed shaped him.
14. Car rides -- funny how as a little one he hated car rides and beginning when he was about 10-11, he began the trek of riding in that car to practice for soccer. For almost 6 years, Brendan and HP would travel to Miami or Boca for soccer practice - 2-3 nites a week. ( I know, my car has over 200K miles from soccer on it!) I would send them off at 4:30 and see them at 10:30. Late night suppers of leftovers or chicken and rice were favorites! All that soccer practice paid off - it challenged HP but also developed a work ethic. In all of that -- Hunter kept his grades up! Currently in college he is in an Honor's Program for Accounting!
15. He is quite the dancer. I am told. ( SWEET, He takes after his mother!) He loves to sing - his choice of music is a little different than mine, but he sings praise and worship songs too -- which melts my heart! I have heard him - ON occasion which blesses me so. I now he can sing every son on the 2010 Sidewalk Prophet's CD as I made him listen to it daily as we drove to school each day back in 2010!
16. He loves to watch movies. I know -- he tells us often of the next movie we need to see! His last suggestion was The Intern. He was right!
18. He prefers to hang with his close knit group of friends and he is a loyal friend too. I have seen this -- displayed when he comes home for a visit and makes a point to visit his childhood buddies and such. I have also seen and heard this when we get the chance to hang with him and his friends. God has blessed him with a circle of friends through his soccer team -- that will remain. He treats his friends with honestly and kindness -- His dad taught him this. He is a giving young man! I give all that credit to God and Brendan - I know I played a part in that, but there is a bond between a father and son that is unique. I see it perfectly between mother and daughter - between Taylor and myself. From when Hunter could speak, Brendan began to teach him to be a person with manners and character. I will never forget the endless video games where Bren would play with Hunter and I would BEG Brendan to let Hunter win .......but Bren would remind me, that Hunter had to learn to lose - so he could learn to win with grace. There were several moments of tense nights where a little one went to bed upset -- but eventually he would come out and shake Brendan's hand and say, "good game Dad". Those lessons taught as a child would be tested as a teen. God won. I see the fruit of that now.
19. I can also tell, that he is a good person. A good good friend and a good employee. It is such a blessing now to hear him chat with his dad and they talk about plans, the future, and HP seeks his dad's advice. It makes my heart happy -- as there was a time when the enemy tried to destroy that relationship ...but God won! To see a father -son relationship survive the teen years and hardship and now become friends -- it is indeed a blessing to me, a miracle, and a JOY to watch and listen too! It truly is a miracle that I don't take for granted. As a teen and as an adult, I would hear often, "do as I say -- don't do as I do". THIS premise or this expression of philosophy could easily destroy a person! I thank God that the seeds planted in both my husband and our children were strong seeds. They may of fell on rocky soil at first....but we did some weeding and survived. THAT was purely because of the GRACE of God!
20. He is cute! I mean -- I know I am bias -- but he is one handsome young man!
21. He is mine - he is my number one son.
I started this blog sort of trying to express that ....."this just happened". I mean.... Bren and I wanted a baby and had Taylor. We wanted a 2nd child and produced him. But it happened cause THAT is just what was expected of us. Right? Life happens. Wrong. I have learned in my latter years -- that nothing just happens. Everything is watched over by our Father. Now I know our choices play into this -- but, I still believe HE is watching it all and allowing and 'not' allowing too!
Let me explain -- because of TV....people have expectations and believe this or that. I did grow up in the era of TV. It has influenced me. It babysat me for years. It also allowed me to see the world. It may of been a sheltered world, but it was my world. But somehow...it also taught me about Jesus. It did. I would watch Oral Roberts on TV and Rex Hubbard and I would see people sing about Jesus and preach. I went to Catholic School too and had a great education and watched the people around me - I knew Jesus and what He did for us. I could see Jesus in the community I lived in!
So, I had these 'expectations' for my children -- based on what I saw when I grew up.
I have two marvelous human beings as my children. And now, I have another -- my son - n - love too. And often, I can't take the credit - it was ALL God. I know Bren and I made good choices most of the time -- but God granted us mercy!
However, I don't believe it just happened. I believe the prayers of our parents and grandparents have touched us and our children.
These kids have been influenced by God -- I am claiming that.
Sure, TV and the internet have certainly helped raise my children -- but I pray and believe that God's Word was indeed at the CORE of what they were taught. I also believe and pray it is WHAT they saw displayed in our lives. Maybe not consistently -- but perhaps a good amount of the time!
Bren and I messed it up along the way -- but.... I believe when the enemy wanted to destroy this family, destroy us, we stuck it out. What Satan intended to harm, God used for good. HIS good.
Stuck it out - cause THAT is just what you did.
Stuck it out - cause we did not want to lose.
Stuck it out -- because of FAITH....that grew - it had to!
And now both Bren and I pray that ...our children will indeed continue to grow in their love for Christ and His Word and we pray that they both will teach this and foster this love of Christ into our grandchildren.
So even though it seemed to me that having children and raising them 'just happened'...now, I realize HOW God was an integral part of ALL of it. God did this.
Lord, protect my man -- as he continues to finish his bachelor's degree and begin his Internship as an Audit Accountant -- bless him Lord, watch over him as he travels and learns his profession. Lord, for that future wife of his - as we have been praying for her since his birth -- may she continue to grow in You as well. Lord, for his friends...his friendships and his love for You, may that increase. Grant him favor Lord, he is Yours. IN Jesus Name, Amen.
Happy birthday, "tur tur man".