The Surprise

by Wendy

It was cold and blustery in Northern Minnesota last night.  I had been at my second son, Tommy’s wrestling tournament with him.  My hard workin’ hubby has been working long hours of overtime the past several weeks, so we have been doing the shuffle with sports and activities.  I had made arrangements for my youngest two boys, Will and Davie, to spend some fun time with their Grandpa for the evening, while the two oldest boys were scheduled for sports activities. I was scheduled to drive our wrestlers to meet their team in a neighboring town, and didn’t want the younger two out so late on a school night.  Then my oldest son, Caleb, came down with a nasty cold. He stayed home from school, slept in, as he is like his mama….can’t sleep when you are sick, and got up later that morning feeling pretty crummy.  I made my special ‘Don’t Feel Good Tea’ for him, he sipped, and we talked as I worked on the usual Monday morning chores around the house.  We had a nice time, just talking and being together.  Chatting about this and that, and really nothing terribly important.  We were just spending time, enjoying each other’s company, and being in each other’s presence. Something that becomes more of a precious commodity when your oldest becomes sixteen, and is busy with school, drivers ed, sports, and friends.  We decided as the day went on that we would just have Grandpa drop the two younger boys off back at home after school to get homework done, and to bed at an early hour.  I had a wonderful day with Caleb.  I rushed out the door later that afternoon, leaving the unfinished laundry on the couch, dishes in the sink, and a small disaster in my wake.  The curse of trying to do too much in too little time. On my way to town I was reflecting on how blessed our time together had left me feeling.  I had been missing my little boy more than I had realized, as this new young man had begun to take his place.  Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the man my son is becoming, but sometimes there are growing pains that go along with all that growth. Later in the evening, I noticed that I had missed a call in the noise of the gymnasium, and I had a voicemail.  I quickly listened to the message, as I saw the call was from home.  I worried momentarily if everything was alright.  I don’t often leave my kiddos home on their own, and Caleb is extremely capable, but a mama still worries a little bit.  Sure enough, it was a message from Caleb.  He was calling to tell me how much he had enjoyed our time together, and to thank me for taking such good care of him when he wasn’t feeling well.  He told me how much it meant to him, and how much he loved me.  Now, I was standing in the middle of a wrestling tournament with tears in my eyes, and biting the inside of my cheek, to keep from making a complete spectacle of myself.  My sixteen year old son still loves me!!!!!!  My little boy is still in that muscular, growing-into-a-man body.  Oh my good heavens, how does a mama keep it together????  I took a couple deep breaths, and got a hold of myself, and gave a call back  home.  Will answered the phone.  We chatted the usuals….How was your day?  Did you get something to eat? Is your homework done?  You know all the things that a mama likes to know.  I could tell something was up.  I could hear the mischief in his voice, but he wasn’t giving away their surprise.  When I asked to talk to Caleb, he said he was busy with something or other….Now, a mama begins to wonder….Did the two younger ones have him tied up in the basement???!!!!  No, I knew better.  Caleb could hold his own.  So I chalked it up to the fact that they were three boys baching it for the evening.  They were having fun.  I gave him my love, and told him I would call later.  The tournament went on into the evening, and when it was time to go, I called home to let the boys know I was on my way back.  Again, Will answered the phone.  This is not unusual in our house, he’s the one who likes to answer, and usually races everyone to get there first.  I could hear the twinkle in his voice, and feel the grin on his face.  By now my hubby is home, so no worries, they were still having fun with Dad.  Tommy and I headed home.  It had started to snow and blow, and the temperature had dropped outside into the negative, below zero numbers.  It was definitely winter.  Getting into a cold bus, then a cold school van, and then yet another cold truck, left me chilled to the bone by the time we got home.  I was fantasizing about a hot cup of tea so I wouldn’t give into hypothermia.  Just kidding, but that’s what I felt like.  Cold, and tired, but still happy about spending time with my boys.  When I walked into the house I couldn’t believe my eyes!!!!  Where was all the unfinished laundry I had left behind?  Had it been chucked behind the couch, or into a random laundry basket to make room for an impromptu wrestling match???!!!!  Caleb met me in the entry way, grinning from ear to ear.  “Me and the boys cleaned the house for you, AND did the dishes, AND made you a surprise in the kitchen!!!!”  He was so proud as he said it.  I looked around in amazement and wonder. ” YOU DID!!!!!  THANK YOU SO MUCH HONEY!!!! ” I exclaimed!  The house was spotless, the dishes were done, homework was finished, and my two younger sons, Will and Davie, were in bed.  WOW!  Who was this amazing young man who stood before me???? I found myself wondering in my head as I gave him a huge hug and kiss. This is MY SON.  My heart swelled with love and pride.  “I love you so very much!” I told him.  But what I would like to tell him is this:  I love you when you are not perfect, I love you when you are angry, I love you when you are sick and tired, I love you no matter what.  ALWAYS & FOREVER.  YOU ARE MY SON, AND I LOVE YOU FOR YOU ALONE.  By now Will could no longer contain himself and came downstairs, he was grinning from ear to ear as well.  “Look what we made you Mom!” he said.  I gave him a big hug and kiss, and he brought me into the kitchen to reveal their surprise. This is what I found on the kitchen counter…baked with love

Bless their beautiful little hearts.  I went upstairs, gave Davie a kiss goodnight on his warm, rosy little cheek, choked back the tears, and made a cup of tea.  Isn’t life grand?