It's crazy how quickly time flies! Just yesterday Joshua was turning 8 now he’s 18. How is it possible that was 10 years ago? Life was so much simpler back then it seemed. Johnny and I were still babies ourselves, the boys were holding on to 1 digit birthdays and thirty was a novelty. The early 2000’s was also long before words like breast cancer, autism or traumatic brain injury became a staple in in the Olachia household. Now some 10 years later we are preparing for Joshua to graduate high school, Micah is half way through the 10th grade and Johnny and I are well past 40.
It’s unbelievable how you just blink and life has suddenly raced ahead of you. Life has a way of moving forward whether you are ready or not. I’ve learned in my 40 plus years, you can’t hold it back and you can’t predict anything life has to offer or where it will ultimately take you, all you can do is buckle up and hold on. Life lesson #19: Raising boys to men… Life doesn’t come with a manual. It takes no prisoners and runs you long and hard. If you don’t grab hold, life will leave you behind!
When I sit down at the dinner table each and every night I see my world surrounding me, my husband of nearly 2 decades and my amazing if not precocious teenage boys. The conversation most nights is all over the place, sometimes awkward, at times serious but never dull and always entertaining if not downright silly. I wouldn’t trade this life I’ve been given for anything! I am truly blessed even in the times I’m stressed out, feeling the reality of life’s demands, difficulties and trails. I know with certainty I’m blessed beyond compare no matter what life throws my way and despite any ups or downs rushing towards me. When I take inventory of my life I’m reminded of the blessings I have, especially as I look at my children, watching them grow and now become men. This was the one, specific gift I asked of God following my breast cancer diagnosis…to live to see my boys become the men God called them to be. And now, all these years later, at the age of 41 I am living in the very moment I pleaded for as Johnny and I prepare our boys to enter the world as men.
It’s hard to believe I am the mother of an 18 year old young man. He’s not a baby anymore, though he will always be my baby no matter how old he is. Joshua is kind and tenderhearted, strong in his faith, loyal, giving, and sometimes unsure of himself but always ready to embrace the next chapter. Life hasn’t been easy, in fact it’s been rather hard on Joshua, but in everything from growing up surrounded by the uncertainty of cancer, to his own battle with a traumatic brain injury, Joshua has always risen above the turbulence with a strength that amazes me. In spite of daily pain, he’s pushed through school, pursued drumming, taken to the ice with hockey and recreated his dreams changing his whole life course in spite of what difficulties life handed him.
Looking at my baby today, I see the man he has become. I’m proud of how far he has come and I look forward to the man he has yet to be. I know life will continue to throw punches, it always has, it always will, but knowing his footing is sure I’m confident in the decisions he’s yet to make. Joshua’s not perfect, none of us are, but his character is undoubtable and his faith is unwavering. In just a little over 4 months my first born will walk across the commencement stage, with cap and gown on receiving his diploma as he graduates from high school, part of the class of 2015. No doubt I’ll be crying, but my tears won’t fall from sadness, no my tears will break free because of joy. Honestly, I’m not sure I’m really ready to see Joshua enter the adult world, but I do know with each stroke of the Masters hand Joshua’s life will unfold colorfully and beautifully.
Yes, for the last 18 years Johnny and I have been raising our boys together. No one handed us a how to manual when Joshua and Micah were born in the late 1990’s. The reality of this whole parenting thing is we have been flying by the seat of our pants, learning as we go. We've worked hard to make our house a home. Nothing worth anything comes easy or without difficulty. What we know now more than ever before as parents is this: all those nights we are up crying, worrying and on our knees for our kids in prayer, God IS listening. Every child has their own story to tell and life to lead so at the end of each and every day our greatest desire as parents is for both Joshua and Micah to know they are accepted for who they are. We love them fiercely, unconditionally, without limits and without judgment because this is how Christ loves us. Johnny and I may not always agree with their decisions or choices in life, but our love is and will always be present. The thing is this, life hands us uncertainties all the time, throws a wrench in our plans, takes us unpleasantly by surprise and attempts to beat and drag us down. We can’t control every minute of our day or even the turns our children will take along the way. Life can be absolutely miserable and heartbreaking as we watch our kids go down roads which are dark and dangerous BUT if we know without a doubt we’ve given them the right tools and a firm foundation; we have to trust God to handle the rest believing He has instilled HIS character into their hearts
From where I sit now life may not be as simple as it was over 10 years ago, back when we were celebrating birthdays with dinosaurs, pirates and Buzz Lightyear. They were boys then, not the men towering above us now. Still together as a family we celebrate and take inventory of our many, many blessings. There have and will definitely continue to be really tough days, if not months or years ahead of us BUT those moments are short in comparison to the downright amazing blessings life offers us in return. We just have to buckle up and enjoy the ride, holding on to our family, our faith and our ability to navigate even when we are lead down an uncharted road. The truth is sometimes our best memories come from detours in life we never saw coming!