Most people come to the altar to marry one person.
I married two—though I will admit, there was a slight age difference.
wedding pic
The smaller of the two (at least for now) turned 13 this week, and it’s hard to express your feelings when your pictures reveal to you how fast time has gone.
Suddenly you realize how fast time will continue to go.
However on the brink of his 13th year, my husband and I decided to gather his two mentors and treat them to a birthday burger while they spoke into his life. pic of rob, brandon and jordan
Then my husband and I spoke into his life.
Tears and smiles flowed.
Our boy is on the brink of manhood. And I can think of no better way to send him off.
But in between now and then his newly teenage self will be dissing cute family photos in favor of instagram videos like this:

click HERE ( if you dare).

I was actually thankful for my short cameo in this video (if you blinked you missed it), because for the next five years I don’t think I’ll be seen anywhere near his posts. At least not if he can help it.
But eventually, that will change.
Because everything changes.
The moms of the world neglected to tell me one big secret about parenting: just when you have one stage nailed, things change. And suddenly you are in school all over again. From elementary to pre-teen to teenager to adult, it’s just one continuous class on parenting- until the day your child packs up and leaves.
Then you look at your spouse and say, “What just happened?”
It seemed so long on the days we lived it.

But 13- well, I really thought I had this one nailed. I was a youth pastor for 6 years. I spoke to teenagers. I knew what made them tick.
The only thing I hadn’t experienced was having one living in my home.
It seemed like such a tiny caveat.
Turns out, there were  a billion few things I didn’t know.
Growth and setback, muscle shirts and underarm hair, texts from girls and cell phone battles, fights about nothing and limits about everything, wonderful moments and awful moments, belly laughs and long cries.
And in adolescence, that can be all in the span of an hour.
I remind myself on bad days that this is what I longed for all those single years.
But even on my worst days, I wouldn’t trade any of it. Loving this boy has been one of the great events of my life.
He is the story I’ve been privileged to participate in, and I have a front row seat to his growth.
It’s painful and wonderful and work-filled and awe inspiring, and you parents know exactly how I feel.
But as a step parent, there is a special joy included when you’ve never given birth to a child, and you’ve been given the gift of being called “Mom.”
I’ll never get over the pounding in my heart hearing it. Even if it’s two octaves lower than it was last month.

And I have my newly turned 13 year old to thank for giving me this gift.