Three More Slots


Only three more slots.

I admit it. I’ve been terrible about keeping baby books for the boys. Or even those cute little books that highlight their elementary years. Yeah, I think they’re more empty than full.


But, this weekend, I determined to catch up their kindergarten through twelfth grade photo frames. And it hit me so hard I had to swallow back tears.

I only have three more slots to fill with pictures of my oldest. When he noticed it, he got a little sad.

How is it the years have flown so quickly?

It was just yesterday I held him in my arms, nuzzling him close and singing over him.

Yesterday when he leapt from the car for his first day of kindergarten. Without a backward glance at his mama, who was holding back a tear or two.

It was only yesterday when he began junior high school, so excited for the grand adventure and more freedom.

And now, we only have three more years left with him. Five more with his brother. How do they grow so quickly?

There are only a finite number of months to train them in so, so much. To prepare them for adulthood. To give them opportunities to fail now so they can succeed later.

My heart is already sad for the day they walk out our door for the last time and into the next chapter of their lives, be it college or a job or the military.

It’s fascinating to watch our boys becoming men. To capture those glimpses of maturity . . . of the men they will one day be.

To witness the teenage temper solar flare, only to be hugging me hard a few moments later. To watch the euphoria and the angst . . . all within a period of five minutes.

They’re growing so quickly. And I’m not ready yet. I’m not prepared for them to launch out on their own.

As I worked on their photo frames, I smiled at the sweetness of their kindergarten pictures. So innocent and unsure. I grinned at both of their seventh grade pictures. Our oldest wanted to give his best “CIA/I’m-a-spy” look. His brother seemed to do the same thing.

What is it about seventh grade?

I guess Hubs and I have done our own growing right along with the boys. Learning to  watch our words and reactions. Growing in our prayer lives (lots of growing there). Growing in appreciating the gifts that these two boys are.

We’ve learned to set aside our task lists so we can engage with the boys. We’ve adjusted our priorities.

Our lives are forever better with them in it.

I want to spend these next few years well. Investing in our boys . . . those late night conversations. Laughter over Settlers of Catan. Movie nights with homemade popcorn.

And laughing.

And listening.

I want to soak in every moment. Even when they’re driving me crazy with teen ‘tude.

Even when they won’t let me hug them anymore.

Even when they’d rather be with their friends than with Hubs and me.

As they run wild around the house (yes, they still do this).

Especially when they want to talk in the car. Around the dinner table. In their bedrooms at night.

I want to be intentional in being there to cheer them on as they compete and perform. To watch as they continue to grow into the men God created them to be.

Every moment with these two boys is a priceless gift.

And I want to cherish each one of them. Because before I know it, all the slots in those frames will be full. And the house will be very, very quiet.


This article originally appeared at Jeanne Takenaka.

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Jeanne Takenaka
Jeanne Takenaka writes contemporary fiction with a heart to draw women closer to God and to those around them. She is wife to one amazing man who is her real life hero, and mother to two exuberant boys who hope to one day have a dog of their own. She loves being God’s girl always learning about His grace, hanging out with friends, and enjoying a great cup of coffee. She and her family live near the mountains in Colorado.