Originally, I didn’t want to have children. I didn’t want to sacrifice my freedom, I absolutely adored sleep, and I didn’t want to bring another innocent life into this crazy world. God had other plans in store for me, though!
I now have five kids…three stepsons – 20, 18 and 16…a daughter, 10 and one boy of my very own, who is almost 3. God is funny like that, really.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, and before I knew she was a she, I was pretty sure she’d be a boy, given her father’s track record…and his family’s, it’s just absolutely fraught with boys…in fact, even at the ultrasound I had just before being induced, to see if she was big enough, they said she was a girl. I said “I’ll believe it when I see it!” I was so relieved when I saw that she was, indeed, a girl. At that point in my life, I don’t think I could have handled a boy.
I didn’t really want to have a boy. Boys are strange, foreign creatures. They like dirt, rocks, army men, sticks and guns and noise. I don’t really like those things, so how am I to relate to someone who does? How do I get past the rambunctious, infinite energy…the things that get broken…the dirt…
Two of my stepsons live with us, and we have a long, complicated family history. It hasn’t always been pretty. We haven’t always gotten along so well. But I’ve been praying for restoration in our family, and for reconciliation between my stepsons and I. That’s a tall order, especially at the stage of life they are in now!
And recently, they all had birthdays. This year the idea popped into my head to make them whatever they want for breakfast. Oldest Boy’s birthday was on a Saturday, and the way the day went we ended up having his birthday breakfast for supper…but hey, pancakes and bacon from the best butcher shop around is good any time of day!
The next birthday was for Youngest Boy, who turned 16. He wanted cinnamon rolls, hot wings and chocolate milk. So I made cinnamon rolls…that almost didn’t turn out, but then ended up being really yummy…and cheated a bit on the wings, I got frozen ones and nuked them. He said that was ok, so I went ahead and took the shortcut.
And Middle Boy, who is a well-known carnivore, wanted steak and bacon and scrambled eggs and cheese. So, I made a New York Strip steak, two pounds of bacon (like anyone else around would stay out of the bacon…had to make sure there was enough!) and scrambled eggs and cheese. His friend joined him and ate the eggs, Birthday Boy was quite full of steak and bacon.
I got some of the best compliments…the youngest one (who told me his friends are jealous because I make him breakfast every morning before school) thought the cinnamon rolls were awesome, when Middle Boy walked in the house (he’s the one not living with us), he said after checking out the steak, “Dawn knows the way to a man’s heart”, Middle Boy’s friend said “why can’t my mom cook as good as you?”, to which Middle Boy said it’s because “she puts a lot of love in it.” That really made my day. Because I really did put a lot of love in all three meals. And I meant it.
I realized after reflecting on all this Birthday Breakfast stuff that I felt rather maternal toward them. I’m not actually their mother, and even “stepmother” is more of a title than anything. I wondered if this is how moms with a bunch of teenage boys feel, when they’re cooking their sons’ favorite meals. It was nice. God has opened my eyes recently to the wonders of my stepsons. They really are terrific young men. I’m glad that God has put them in my life.
And so, this gives me hope for my own son, who is in the same moment endearing and exasperating, loving and annoying, cute and rotten. I still haven’t figured out what makes a boy tick, but I know the way to his heart is through his stomach…thank you, Lord, for giving me the ability to cook! And thank you for all these boys in my life, and what I have learned from them…and what I will learn in the years to come. They have added a dimension to my life I never knew existed, and for that I am truly grateful.