Once upon a time there was a little boy named Drew. He had many charming hobbies, such as lining up matchbox cars with precision, pointing out dozens of countries on the globe, and reading -- and memorizing -- his favorite books. He often referred to his mom as "Mother Bear," which only added to the charm of this little man.
He spent his days studying birds (while wearing the bird identification guide at Papa and Noni's house to shreds), observing the routine of the garbage, recycling and yard debris trucks (which often included sleeping with Waste Management pamphlets) and soaking in the world of Thomas the Tank Engine (which meant that *everyone* in his family received a new Thomas-related name).
Another favorite hobby of his was to watch the airplanes come in at the
airport or the "mighty machines" work their magic at construction sites. His mom would pack a sack lunch and drive down to the airport or the nearest excavation site
where they would sit and watch the machines for hours and hours.
One day, while looking through his favorite animal encyclopedia, Drew decided that he would faithfully work his way from beginning to end, dressing up as each animal for Halloween, one animal per year. He began with "Aardvark" and fully intended to appear as a "Zebra" by the time he was in his 100s (but probably older).
As he grew, it didn't take long for him to realize that it wasn't very realistic to stick with that plan. He pursued other interests and gradually shed matchbox cars, Thomas characters and Aardvark enthusiasm in favor of hobbies such as basketball, writing and video production. He no longer referred to his mom as "Mother Bear," but he continued to care for her and his siblings in many other endearing ways.
Time marched on, and before he knew it, little Drew had become a young man. He turned fifteen, which had once meant that he would be preparing a "Badger" costume for the next Halloween. Of course by this time he no longer held such dreams. Instead he was anticipating driver's ed, joining friends at the gym to shoot hoops, visiting the orthodontist, attending youth group, writing video scripts and working out college plans and career dreams.
There were times when, as he slept, his mother blessed him while fondly looking back on the "Mother Bear" and "Thomas" days with just a twinge of longing. To hear that little voice call her name, to see those blue eyes sparkle as the fire engine roared by, to see those dimpled hands line up matchbox cars once again.
But in waking, as he put his arms across her shoulders and offered to make tea, mow the lawn or tend to a sibling, she knew that this was right. This growing up business was good and beautiful and fascinating, and God had great plans for this young man. And so Mother Bear would continue to hope, watch and pray, realizing that swapping matchbox cars for the unknown is called faith, that trading Thomas engines for the future is called trust, and that exchanging excavators for eternity is called love.