In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. 1 Peter 3:15
Today is my son, Trevor’s, 17th birthday. Coming just a week after my oldest son left for college I find myself particularly reflective and nostalgic on an otherwise unremarkable, Monday birthday.
Trevor has been content to be the “wind beneath his brother’s wings” for most of his life; no, more than content, fulfilled. It began when they were toddlers; Trevor would take on a pack of plastic plant-eating dinosaurs knowing full well that his brother’s carnivores would defeat and eat his in short order. Whatever his big brother took an interest in Trevor enthusiastically followed, from Pokemon to skating. What became clear throughout their growing up time together was that Trevor had a singular focus: unconditional love of his big brother. The other thing that became clear was his unique ability to love without expectation. Not that he didn’t receive love back, but it had no bearing on Trevor’s abundant, wholehearted love for his brother. It’s an approach to love that Trevor extends to others in his life as well.
That brotherly love cultivated a core to Trevor that has shaped the man he is becoming. He is a rock both physically and in his character. He said to me recently, “I like to be someone people know they can count on.” I was so moved and humbled by his statement and the simple truth of it in my experience of him.
Trevor’s greatest life passion right now is for athletics. A notoriously heavy sleeper, he will pop out of bed at 5:30 a.m. to go work out. Part of that drive is his accountability to his teammates. This big strong boy has been reduced to tears when he has felt his performance has let his teammates down. And when asked to lead he carries that burden heavily because he believes he must work twice as hard to be a worthy model. He doesn’t say these things out loud; I know them only because I get to edit his school essays and then watch him live them out. Trevor values trust more highly than anyone I know. He knows it is an unspoken foundation to loving relationships. He has worked hard to earn and keep our trust, even when it has come at a cost.
If all of this sounds like Mother Glow, it certainly is, but there are two things that make this gush worth sharing. The first is that these heartfelt thoughts about my son are not where my eyes lead me to focus on a day-to-day basis. I see the messy room, the stinky sports gear and the child who cannot get out of bed with alarms blaring and me yelling his name until I’ve reached the target TPS (“Trevors” per second, his term). But now that my oldest has flown the coop I am committing to be more intentional about taking time to seek joy in the many blessings my children offer as they grow up.
Second, I realized in this process how much I have to learn from my son, and I invite us as parents to take a fresh look at our children as not just receptacles for, but sources of, wisdom. Beneath the shell of this typical teenage boy lies a heart that knows the Lord, and one who strives to live in a manner that provokes others to question the “reason for the hope that is in [him].” Here is the wisdom I’m borrowing from my son today:
- Live positively. Trevor’s words for other people are almost always filled with grace and positivity. He chooses to spend his time in laughter and encouragement with his friends. He expends little energy on people or situations that are not positive, and that helps ensure he almost always is.
- Love abundantly. I encouraged Trevor one time to guard his heart so as not to open himself up to being hurt. He looked up at me through tear-filled eyes and simply said, “I can’t.” That’s not how God made him. He loves as hard as he hugs.
- Think deeply, live simply. Trevor thinks deeply about the issues that count, what he believes and struggles with about God, life, family and living out his faith. He has surprised me on more than one occasion with the unusual perspective he brings to such topics. And yet he lives them out simply in his approach to each day.
- Don’t worry, be happy. Finally, while I have always envied the absence of worry in his life, the car accident Trevor experienced last summer deepened his awareness that all he has is today and it is a gift. He is a 17-year-old who lives with the end in mind.
I close this post by sharing a final secret for the few of you, other than his grandmothers, who made it this far: With every post I write I strive to find eternal truths in my life experience that can encourage or support others. Today that goal is there, but I also needed to write about how wide and how deep is my love for this boy. On the day he was born my father said to me, “This boy is going to bring you a lot of joy.” And indeed he does, every, single day.
Happy birthday, Trevor Nelson Kirsch.
3 thoughts on “From the Lives of Babes”
Gorgeous. All of it: Trevor, your writing, your love, your willingness to look under the smelly sheets and see the teenager who is being formed into a man of God. Love reading your posts!
Maura, thank you for your gracious words of encouragement, my friend!
I LOVE Trevor and I have never even met him. Your post is so gorgeous I am sitting in a public place weeping. Don’t ever stop writing.
Sent from my iPhone