Tuesday, February 10, 2009


A 'Man-boy' is what my oldest daughter and I always called boys who were starting to look like (but rarely act like...) men. Their voices change, they grow taller, they get a (very) little hair on their faces. They start to stink - either from a body that has developed into a need for multiple-daily applications of deodorant, or from trying to cover it up with some 'cologne' from Walgreens.
Moms, for Pete's sake - Teach your boys what a 'dab' is.

The same goes for hair gel.

Oh, and their feet grow faster than their coordination. And they start caring about what they wear. Not exactly fashionistas, and wrinkled apparel still doesn't faze them, but they do start taking enough of an interest that you can't just buy all their outfits for them anymore.

Do I sound like a Man-boy Expert? Well, I should be! I have 7 sons, 2 sons-in-law, and 3 grandsons.

And last week, my most recent Man-boy turned 17. (He's pictured here with his sister because I couldn't get the photo editing program to work. I planned on cropping her out. Which she totally deserved after the attitude she had this morning!)

Could this really be the same boy I first met 9 years ago at a McDonalds Play Place, where his foster mom had brought him to hang out for a few hours with his 4 younger brothers and their foster moms?

Is this the little guy who put plastic balls under his shirt-sleeves to make him look all muscular to try to impress me? (He sure doesn't need those plastic balls now!)

Yep, this is the boy I fell in love with as soon as I saw him cling to his 18 month old baby brother as he explained to me (a woman he had just met) how he used to feed "his baby" with a bottle.

And this is the boy whose clinging to turned to crying when the foster moms told him and his brothers it was time to go to their separate "homes".

Could it have been 9 years? I'd be lying if I said it had been easy.
Worth it, yes. Easy, no.

You can't expect a boy who was the oldest of 5 - all born of the same mom and dad, all born within a six-year time span to come out unscathed and without a glitch or two....or three :)

You can't expect a boy who was abandoned on Christmas Eve by parents he loved, only to spend two years in foster care, then be reunited with his brothers through adoption into a family that would now have 11 children - You can't expect a boy like that just to unconditionally love those new parents and new siblings.

But he did.

And he's amazing in so many ways!

I love the way he's not afraid to hug me in front of his friends - and to put his arm around me while we sit in church.

I love that my husband and I were the first ones to tell him about Jesus. And the look on his face when he first heard the story of Creation, and the Flood,.....and the Cross. And I loved watching him join the church, and knowing that God must surely have a wonderful plan for a boy who had been plucked out of such a troubled, pitiable situation.

I love how hard he worked trying to learn to read. All those phonics programs! And how hard he continues to work to overcome the learning problems he assuredly has because of neglect in his early years. (God, please give him an extra measure of perseverance. He's going to SO need it.)

I love how he's stepped up to be the oldest boy at home now that his older brothers are grown and out on their own. And how he's become the resident computer guru, lawn maintenance/pool guy, and expert fix-it man.

I love the smile he gets on his face when he stands next to me and realizes he's taller than me.

I love watching him do ANY sport. He's amazing. And I'm not the only one who thinks so!

I love hearing him pray. And I'm so glad he knows how. He'll need to do it often to survive in this world that can be downright cruel to those who don't fit perfectly.

It's scary watching him turn 17. It's just an educated guess, but I'm thinking next year he'll be 18. Then 19. Then 20. In the next five years he'll graduate and need to figure out what to do with his life. He may even find a girl he wants to marry.

He may want to look for his biological parents.

He may start to wonder why they would leave five little boys alone in a crack house with no food. He may entertain thoughts that he could've done something to make them leave. I hope God allows me to set him straight! (again....)

Yes, my Man-boy is now on the cusp of real manhood. But he's in my heart for good.
And I have a feeling he's going to need me for a while.

Which is just fine.

Happy Birthday, Winston.

I love you more each day,


P.S. If you came looking for the Laundry Cure I mentioned on The Pretty Organizer's blog comments - Come back Friday.....Please :)


busymomof10 said...

What a precious post!!! But, you made me cry!!!!

jodi said...

God really couldn't have given those boys a better earthly picture of Himself than you and bo-- great post-

BParrish said...

I only have one adopted and two biological, but I join you in your prayers for Winston and his siblings. I'm so glad God had you and your family all picked out for them.

Moriah @ Please Pass the Salt said...

Just beautiful.

(And Walgreens 'cologne' - LOL!)

becca said...

wow. I'm crying AGAIN (oh the joy of blogs that lead you to other blogs that post something that makes me CRY). I just came here b/c I saw your comment on Pretty Organized Place...I have 3 boys, 1 girl, so I was intrigued :) Then I saw you were reformed Christian... not REAL sure what "reformed" means to you, but I call myself reformed Baptist :)
Anyway, God bless you for taking in those boys so they can be together.

Kasey said...

thank you Debbie for adding me to your blogroll.
you have a beautiful family!!
now i'm off to peruse your lovely blog.

Erin said...

You really should put a warning about incredibly touching stories that will make me cry at work. :) thank you for sharing this.

Laura said...

Beautiful post. Thank-you for the insight into what's ahead for me. My boys are still little but I see the spark of "man" in them.

brite said...

Very sweet...and that boy is ripped!

Jax said...

Despite all the camera complaints we've heard from you, those are pretty good "air-time" pictures! :) And I can't believe Winston is 17 either...or that he was several years younger than Daniel when we met him!

Krista said...

What a sweet post. Happy Birthday to Winston!

Pretty Organizer said...

Ahhh!!! You're making me want to adopt AGAIN... an urge I fight monthly!

Yes, I came over for the laundry post. Here I think I got the laundry thing down... you know I had to come over and humble myself at your feet.

What a great mom you are. Much of those milestones are to your credit as well. Raising a boy to without care hug his mom and tell her he loves her is... well amazing (I have 2 of them too!) There's not much better in this world than watching those Man-Boys take the change and wrestle it with determination and a desire to do what's right.

Girl, I gotta meet you some day! Blissdom '09! I'll be the goofy looking mom in Wal-Mart wear with the jeans from the last decade that just happen to fit and a pair of shoes on that I'll wear the entire trip because they're comfortable... not stylish. Priorities!

Pretty Organizer

lea said...

yeah those air-time photos are GREAT... umm, i think i took those. and stop making me cry. i just wrote a sweet post (that will go up tomorrow) about my boy (who loves to dance). so it has a slightly different feel than your sporty boy, but the same amount of love and the same amount of prayer needed!

mer@lifeat7000feet said...

That was a beautiful post.

Moriah sent me over here to read it and I am so thankful she did.

Thank you.

Musings of a Housewife said...

OMG, this totally made me cry. I came over because Moriah sent me. Thank you for sharing and being.

Davene said...

Thanks for sharing this beautiful portrait of who Winston is now, where he's come from, and where you see him heading. I especially appreciate the little glimpse into the circumstances of his early life.

In my extended family, there is lots of adoption; and each situation has its own unique story. It's amazing to see how God's transforming work is present in our children, biological and adopted.

You continue to be an inspiration to me!

cbjohnson said...

How incredibly touching. I am not crying. You gave those babies a blessing and are blessed in return. Our God is good! All the time.

Kelley said...

Count me in as one of the cryers:-) What a sweet post...

Lauren B said...

Momma Pittman, You're so precious. I cannot believe Winston is 17...I remember visiting you all even when they were just visiting and then coming up right after they all arrived at the house in Quincy. He truly is amazing and it is such a blessing to watch you talk about him like this. Thanks for being an example of a mother who looks for a best in her children--I'm inspired...and in tears like everyone else. :)

Meg in Tally said...

#1..No Kleenex alert...not good.
#2..I cannot BELIEVE its been 9 years!
#3..Hard to believe we have 17 year olds running around! They were so young a few days ago..
#4..Great post, wonderful insight, Winston is a blessed young man.