Thursday, May 8, 2014

My boy and when dreams really do come true


Another milestone this weekend.

When I first started this blog, I wrote a post about my son beginning his freshman year at the University of Georgia. This weekend, four years later, he’s graduating with a bachelor of science in forest resources from the Warnell School of Forestry—emphasis in wildlife sciences and will walk away a certified Wildlife Biologist.

We saw it coming. When he was just a baby, I read The Animals of Farmer Jones so much, the back came off. His assortment of plastic animals kept growing and growing until one day when he was  four I peeked into the playroom, and he sat in the center of epic circles of wildlife—wave after wave of species.
Mostly horses here!!
 
His grandparents gave him a subscription to a set of wildlife cards that came in the mail every month, and he began memorizing them immediately. Eventually, he could roll off anything you wanted to know about the creatures in Australia, the wildlife on Galapagos, or whether there were venomous snakes in Montana.

His favorite became reptiles--plastic snakes everywhere. So much so, that when a real snake made its way into the house, it took me a few moments to realize it wasn’t fake. It seemed we always had some sort of reptile in our "reptile ranch." At any given time, it might be a tree frog, a snake, or any one of various lizards.
We supported him as much as possible, even attending the yearly Snake Day at a local nature center. Everyone there seemed to have a cold-blooded coil wrapped around their arm. With tanks of venomous Copperheads and Rattlesnakes, I’d stand there with chill bumps rolling up my arms pretending I was as fascinated with them as my son was.
He once found a green racer in the front yard, wrapped it around a pencil and brought it inside. “Oh, Mom isn’t he cute?” he said as he poked it right in front of my nose.

Game face.

We kept a large king snake in the back yard for years. Even named him Blackie. Then a neighbor chopped his head off. I was surprised at how upset I was. It seemed my son’s love for snakes was rubbing off on me.
 

When he was in middle school, my husband took him to an exquisite low country wilderness to hunt wild Russian boars. If any doubt remained as to what direction his life would take, that sealed the deal.


 
On the way to school, the day after he returned, he said, “Mama, going hunting with Dad has changed the way I see the world.” He pointed to a clump of brush on the roadside, “Before those were just bushes, now, I wonder if there might be some pigs in there.”
He recently finished a months-long senior project in which he evaluated a large tract of land for deer habitat.
Caught a picture of him just after he made his final presentation.
 

On Friday we’ll be cheering him on as he receives that diploma for which he’s worked so long. So proud of him. We’ll be thanking God for the dreams he plants in the hearts of our children. We’ll swell with gratitude that God does indeed order our steps.

If you’re out and about and notice a young man cruising timber, or catch a camouflaged figure in the early morning stalking through the woods, or maybe see a guy with a camo hat turned backwards wearing a University of Georgia shirt walking a big brown dog named Lucy—that might be my boy. Say hello, and be reminded that dreams really do come true.

“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him” (Psalm 37:23).

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