~One is twelve, on the on-ramp to teenager and close enough to begin merging.~
He's homeschooled, in the third year of figuring out which face I wear, mom or teacher, and how to find some sliver of space that doesn't resonate with my voice or demand being shared with a little brother. He's riding the solid line with his left tire, begging the road to roll up closer so he can rev the engine just a bit ~ impatient to taste the freedom that rolled-down windows and a little more speed whips across a smile.
~One is eighteen, having crested hills and dropped low through valleys, always pushing the speedometer needle higher, almost to nineteen and watching for the exit signs to adult.~
He's graduated, having driven through four different high school hallways, navigating public school road hazards, and picking up a few hitch-hikers. He's so happy that stretch of road is behind him that he almost threw his GPS out the window so he would never have to hear "recalculating" again.
And here we are, waiting for the one to get his Air Force job assignment and a ship-out date, the other one to step in to the role of "oldest" in the house. And all of us trying not to live in the Land of Liminal. Teen years are challenging. I expected to usher the one out the door before the other one arrived at them. Honestly, I'm struggling a bit through some days. I'm trying to preserve the hard-won ties of trust the older one has agreed to knot back together with me before he drives off and our relationship enters a new "normal." Struggling because the younger one wants to follow some of the same roads, and I'm older and wiser now, and would protect him against the accidents that happen sometimes when you drive without a map. And all the while trying to figure out how to speak wisdom against folly without wounding the one who bears a few scars from his journey through TEEN. Somedays I do a very poor job of living with gratitude for just this day. It seems I was easier to "spread" around ~ more mom for everyone ~ when they were younger. Parenting definitely is a journey which takes courage, determination, and overwhelming love. I'm so grateful to get to ride with these boys for awhile...and that they haven't stopped the car and told me to get out!
Whatever land you find yourself in, whatever vehicle you drive, the people you share the journey with are what matter most. And the privilege to navigate a short stretch of road for your children is worth any bumps, potholes, or breakdowns you might have along the way.
Just don't let yourself run out of gas, Favored One.
I lift up my eyes to the hills -
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip -
he who watches over you will not
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD watches over you -
the LORD is your shade at your right
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all harm -
he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming
both now and forevermore.
...still counting gratitude...
572. walking arm in arm with Thomas
573. holding hands with Ben
574. warm, close embraces with Sam
575. seeing my man walk through the doors and having my heart "flip"
576. late-night, last minute grocery trips with Thomas
577. the check-out lady's delight in seeing me again and meeting my son
578. a warm bed to climb into (since it's almost midnight!)
579. Everything - to the only God - I call Father
580. He is watching, now and forever