My husband came in to the office where I was again trying to help one of my high schoolers work on a project. “Christian fell asleep downstairs. I put him in his bed. I’m going to bed too. Goodnight.” He kissed me as quickly as the internal sigh behind those words and left the room.
Another night without reading and cuddles and family prayer. The end of the school year is hard and with a graduating Senior and two other teenagers, my ten-year old was suffering from my lack of attention. I felt the disconnect between us. He was spending too much time in the evening playing video games instead of playing with me. I call Christian my “gift from God.” He is peaceable, pure, tender, funny, and smart. Kindness runs through his veins as his life force. I went in to his dark bedroom lit only by the nightlight that makes blue stars on his ceiling. He was buried deep as a sleeping turtle under the three quilts that stay on his bed, no matter how warm it is in the house. I touched his cheeks and his hair and kissed him and said a prayer. “Lord, I need to connect with my son. I have no time with him anymore. Help me to figure out a way to do this and have some alone time with him.” It was succinct and sincere.
I went to bed late and woke up early. The morning scuffle began and I got them all off to school with hearty lunches packed. I had a busy day planned – exercise, shower, a morning appointment, a visit with my grandmother, a grocery store run, and hopefully squeezing in a half an hour of writing before the 2:00 pick up began. I had barely gotten through the first two when the dreaded phone call came from Christian, “Mom, I’m sick. I have a headache and I feel like I’m going to throw up.” It’s the phone call that shatters all your plans.
I rushed to the school and accessed the situation, “Are you sure you can’t stay?” I asked, hoping. He could not. As we drove, he leaned his seat back and the fresh air cooled his face. I’m always struck by the beauty of his freckles. Color was coming back. Then, it hit me. Amidst all my selfishness I hadn’t seen the tender mercy. God had answered my prayers immediately. I had time alone with my boy. Time I would never have had without this sickness. All of the other plans for that day seemed completely insignificant. We went on a long drive. Miraculously, he seemed to feel better within an hour. We went to lunch. We laughed. We went on another long drive where I got to tell him about the birds and bees. For months, I had been trying to find a time that was perfect. That day it was handed to me by God’s large hand – a day filled with the fleeting plumpness of Spring, heavy with lilacs, lush grass, and snow-tipped mountains. I savored every moment. When I finished explaining and answering all of his questions, Christian looked up toward heaven, raised both hands and courageously said, “Goodbye Childhood.”
Yes, childhood, goodbye.
What are the moments you’ve savored lately with your children?
our selfie after lunch