Friday, March 09, 2007

Spring '07

I’ve started to follow his form more closely as he strolls through the living room – heading, perhaps, to the refrigerator for a Coke or to the family room to watch a ballgame. I answer his calls more quickly when I see his number flash on my phone. I reach more eagerly into my wallet for the occasional ten or twenty. I’ve begun springing up from my chair when I hear him open the front door. Our wrestling and shadow boxing turns to hugs sooner than it used to. I buy steaks more than I should and those hot Italian sausages he likes. I sit and listen to the tones of ‘All Along the Watchtower’ wailing with precision from his fingertips and Fender amp wishing he would turn it up louder. I’m not fussing so much anymore about a dirty room or not knowing where he is at every minute on the weekends. I ask him more frequently about his friends, his school’s teams, the music he’s listening to and his plans for the summer. Friday evening I stood and stared out the window as he and Matt packed some things in a car and drove off to Bethany Hills for their last church retreat. Last night I gathered some photos for a senior class video, paging through innocent smiles, unrehearsed laughter and silly poses, marveling all the while at the peculiar rush of time. Memories tumble spontaneously into my conscience demanding my attention, calling forth a response of both celebration and sadness. I’ve started to follow his form more closely as he strolls through the living room – heading, perhaps, to a closet into which he will finally reach his hand - past basketballs, backpacks, sleeping bags, textbooks, ski gloves, t-shirts, footballs, fishing poles - and pull out the inevitable suitcase that will be on his shoulder when he says goodbye.

I can say with assurance that I am not suddenly attempting to cram 18 years of neglect into four months of concerned parenthood. My actions are much more selfish than that - I’m trying to grab as much of this joy as my soul can handle – stuffing it deeply and safely into a protected and reliable place - as one would pack provisions for a long journey. This is the good and sustaining stuff of life – one can never have enough.

As the spring of ’07 approaches and God’s green earth once again prepares to blossom forth, Sarah and I are preparing for another transition. Our little one has become young man and one part of his journey will soon give way to another. And so shall it be for his parents, as well. If you see some misty eyes, prolonged hugs and other acts of holding on, please have patience with us. We’re taking our first steps…