He’s growing up. I watch him from the window there. Playing football in the yard with a buddy. He doesn’t know I’m there so I linger for a while. I can’t get over how he is growing and changing. These middle school years are a mystery to me – I don’t know how any of us survived them.
To be honest, our whole family feels the weight of it with him. On the one hand I still see a child; on the other I see a man in the making. These are the in-between years. The picture that Rick has crafted and often comes to mind for me is a young knight in training – his arsenal in the making but him still clumsy with the various weapons. So, here he is stumbling around our backyard with a sword that is hard to wield because it’s still too big for him. Of course, in our case the weapons he hones are not swords, but issues of faith, character and gifting. These are the munitions he will take with him out into the world.
I see him growing stronger and more capable with each passing week. But, I can see so tangibly that he is pulled between two phases.
The cords to his childhood are fraying a bit but they hang on. Legos still call to him from the basement. His allowance still burns a hole in his pocket until he blows it on candy. The fun-factor often trumps just about everything else when it comes to making a decision. His go-to joke still involves bodily functions.
Meanwhile I see the ties to a future man becoming stronger. For example, at some point, his prayer life shifted a bit and his primary request from God is no longer just that “we’d have fun today.” Instead, he prays that he’d honor God today, no matter what. Or there was the other day when we were watching a NFL game and I asked him about the pink socks/gloves that many of the players are wearing. “Well, it’s supposed to be about breast cancer, Mom. But I think for a lot of these guys, it’s really about them. Drawing attention to themselves because it’s the cool thing to do now. I wonder how many of them really care about cancer.” It was such clear insight into the human nature that it sort of stunned me, actually. Then there is the lawn job that he held down all summer and his voluntary decision to give MORE than 10 percent of his earnings to God’s work in this world. (FYI: We use 10 percent as a standard baseline for giving and saving. So that’s what we require the kids to do right now.)
It’s a tenuous time – this pull between two phases. For him and for us!! Because he’s so mature at times, his still-youthful immaturity surprises and frustrates me. And his intensity multiplies all of it – the good and the not-so-good. His intensity has always multiplied everything – since he was a babe taking his first steps at nine-months-old. He has kept me on my toes ever since.
But, as I stood there at the window, I realized that, by God’s grace, I truly like what I see unfolding. I like who he is right now and I’m really excited about the man I see in the making. And, you know what? That’s a pretty good reason to linger at the window a little longer.
To whisper thanks and to ask for more grace.