Sunday, September 25, 2011

Jess's thoughts on a couple of boys she thinks are swell...

So for me, this fall seems to be holding a sort of grand transition... a shift in the grid of my whole world. I have becoming increasingly aware of this as my youngest son Eliot began high school this year. His (and my) summer began with the immersion into the world of Marching Band (plays cymbals in the drumline)... the grueling schedule of Band Camps and rehearsal schedules began long before the school doors opened. The first day of school was an afterthought for him... he went in with more confidence than I have probably ever had in my whole life. He knows who he is, he knows who he's not and he knows he doesn't have to be any different in order to matter. This is remarkable to me in a school of 3500 kids and a subculture of 260 like minded band geeks... his definition, not mine. (If you're wondering, Eliot is on the left side of the picture, 2nd from the top.) I wish you could see him when he's on the field... when they are rallying the crowds, he is oozing with energy, excitement and utter delight! It is unbelievably fun to watch!

In the meantime, my oldest son Gavin began his Senior year. This has been it's own little process of trying to wrap my brain around that. I've tried to stay present and intentional in this matter as it is easy to get overwhelmed by the daunting knowledge that this child we've raised is on the cuspis of becoming a man. One year from now, he will likely live elsewhere. That statement alone brings tears to my eyes. I just can't imagine. As those tears bulge behind my eyeballs, my motherly instincts kick in. I gather my whits about me and ask myself if I have done all I can to equip him for when he stands alone in a world that will not always be on his side.

This season of our life is unique. It is a time of stepping away, while always being there if counsel, insight or direction is needed. I will admit, I have struggled with this... not because I don't trust Gavin, but because this world we live in is often cruel and cares little of others. I've spent his whole life protecting him from the realities of that.. but the time has come for him to find his own way of navigating these things. I believe we have equipped him well. He is a wise young man and walks with a fine balance of caution and playfulness. This would be a signifigantly different experience if this was not the case and for that I'm overwhelmingly grateful. I have been blessed beyond measure in the man that Gavin has become and the friends that God has encircled Gavin with. They are people of character and I love how they love him. I have come to see that they are soft places for him to fall when life's rough edges leave it's cuts and bruises... they are his people... they are his tribe. They are God's way of caring for him when it is time for his mom to step back a bit and let her boy become a man.

As mothers, we pour ourselves into our children. We hope with all that is within us that they will become confident, independant individuals who will move about in the world with kindness and compassion while still carrying with them a pocket full of adventure and fearlessness. What one forgets is that when they do just that... they leave you behind. When they grow... they grow away from you... and as proud as you are to see them doing so, a new longing forms in your soul. A longing for moments that they choose to come back... to play with you... to laugh with you... to share their journey with you again.