Thursday, July 13, 2006
The Boy Becomes A Man
A full year before the Government recognizes my son as an adult, I know from experience that today will be the day. Today, my son turns 17 and for his gift, he will recieve his first car. Today, when we hand him those keys, I know I will cry. My boy, my second smallest baby, the constant source of storytelling in our family, will be given his freedom to become a man. The first time he drives out of our driveway, will be the first time he leaves the nest. For the next couple of years he will be like a fledgling, but he will begin with this car, learning to bear responsibility like a man.
I know this in itself does not make him a man, but (as a warning to all those who have yet to experience this) with the first car comes responsibility, a job, and freedom to come and go. Yes, there will be the standard restrictions set in place by us, as parents, and society, but I have learned that by the time this day comes, they have long ago learned that they have a will. With a car, comes a greater ability to excercize said "will".
I was shocked when my oldest daughter got her first car and that was basically when our life with her ended. It wasn't a gradual separation as it had been till that point, nor was it sudden, but it was like the saw that had been used to cut the apron strings had suddenly become a power saw. She still lives here four years later, but we rarely see her between her working and her social life.
I didn't realize it would happen so fast and I was left reeling. With the car came a job and we no longer had to take her to school functions and social engagements. I hadn't realize how much time a job would take or that her driving herself would take away from time we had with her. Now I know. Now I am prepared at least intellectually, but emotionally, I do not want to go through this again.
I haven't had to experience (thank you, Lord, and please protect my other 3 children)a rebellious child, but I was one myself. No amount of rules or restrictions can hold a child back if they decide to go, unless they break the law and end up in jail. Only respect holds them back at this point. Let me tell you, I have seen this boy, who is 6 feet tall and probably 275 lbs, excersize great restraint out of respect for me. I have seen the set jaw and the balled fists as he submitted to my 5'4" self ground and even spank him. He KNEW he could easily overtake me, but out of respect for me, he held himself in check and submitted to the correction.
My boy, my sweet tiny baby. At 2 we had to make him stop throwing balls of any kind in the house because he threw too hard. By the time he was 8, he had made a name for himself in the local baseball league. The one who kept terrorizing the cats. The one who "sacrificed" his daddy's brand new jeans while dancing around and covering them in glue. The one child that gave me more stories to tell by being SO mischievous while wearing the most disarming grin.
Now, he is the one that towers over me. The one that helps me when I can't reach things. The one who does things for me that I am too weak to do. The one who already takes on a great deal of responsibility for things around the house. The one who at one point would not let me hug him and who now will offer them at rare, but easy moments. I treasure each and every one.
Hthinks he is not the handsomest, but I know what is in his heart. He has a great capacity for love. He hides it out of his insecurities, but I know it is there. It is for this I pray for him-friends and someday a wife that will see the heart in him and love him all the more for it.
On the surface, he is so logical and non-chalant, but there is a depth to him that isn't easy to see. He is so intelligent-having a bent for math and science like his father, but he has artistic and creative abilities as well, like me.
Happy birthday my son and on this day we pass a torch on to you. You won't carry it fully right away, you will have some growing to do yet. But this torch is one that you must take. It comes with GREAT responsibility-perhaps to the point of death. There are times when a man must stand boldly between those he cares about and danger, even in the face of death. There are times when a man must work himself to exhaustion to provide for himself and his own. And someday, a man must stand before his God and account for his family because he is their spiritual head and is responsible for their spiritual training. This is the weight a man must bear. It is a heavy burden that will seem unbearable at times. Now it is time for you to take that torch and learn to carry it. You are capable and you are equipped. And now you have the tool you will need to find your place in the world.
A car? It doesn't seem like much to us anymore. But imagine being without one for the next 17 years and having someone give you one. He's gonna love it!