Those old trials were exchanged for new ones-homework battles, bullies and defiance became the school-aged challenges, added to the growing pile of laundry.
And now, my three oldest, well they're becoming fine young men. I think they should be well-prepared to make their entrance into the world as independent adults, but not just yet. I'm not quite done holding on to them and loving them through the birthing process. I'm still laboring and I'm still doing laundry. But this laboring, this birthing adults, has challenges of its own that I couldn't possibly foresee when I was simply (simply! ha!) pushing them out of the womb and into the earthly air. The challenges of teaching them to drive, helping them to discern their life vocations, and walking with them through the world of women brings mothering to a whole new level of joy and sorrow intertwining.
|not my actual car, but this is pretty much what it looks like now|
Last weekend, on the slippery, icy roads, a car was crashed. It was my car. My sweet, new-to-me Hyundai Sonata with a sun-roof car that I've only owned for a year. My first car that wasn't a van in over 20 years. My car that was fashionable and sporty and yet could still fit groceries for a family of seven in the trunk. My car that just had an oil change, a full tank of gas and a car wash. I thank God that there were no injuries, but I can't help but mourn for the loss of the vehicle I loved. Detachment is such a difficult challenge. Sometimes God has to physically pry our hands loose from the material so that He can get a message through our thick heads, doesn't He?
And today His message to me is coming through loud and clear. That message is "Hold on. You're not done birthing your boys yet. The best part is yet to come-the part where they give back to you, where they hold your hand and carry you through your own trials, the payoff where you can take a little bit of satisfaction in a job well-done."
In the absence of my own car, my two oldest sons, just 19 and 20 years old, have been rising at 6 AM to take their mother to daily Mass and then drive me to work. It's precious time, that 15 minute drive in the early morning; time when my sons can open up to me about their lives in private conversations; time when we can thank and praise the Lord together as we participate in Mass; time when they can offer the gift of their loving care and gratitude to their mother for the many sacrifices that she has made for them. And I love it.
I don't think I'll be too hasty about shopping for a new car. I think I'll take my time and enjoy the gift of simplicity and family love that one less vehicle in the household brings about. And as I linger on the joyful thought of these moments of early morning time with my sons, I'll be sure to thank God for the gift of holding on for just a little while longer before they leave the nest for homes of their own. And I might just offer that prayer of thanksgiving while I'm folding the most recent pile of laundry! That would really be gratitude!
(Dear Reader, if you, like me, struggle to detach from your own vehicles, you might enjoy this post: Dear Anonymous. And make sure you read the post to which that one was responding, here, at Inside Out.