I swear. The hardest thing I’ve ever done is try to be a good parent. There’s no book and I probably wouldn’t have read it if there was. I began with great ideals and have flexed into a more adaptive role realizing that kids and situations vary and that some of my ideals would have likely put them on a therapist’s couch for years to come. I pray a lot.
There have literally been times during the last 15 years when I look at my kids and say, “Just give me a minute. I’ve never been in this situation before and I’m not sure what I am going to do.” That may sound weak, but frankly, I think they’ve come to respect it and the fact that I take this job seriously.
This last year, when my eldest went to high school, it really caused me to realize how little I will influence his remaining days at home. The wonderful thing is that we’ve had the discussion. As he entered his freshman year, I told him that I’d really done what I could for him and now, it’s up to him. He’s had the privilege of good education, great athletic coaching, and everything else that I could think of to fire his synapses over the years. I’ve worked hard to show he and his brothers how much they have in this world and how it’s their responsibility to take care of others. And while everyone says it, the years do go remarkably fast.
A couple of weeks ago, he went for his driving permit. It wasn’t on the exact day that he was eligible like I did. Rather, he waited until it was convenient for the family. I’ve been letting him drive a lot. It’s both fun and nerve-racking but part of the fun is watching how seriously he’s taking it. I’m working to point out absolutely every hazard that has ever crossed my mind and where all of the photo radar is located (not that he’ll be going fast).
Then last week, something occurred that caused me to pause and be thankful. Despite my failed attempts at parenting, he’s growing up okay. A letter came in the mail from the department of Motor Vehicles where he received his driving permit. It was from the organ donor organization and I felt a bit panicked that they’d be soliciting my child but as we read through it, he was receiving the letter as a thank you because he’s already signed up as an organ donor.
I get teary as I write. Honestly, as a 15 year old I don’t think I’d have been willing to consider becoming an organ donor. I was far too vain for the idea of someone else using my body parts. In fact, it wasn’t until a friend had a tragic horse accident and was able to give her eyes, that I even became familiar with the concept.
Yet here is this kid, my 15 year old baby, an adolescent in the throes of becoming a man. Physically he’s there. Mentally, I’m told we have several years before the frontal lobe is fully capable yet he’s made an important decision. He’s giving of himself for the betterment of others. Wow.
Happy Birthday sweet son!