Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Graduation Party - or - What I'd Do Differently if I Had a Chance to do it Again

I'm in the midst of preparing for our oldest son's high school graduation party. If 90% of the people invited show up, we'll have upwards of 120 people coming on through. I am so excited!

Naturally, when faced with the stress of having family and friends milling around one's home, I am in panic mode. Are the light bulbs dusty? Will the dog behave when locked away in our room during the party? Will I be able to keep the little ones sap-free? (We have many tall pines in the back yard, and for some reason little kids think they should climb them, then their moms get to figure out how to get sap out of tee shirts and shorts. No fun!) Will I have enough soda? Will it rain?

As my mind spins around on things not really that important, what I think I'm actually doing is trying to not think about what a huge milestone this is. I have, in effect, one fledgling who is standing on the edge of the nest. How did that happen? Everyone and their sister told me that in motherhood the days are long but the years are fleeting. In a way, I feel a sense of relief, realizing that my son now needs to learn many things from life itself, not from me or my husband. There are some things that one must experience for oneself to truly get understanding and wisdom. Just like when our son was learning to walk, and fell all the time, so will be his journey into "real life". I hated watching him fall when he was a tot - I hate watching him fall as a teen.

Just recently God's grace was abundantly and articulately demonstrated to our boy in the form of a police warning rather than a ticket. Unfamiliar area, ignorance of the speed limit, and a need to be home by a certain time all combined to create the perfect storm of learning with regard to being attentive to posted speed limits, even when one is tired and all "funned-out". That fifteen minutes of life learning did so much more for our guy than our two years of cautioning. I am sure there will be many more life lessons, perhaps with less grace-filled results. But through it all our son will learn as we did that things happen, and how we respond to those things is usually an indicator of how well we're doing with our walk with the Lord.

Future lessons aside, I'm in a reflective mood, too, as I scurry around looking for picture frames and party supplies. If I had to raise my son all over again, what would I do differently? Years ago Erma Bombeck had a column in which she talked about those things she'd do differently entitled "If I Had My Life to Live Over" which has caused me over the years to try to pause and really enjoy certain parts of life.

Alpha Child has been our experiment child - a title he holds with great pride. I can't tell you how many times I've apologized to him over the years for having very unrealistic expectations of him. The good thing is, though, that I have learned much, and we have always been very close. I love it when he comes home from work and talks to me about his day. I love it when he sees the hand of God in something over which he's been praying. I love to hear him play the piano in worship to God. I love his quirky sense of humor... there are times he's the only one in the family who can follow my own twisted humor trails.

Our son isn't leaving just yet. He's taking what we're calling a "buffer" year - a year to really seek God and try to figure out the direction in which he's supposed to go. He'll live at home, work a lot, and save money. This is good for us, because we really enjoy him. But the time will come when he'll pack his belongings and wave goodbye to us in the driveway. For now, I can think about party planning and ceiling fan cleaning - I don't have to think about the time when he'll leave us, and the fact that we'll face that four more times as our other birds stretch out their wings and fly as God leads. It's during reflective times like these that I am so thankful to the Lord that He gave us a large family. BUT eventually they will all be on their own. It's my hope that by the time our youngest leaves that some of my older kids will have married and will be calling me up to say, "Guess what, Mom! You're gonna be a grandma!"

I have truly been blessed with the things in life that really matter, far more than I deserve. To God be all the glory, for He's the one who has been exceedingly kind to me. Thank You, Lord, for Your many blessings!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, he graduated!!! I always remember when you started homeschooling you would say "We'll take it one year at a time". And you made it! Congrats to your boy and to you and your DH for doing an awesome job and being a real example for us. I know when my oldest son interacts and plays with younger kids he is imitating the kindness that your Alpha boy has always shown to him. Send our warmest wishes and prayers to your son!