"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Paul to the persecuted at Philippi (2:5-11)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Adulting. Yes, its a verb.

There's a meme going around the internet these days with the theme "can't adult today..."  and another that says something like "that moment when you look around for an adult and realize you are an adult so you look around for someone adultier than you." 

My eldest son is an adult.  I'm not sure when it happened.  It wasn't turning eighteen.  He was just the same at seventeen and 364 days as he was at 18, only he was eligible to vote and his signature was binding.  There is nothing developmentally magic about a birthday; it is just a transition from one day to the next, like any other.  It didn't happen at high school graduation either.  I was still fussing at him about the condition of his room, the lateness of his going to bed, and the manner in which he treated his brothers on the first day (week, month) after graduation.  Graduation, since he was homeschooled, was in itself a random thing, a "hey, you're out of assignments so congratulations and here is your grandfather's math book as a gift" thing.  We took him out to dinner.  That's about it. 

I can guess that some of the adult came along when college classes started.  Suddenly he had homework and there was no one to tell him to do it.  No one told him to go to church on Sunday either, but he did.  More adulting.  (Adulting... a word so non-existent that its giving spell checker fits right now.)  I suspect that more of his adultiness came along when he caught that first college cold the second week of class and there was nobody to tuck him in and bring him apple cider.  Doing his own post-cold laundry to get the germs out, hoping his roommate didn't catch his cold, this also was probably a transition point. 

But I can only guess.  Because I wasn't there.

And maybe that's the point.  It is when our parents aren't there that we become adults. 

I'm looking forward to a long friendship with my adult son (and his two not-yet-adult brothers eventually, too).  Sending him into the world where I am not there was about the hardest thing I've ever done.  Everything we do as parents leads up to this, and its a fine thing.  But in the end, when the caterpillar comes out of his homeschooled cocoon, mamma butterfly doesn't get to see the magic moment. 

And that's fitting, because it isn't our moment.

When I dropped him off at college, I realized that this is about him.  I was excited for him, how could I be sad for me?  This was his call, his life, and he was grasping it for the first time.  How could I mourn?  And I said to him that I realized that this was right, that if I had raised him to be mine, for my sake, I was treating him as a pet, not a person.  It was an off the cuff moment but it was the moment when I realized the truth in everything we always say, everything that the years have known. 

Our children are not ours.  They never were.  They're only entrusted to us until they no longer need that cocoon and are able to fly. 

But I do look forward to every time the boy will fly back home, to stretch our wings from time to time together, I hope, as long as mine have strength.