My son turning 13 this weekend, with subsequent really exciting behavior (not!!), got me thinking about the parallels of parenting, the teenage years and our relationship with God.
It was time to divvy up the USC football game tickets for this past Saturday and because it was Braden's birthday on Sunday, we gave him the choice of whom to bring. Four tickets: one for him, one for his dad, one for his friend, Andrew - so who would take that elusive fourth ticket?
We went round and round trying to figure it out with him until finally, my husband said, "Well, if you can't figure out a friend and Andrew's dad can't go, we can bring Mom."
Without skipping a beat, Braden yelled, "Nooooooo!!!"
The whole room stopped for a moment (everyone was probably wondering how I was going to react) until I said, "How do you really feel Braden?"
We all laughed and he said, "No offense, Mom, but you don't go to a college football game with your best friend and your mom." ("Mom" was really two syllables here...more like 'mah-ahm.') Of course, forget that Drew, Braden, Andrew and I have gone to countless football games together over the years. I have the pictures to prove it! That's when it really started hitting home that my relationship with my teenage son was changing.
Don't get me wrong.
I'm happy that Braden is on a path of normal teenage boy development.
Countless studies have been done to show the detachment from the mother and reattachment to the father begins now.
I'm all for Braden and Drew strengthening their relationship - and I'm even for not having to go to all of the ballgames (not my favorite pastime anyway).
But throw me a bone, dude!
This, after all, is my mini-me.
The kid who has always gotten and LOVED my humor...
Who has sought my counsel and my comfort...
Whose favorite phrase for years has been, "Mom, we are so the same person."
I'm losing my little buddy.
These are the sounds of me trying to shift gears into a new reality.
Yet, as I began making my (unwanted) adjustments, the bone was thrown.
Braden and Drew came home from a not terribly terrific doctor visit the other day. Braden, in his hormonal, growing physical situation, is having trouble with his Type I Diabetes.
A new normal was proposed with new rules for what and when he can eat certain items that he loves.
Just drive a stake through my heart...it's so terribly difficult to watch him go through this.
At the same time, I was having a hard day of continuing grief over my the loss of my dad. It hit me that day for no real concrete reason, but there it was and there wasn't much I could do about it. This, coupled with the fact that a project on which I had been working had been declined, made it a pretty rough day.
After the appointment, Braden was sitting at the dining room table doing his homework. He was clearly upset. I came in and sat at his feet and said, "Pretty rough visit, huh?" He started talking, "Almost no one understands what it's like to live with this every day." He talked and talked and I listened as only we do for each other, so alike are we in how we feel and process.
In the midst of him venting, he looked down at me and said, "Have you been crying?"
I said, "Yeah, a little. I'm having a hard day missing Grandpa. And that project I've been working on..."
He whispered, "Was it rejected?"
I said "Yeah," really softly.
He reached out and touched my knee and said, "Oh, Mom, I'm so sorry. I thought I was having a hard day but yours was much harder."
In the midst of all of the typical eye rolling, contentiousness, rejection and dismissals...
amidst all of these behaviors I find frustrating and upsetting...
My son showed his true heart.
A heart of beauty.
A heart of compassion.
A heart of understanding and reassurance.
And there my parallel was born.
There have been so many times I have denied my Father.
Times that I yelled, "Noooooooooo!" at His presence in my life.
Times that I have put my friendships and desires above His being with me in Spirit and Word.
Times that I longed to traverse the long and narrow on my own,
with my own agenda,
with my own desires,
with my own company.
Yet when it really came down to it, I was with Him.
I wanted Him to be happy and proud of me.
I wanted to do for Him and listen to Him and reach out to touch Him.
I wanted to interrupt the diatribe I felt was so important and look His way and notice His presence in my life.
I only needed to open my heart fully to Him.
So like this relationship with my Father is that of my relationship with my son.
In that moment of him reaching out to me,
every action that had upset me in the days, weeks, months prior were erased.
That one reach was all it took to reconnect us.
I know my Father loves me like that.
Anything I do to push Him away fades to nothing when I come back to Him.
His love for me is that strong.
His knowledge of my heart pure.
His forgiveness impeccable and His understanding transcendent.
Lord, help me to always show my true heart to You.