My oldest son will be turning 13 this fall. I almost cry just typing that. How in the world have you parents who are further along than me managed this? Did you also wish for some sort of restraint to hold them back from growing even a tiny bit more? Did you want to check and recheck the birth certificate to ensure you hadn’t made some mistake…maybe in your sleep deprived mind you’d somehow missed a year…. or 3… or 5?
Max left this morning to go fishing with his Dad. He’s done this many times. I love it and I hate it. I try not to allow fear to rule. I know that’s not healthy or right. Don’t misundertand….fears abound. The trick is to greet them, and then kick them to the curb with authority. Among my crazy, unrealistic fears…him being eaten by a shark or falling overboard…I also wrestle with actual fears as he matures. Will he make and keep really good friends as he ventures out and away from my (over)protection? Will he stick with the strong moral convictions he has about now about right & wrong – even when things get so much more muddled with age and responsibilities? Will his passions and abilities somehow meld into something that will be a satisfying and sustaining career? Will he choose to run the family fishing business…or something totally different?
Max earns his own money now. He’s proud to work with us at the Market and to help out with fishing when he can on the deck of the Linde. He takes his work seriously. I was talking about a savings plan with him (although he should be the one advising me… he has a shrewd business sense that I do not naturally possess) and we realized that he could and should start saving for his first car. Really? How can that be possible?
Remember that red and yellow ‘Little Tykes’ car that is in every family yard in America? They toss open that little door and do the Flinstone feet thing all over the drive way. Scraping their little toes, zooming to the pretend gas station. I have about 6 zillion photos of each of my kids in that car, pretending to drive. I remember Max filling the little cubby hole thing in the back with Avocados from our tree in the back yard and delivering them to the back porch, his tiny sister stuffed in the seat next to him. Sometime, way sooner than I am ready for, he will actually drive his sister to the store to pick up groceries and will deliver them home to me. God help me to let go of all of the fears enough to allow this to happen. I will have to force myself to loosen my grip on him enough to hand over the keys…. and to resolutely look the fears boldly in the face and kick em to the curb, so that my young man has enough room to get by. Parenting is courageous work.