In this roller coaster ride called life, you’ve got to savor the sweet.
There will be sour, dour, unhappy times–of this you can be sure. Some folks seem to get more than their fair share of the unhappy, which makes the happy & sweet even more precious to behold.
Every once in awhile, God gives me a glimpse of the bigger picture, one that I have cursed, cried about, begged to have taken from me numerous times in the past almost-six years.
I didn’t want to be a solo parent.
I didn’t want two little boys to be without their daddy.
I didn’t want to learn how to mow the lawn, weed-eat, take the vehicles for oil changes, inspections, and registrations.
I didn’t want to be responsible for making every adult decision in my household.
I didn’t want to even tend the garden out in front of my house.
And that’s just the few things I came up with, right now, off the top of my head. Heaven knows there are hundreds more.
I still remember the first time I was given a respite, where God, in all His glory, gave me a few moments of peace in the first few months of this gig I have now embraced (if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em). I was waiting for my boys to come out from their elementary school. It was a lovely, bright spring day.
I sat at an old picnic table, way past its prime at the time. There was no one else around. The wind was blowing slightly, rustling the new leaves in the huge trees above me. The sun lazily peeked through them; birds were going about their business of courtship, with lovely tunes filling the air.
In that moment, all my worries and sadness slipped away. I felt content. I felt peace. I knew my boys and I were going to make it.
That moment lasted maybe 30 seconds. But it was exactly what I needed to keep plodding along.
There have been other similar moments throughout the past few years, but the first one will always be memorable.
Yesterday, God gave me another.
The eighth grader gets picked up from school first, so we have about 10 minutes of alone time, just the two of us, while heading to the high school to retrieve the freshman & two of his friends.
Some days, we just have small talk. Some days, we don’t say much at all. Still on others, we jam to music, singing along if the tune’s worthy of our pipes.
Yesterday, though, Ben clearly had something he wanted to share.
“Mom, I’m really glad you don’t have to work out of town, or crazy shifts, where we wouldn’t get to see you.”
Ben, so am I. Your daddy and I worked long and hard–we are so very fortunate that I am able to be here for you and your brother. Many parents don’t get that opportunity.
When I probe a bit further, I find he’s worried about a fellow student. A student with both parents living. One works nights, the other, days. This kid rarely ever sees the one parent, who is either sleeping most of the time the kid isn’t, or when not sleeping seems to have priorities other than family time.
My kid, the one who lost his dad at age 8, is putting himself in another person’s shoes.
“Mom, I feel sorry for him. I know that he has both his parents. And I really miss Dad. But I want to tell you, you’re like having two parents. You do it all.”
I’m like having two parents.
That is, most likely, the sweetest sentence I have heard in years, outside of “I love you.”
He’s being all matter-of-fact. And I just lose it, right there on Kemp Boulevard, next to Applebee’s, in the midst of after-school traffic.
Tears. Nose running. Laughing and smiling.
“Ben, you’ll never know how much that means to me. You’ve made my week. You very well made my month!”
God, once again, knew what I needed whenever I didn’t have a clue. A spring-time glimpse into the bigger picture.
A picture that evidently includes two empathetic, loving young men, developing beautifully in spite of the fact their dad is in heaven.