Do you think you know all the blessings in your life? Do you notice them? There are obvious ones, like your spouse, your children, your home, your friends, your health and those poetic things like flowers and birds coming to your window feeder and snowy evenings. Just a few minutes ago, I noticed one sparkling by.
I have a teenage boy whom I love dearly. I really don't want to be melodramatic about this, but it truly does feel a bit unfamiliar living with him. I've known him since 8:15am February 5th, 1992 and we had a good thing goin'. 'Til somewhere around February 5th, 2005. From newborn to 12, your little person undergoes lots of changes, but they're all delightful really. They grow out of those things that tend to tire, like the need for constant supervision. Then they grow right back into them around 13. I find myself saying, "Huh? Didn't we already go over all this stuff? Do we really need to revisit these obvious and eternal truths? If you save your money, you'll be able to buy a ticket to the concert. If you do your homework, you will find that the material is more learnable than if you wait until the last week of the semester. If you go to bed early, you'll be able to wake up for church." (I certainly don't expect anyone to get that last concept, I know it's deep, fanciful and entirely unrealistic.)
Soon after my son turned 13, a wonderful friend of his died suddenly and tragically. That seemed to be the first domino in a line of many "big" things he's had to digest and assimilate since then. You know, life. On the whole, he is doing fine, but I can't tell you that we've had the ideal beginning to the proverbial "teen years." Or that I'm not trying to steal glimpses of this quasifamiliar, tall, emerging adult as he passes through this dwelling that we both inhabit, just to get a handle on who he is at any given day. This, by the way, is nearly impossible because he's in high school, he's on the varsity soccer team, he writes and plays music in his spare time in a far off room, his friends drive him where he needs to go and there's Leila, too. Computer, IM, text messaging. He doesn't do our Walton's nights anymore. He doesn't even pass my way very often and when he does, I'm usually left trying to cough out the taste of the scrunchy hairspray that trails heavily behind him. (He cut off his long shaggy hair and now he's stylin', I don't know what's going on.)
Today's blessing. My father just picked him up. They're driving to the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia with an old and dear music teacher buddy of my dad's to hear Tchaikovsky's Symphony No.1 (Winter Daydreams) and Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring. Dick, my Dad's friend, always has tickets onstage - you sit literally right above and behind the musicians. Seth loves this. He's gone along with them a few times. He always comes home enlightened, amazed by his grandfather's great knowledge (about everything, believe me - ahem - and he loves to share it all with his grandson who sees his perfect genius), and the last time Seth came home, he declared that he wanted to listen to more good music and incorporate classical themes into the music he writes.
The beautiful blessing. Tonight will be a dose of good medicine, good stuff of life, good for the soul, good for the grandfather, the friend and the boy. And, thank you Lord, for the mom. I can't wait to hear his chatter and enthusiasm when he gets home...I don't get the chance too often any more.