Another birthday week has arrived. It's impossible to forget their arrival around here since they are anticipated and counted down with publicity from the very minute the previous-birthday-person blows out their candles. Besides, being the completely seasonal person I am -- a fact I have come to see more clearly and embrace more fully -- this birthday has too many triggers to be forgotten. Big Ten football, end of harvest, my dad and husband's birthdays...the impending Thanksgiving. Eleven years ago I had the 22nd circled on the calendar for 9 months, the boy stayed in me to grow even bigger, we induced, and my first child was born on the day before Thanksgiving (falls on the same day this year!).
We watched Toy Story 3 last night. In the scene where the mom sees Andy's nearly empty room before he heads to college and starts crying, Levi looks at me and says, "You're going to be like that."
"Yep," I replied. And then the next 7 years of my life flashed before me in a blink, and I just about started crying right there. SEVEN years?! Impossible. There's too much to do, too much to teach him, too many memories to be made to stuff into that short of a time. I love an essay I just read reinforcing that the "teenage" years don't have to be what the popular culture dictates - our kids can learn and grow and pull away and become young adults without buying into the world's idea of adolescence. I especially appreciated Neufeld's words of guidance: "I would suggest three words to guide child raising and education: expectations, responsibility and risk."
I know we need to add more responsibility and risk into our children's lives, especially Levi's. I don't want to just create "situations", either. I think we need to improve at seeing those naturally-occurring opportunities for them to take more responsibility and fail or succeed. I'm praying that my eyes will be opened to those and for the patience to see them through. We're starting to move into the next phase; I want to enjoy it and them as much as I am this one.