In life, why do we concentrate on what is gone instead of nurturing what is still in place? Why do we get wrap up in what has left us and not on what is still with us? Why do we look ahead of us or behind us and ignore what is beside us? Maybe “we” don’t all do this. Maybe these are all “I” questions.
I’ve been writing a lot lately about my empty nest and coming to terms with my mid-life that includes an aging mother and all this time, I have a little birdie still in my nest. Well, at 6’1 maybe “little” is the wrong word. Yet at 15, he is still very much in the nest with his wings still growing.
In today’s world, 15 is such an odd and difficult age. You know everything, but yearn to learn more. You are lifting your foot out of childhood while trying to gain balance in adulthood. Words said are cruel, blows are not soft, parents can suck, teachers worse, friends are questionable and the pressure from your peers is intense – – possibly more than any other generation. And yet with all this going on, you’re still expected to get good grades to get into college still years from now, stay away from drugs which are part of everyday life and be respectful even though your life is full of disrespect. It’s a very unreal world….or maybe too real… and one I would never want to reenter.
My 15-year-old is really doing his best to keep the balls thrown at him in life’s juggling act. He’s not perfect. None of us are. He argues with me with the frequency of a Derrick Rose spectacular play. His temper is right there on the edge and his hormones push it off sometimes. His world revolves so fast and so frequently around him, he has a hard time to peer into anyone else’s. Yet there is an amazing compassion in Matthew – – a compassion that moves him to hug at just the right moment, to ask questions that show he cares, to say the right words and to say them gently.
When he flies out of the nest, Matthew will most likely fly far and his return flight will be infrequent. I have known this about him since he was born. Something in his fighting spirit as he came into the world eight and half weeks early led me to know, with every mother bone in my body, Matthew was for the world and not just for me. It might not be a grandeur action or discovery that will set him apart, but there will be something he will give to the world…even if it’s his kind smile.
So, while I deal with my mid-life questions, while I firmly and tenderly push one child out of my nest and while I deal with an aging mother, I have to remember the beautiful soul still waiting to fly. His wings are still growing and I need to pay attention more.