They Are Not Mine

I’m looking at my children tonight in a different light.

I’m thinking, “They are not mine.”

They are His. He alone loves them more than their father and I do.

The older Will gets, the more I am frustrated by one thing. What is this “one thing” that frustrates me most about my teenage boy?

It is that I can’t make his choices for him. I can argue FOR the choice I wish for him to make, but, alas, I cannot make them for him. I can only stand back and watch the consequences. Some choices I’m still in control of, some I still have the final say in, but for the most part, it’s out of my hands.

I feel that raising a teenager is like trying to hold on to a big fish you’ve just caught. They are floundering and flopping around, struggling to break loose of your grip, making it near impossible for you to hold on and keep control. Every once in a while they may tire out, give in and you can hold them, but they are slippery, and eventually you realize you are not the one in control as they flop out of your hands.

Not matter what you do, no matter how they may lull you into thinking you have things under control, ultimately, they get to call the final shots. They do their homework. Or not. Study. Or not. Do the right thing. Or not. And some of those “Or nots” have lasting consequences. Some temporary. Some permanent. Some eternal.

Today, my community is mourning for and with a family who has watched their lives suddenly change forever in the last 24 hours. Their life suddenly became headline news for everyone else to see. These are people I don’t even know, though many of my friends do, and I’ve been thinking about them a lot today–about how fragile life is, about how much I love my kids, about how easy it is for them to make a choice that changes everything–forever.

I watched my 13 year old son get in my van when I picked him up from school and looked at him and said, “Promise me! Promise me you will NEVER drink and get behind the wheel of a car! Promise me! Promise me you won’t drink when you are in high school. Please promise me.”

He looked at me bewildered–no idea where this was coming from–“Mom? Why would I do that? Of course not, Mom!” and I looked at him and said, “You say that now, but you have to keep promising. You don’t know now what choices you will make later.”

I tried terribly to hold it together I as I drove away from the building that was just full of children becoming teenagers; already making choices that they can’t take back. And before I panic, before I lock him away for the rest of his life to save him from himself, I have to remind myself, “They are not mine. They are His. And He is in control, not me. No matter how hard I try to take that job from Him. God is vast and great and mysterious and I cannot understand what happened today or the pain that family and those boys’ friends are feeling because I am not. I will just have to rest in the knowledge that my children are His. And He loves them. Even more than me.

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Why the quilt blocks are #1 on my Finish List

I didn’t grow up around a big extended family that did a lot of stuff together. Jeff’s family is different. His mom had lots of brothers and sisters who supplied lots of cousins and they now have lots of kids. It’s a big family. Thanksgiving dinner is a perfect example of ¬†how big–tons of people gathered at Jeff’s Aunt Beanie’s house each year to talk and eat and play and shoot guns. We love it. My kids love it (the kids are not shooting the guns, fyi.)

But there is another special time of year for the women in Jeff’s family–Girls Weekend. I don’t even know when it started, but all of the sisters in the family and their daughters and girl cousins (and their girls) started getting together for a weekend trip in the late summer or early fall. There’s lots of cooking and talking and usually some swimming and shopping and the best Rice Krispie treats.

Several years ago (quite a few based on the number of quilt squares I have) there was an idea to draw two names and everyone would embroider a quilt square using a white square and a set of embroidery iron on images. (Cause there are enough people on this trip that if those who are old enough to, actually make a square, they could create a pretty big blanket!) Everyone went home with 2 squares so you could do your stitching and bring them back next year. The first year I wasn’t the only one not done by trip weekend. Some people were finishing up that weekend. But as we have discussed, I’m not a good finisher. So bad at finishing that I’m still working on the first set. It’s not because I’m super slow at embroidering. And it’s not that I’m bad at it. I knew how to do it before we started. It’s just that I don’t take time. I’m bad at finishing because I don’t plan. I just put it off until later and then later never comes and then it’s 5 or 6 years later and I’m still not done and there are more squares each year. It’s just a big pile of guilt waiting to be stitched.

quilt squares
Waiting to be stitched...

So now I’m planing. Planning to finish. And today’s plan is to finish square one and get square two on the hoop.