I spent the weekend watching Andrew.
Andrew is our 21-year-old son. He’s why I started writing here back in February. I thought it would be interesting to find out what I’ve learned about parenting by writing about him. It has been a good time of reflection on both of our children.
We spent Christmas day with Nancy’s family, and then spent Friday evening through Sunday evening with my family. This meant that the four of us were in the car together for 11 hours. This meant that Andrew was away from his girlfriend for these several days, days when she is home from college. This meant sharing a room with his sister, interacting with people that he only sees occasionally.
For a man, this could be nervewracking. I almost said for a man like Andrew, but that would have been inaccurate. Because here is what a man like Andrew did:
- He talked with a variety of family members with graciousness and listening.
- He spent time in conversation with each of his four grandparents, answering questions, talking about the future, listening with care.
- He taught his mother how to play Wii bowling (her first video game experience ever) and then graciously lost.
- He spent time with his six-year-old cousin (boy), playing, teasing, encouraging.
- He played “Mario Carts” with his twelve-year-old cousins (girls), coaching, laughing, and yet playing as well as possible.
- All he wanted for Christmas was a Nerf dart gun. Which he got. And talked his friends into buying as well.
- He went to a movie with friends when we got back. He tweeted that he cried more at that movie than any movie before.
It would be very easy to get melancholy right now, knowing that this will probably be the last unengaged holiday, knowing that by next Christmas he’ll have graduated from college, thinking that this may be the end of an era.
But here’s what I think.
Today marks the end of 2008 and tomorrow is 2009, but the only thing that changes really is a piece of paper. We can make a big deal of the end and the beginning, or we can just live. In the same way, I can get all emotional about what might be passing or I can just treasure watching a very cool young man acting with great maturity.
I’m thinking that worrying about what may or may not happen isn’t all that productive. I think I’ll just be grateful.
by Jon Swanson