When you are teetering on the edge of sanity it only takes a small thing to tip you right on over.
Last Wednesday, that small thing came in the form of a dead hamster. Now the hamster itself wasn't the tipper. Actually, I have been known to complain over the longevity of this very hamster. The thing that brought the tears, was the memory of getting the hamster.
I quote from 2014: "We all worked together to set up the cage and then the four of them sat down around the cage and stared that poor hamster down. Grant looked up at me, love radiating out of his sweet face and said, "This is the best day of my life."
The hard part to read there is that last sentence about Grant. Since that hamster moment, my son has turned 13. Radiant and sweet are not exactly the best adjectives used to describe him right now.
I recently brought him with me to North Dakota to visit our friends. As we walked toward our gate at the airport I said, "Grant, we get the whole day together." (Traveling to North Dakota is not for the faint of heart traveler). He replied, "I wish I had some kind of electronic device. Anything would do."
So I went weary to North Dakota, knowing that my friend Dayna would prop my feet up, make me some tea, and feed me yummy things. So I was a little surprised the first day to have Dayna say, "Let's go to the Badlands for a hike!" All instincts told me to STAY AWAY from anywhere called the badlands. Obviously the person who named the place was trying to tell us something. We spent the afternoon there hiking and waiting (while our kids looked for a rattlesnake nest) and it was lovely and a little creepy.
The next morning we ran a 5K. Dayna had asked me before I came if I wanted to and I said "sure!". However...1. I didn't know what a 5K was....2. I was in my jammies drinking tea when I replied.
So we ran/walked it. I enjoyed being with Dayna.
The next day we walked around at a lake. Monday before I left for the airport she made me take a brisk walk before taking me to a tea shop. Something of the carrot there.
When we got on the plane to go home, Grant looked at me and said, "I can't move." Dayna's boys played as hard as she did.
However....I did have plenty of rest and tea and Dayna's good, good cooking...she just made me work for it.
I'm sorry, that had nothing to do with the dead hamster.
I went upstairs as my boys prepared the body for burial and I mourned. Not the rodent, but the era when a hamster was enough to make my boy beam. For the days past, when hugs and kisses were the common currency between us. When we spoke the same language, laughed at the same things, and ate gluten together in secret.
I know this stretching, this change, has to happen. I know it's good. But I miss him.
After I got upstairs, I did fall over the edge. But it wasn't the edge of sanity, merely the edge of control. I have to get over myself, over the fact that he is now making his own choices, over the idea that change is bad and that growth means distance. I'm going to remember that Peter Pan needs to be allowed to leave Neverland.
I want to rejoice in this. To honor my son and my God as I help Grant transition into adulthood. But in all honesty, I'm struggling right now.
Discouragement brings with it so many voices. Exhaustion invites rude guests.
Today I fought the good fight, yesterday I didn't.
I don't know what tomorrow will bring.
But I know truth. So I strive to live it. To let my burden fall when I realize it's too heavy. To laugh upon slightest provocation. To turn a cold shoulder on self-pity. To take a nap. To spend time with Jesus and ask for His eyes and heart. To throw myself over the edge without waiting for something to propel me.
Rowan turned 10 this week. He is a wonderful boy. Sweet and loving and helpful and full of questions. I tell him I will never have all the answers to his questions, but I will always love him, and that will just have to be good enough!
And that's kinda that, my faulty love and God's perfect love, is all I have to offer them.
May love be what pushes them over every edge.